All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO)
National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), at
National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM)
Justin Gleeson
InstantAtlas 2012 UK User Conference
• What is the All-Island Research Observatory?
• Main Data Tools
• InstantAtlas and AIRO
– How do we embed InstantAtlas in our site?
– What modules do we have?
• Census example for the Greater Dublin Area
• InstantAtlas Case Study from Ireland
– Ireland’s Housing Boom and Bust
• What next for AIRO and IA?
What is the All-Island Research Observatory?
• Data is not as readily available in RoI as it is in the UK
– No postcode system, high proportion of non-unique address information
• Unemployment , Crime rates, house prices etc
– Census is the main dataset, every 5 years
AIRO is a research unit and spatial data portal focused on improving evidence
informed planning in Ireland
– Collects, analyses and provides evidence and tools to support better planning
and decision making
• Maps, data, policy advice, research and training
– Maximise the usage and benefit of publically funded and readily available
Who do we work with?
– Government Departments, Semi-State bodies
– Regional Authorities, Local Authorities, Local Partnerships etc
– Academics, Researchers, Public
Main data and tools?
InstantAtlas and AIRO
• In the beginning......
– MapInfo, ArcGIS etc
– No public dissemination tool
• 1st Desktop version of Instant Atlas was purchased in 2008 following review of
mapping systems in place in UK regional observatories
– Main interest was in the visualisation of census datasets
– Provide access to a full set of census variables in one mapping system
– Easy to use, no GIS experience required
• In 2010, we built the AIRO website with a specific section for hosting the IA
mapping modules
– 1 day advanced IA course in Cambridge
– All mapping modules are Single Maps
• histograms, time-series animation, GoogleMaps etc
– IA modules are displayed in an ‘i-frame’ sitting on the AIRO website and therefore are
designed using a common specification
– Each new IA package is loaded to the AIRO server, the user interface then executes
the atlas.html
InstantAtlas and AIRO
InstantAtlas and AIRO
InstantAtlas and AIRO
What IA Modules are on AIRO?
60+ IA Modules on the site
Census Modules
– 2002, 2006, 2011
– Every Local Authority
(34) and Regional
Authority (8) in Ireland
– Cross-Border - RoI and
NI Census datasets
– Local Partnerships (54)
European Indicators
Census of Agriculture
Children’s Health
Crime Mapping Toolkit
Mapping modules are available at a variety of spatial scales: International,
National, Regional and Local
IA Case Study: the Housing Boom and Bust in Ireland
May 1997.................2007.................. January 2010
IA Case Study: the Housing Boom and Bust in Ireland
House completions in Ireland, 1993-2010
Housing completions per 1,000 of
population 2007
IA Case Study: the Housing Boom and Bust in Ireland
Irish land values 1973-2006 (€ per hectare)
European land values by country (€ per hectare)
IA Case Study: the Housing Boom and Bust in Ireland
In Q3 1995 the average second-hand house price was 4.1 times the average
industrial wage of €18,152, by Q2 2007 second-hand house prices had risen to 11.9
times the average industrial wage of €32,616
The total value of mortgage debt increased from €47.2 billion in 2002 to over
€139.8 billion at the end of 2007, with the average size of a new mortgage
€266,000 (nearly double the 2002 figure)
In 2006 the property market accounted for 17% of total tax revenue, up from 5% in
Local authorities were benefiting through development levies, rising from €0.11bn
in 2000 to €0.55bn in 2005, representing 13.6% of local government expenditure
IA Case Study: the Housing Boom and Bust in Ireland
then POP!
Average house prices in 2012
are 45-50% below peak prices
IA Case Study: the Housing Boom and Bust in Ireland
NIRSA produced a report titles “A Haunted Landscape” on the rise and fall of the
housing sector in Ireland
A key output from the report was the first publically available housing monitoring
tool in Ireland
– RoI Housing Monitoring Tool
Survey of Unfinished Estates in Ireland by the Department of the Environment
– Unfinished Estates Mapping Module
What next for AIRO and InstantAtlas
• InstantAtlas will continue to be a main data tool for AIRO
– Getting lots of exposure to a wide variety of clients
– Need to develop Help files
• Some common issues/complaints
– GoogleMaps
• Our users need to export images
– OSi background mapping in Ireland
• Requires a token to use
• Needs some development between IA and OSi to get this working
• This would be attractive to Irish clients
– Flash v Apple
• Lots of our users have i-pads, i-phones and can’t use the IA modules
– Limitations on the number of spatial boundaries and size of file
• We have moved to using ArcGIS Viewer for Flex to handle large