‘GIS’ or ‘Geographic Information System’ combines computer hardware and software to allow mapping, analysis and management of any information which can be located or linked to a place on a map.
Our objectives are to conserve, protect and develop inland fisheries, aquaculture and marine tourism across the Foyle and Carlingford catchments. GIS is, therefore, a very useful tool in managing the large amounts of information gathered daily.
Information ranging from salmon monitoring and oyster population surveys, through to pollution investigations and tourism development, are included in the GIS. This then helps to answer questions which are important for ensuring that the environment remains healthy and protected.
GIS is used by many government and non-government agencies and by numerous industries including utilities, urban planning, agriculture and, of course, natural resource management. Our GIS is made up of several key components: the hardware, GIS software and data capture.
The most important thing a GIS does is to link data to a particular location. Among other things, it helps Agency staff document where pollution events happen, where salmon habitat can be improved and where oyster densities are changing. Staff can then begin to work out how and, more importantly, why things are happening.
The ability of a GIS to combine and analyse several datasets simultaneously enables staff to make management decisions using the best information available for a particular area. For example, on any particular stretch of river, staff can view numbers of juvenile salmon, assess the quality of habitat, check water quality and examine pressures from planning or pollution.