A new national land-cover map of habitats is being developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ordnance Survey Ireland, and is expected to be complete later this year.

This results of this high-resolution mapping project will be useful for a range of environment-related work concerned with climate change, biodiversity, air quality and water quality.

Co. Wicklow is the first area to be mapped using this approach and the detail and quality of the data are very encouraging, the EPA has said.

Previous land-cover mapping

“The quality of the data in the existing national land-cover map, called CORINE, varies significantly,” according to the EPA.

“This is because of its poor resolution (25ha) and the varied data-mapping methods used over the time series.”

Previous EPA state-of-the-environment reports for Ireland have highlighted the need for more detailed data on land.


In response, this national land-cover mapping programme commenced in 2018.

“The project will present baseline data for 2018 and is due to be delivered in 2021. Integration of sectoral data will allow for a more consistent representation of national land cover,” said the EPA.

The importance of the programme to produce more detailed land cover maps cannot be overstated, it added.

land mapping - aerial shot of Co. Wicklow
The results of this new land-mapping approach are very promising. Image source: EPA

“Once complete, it will transform our understanding of national land cover and land use.

“High-resolution data, at a minimum of land parcel scale, will provide detailed information on the status of the land. It will form the basis for assessing past and future changes and will enable detailed environmental assessments and research.

“From an environmental perspective, it will directly improve our understanding of climate change, biodiversity, air quality and water quality and responses to these challenges.”

Speaking in the Dáil recently, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue said it is hoped that the results and long-term implementation of initiatives like this can provide great strides in gathering data on our hedgerow habitats, and more.

“Efforts such as these will be essential in establishing our biodiversity baseline on farms which can benefit the farmer and the environment.”