INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s Marine Resource) has launched the Blue Scale Map Series; a collection of 18 high-resolution bathymetric maps of Ireland’s coastal waters. Developed by a dedicated team of hydrographers, data processors and cartographers, the maps highlight the topography of the coast in unprecedented detail.

In 2006, the INFOMAR programme was established and is currently one of the world’s largest and leading seabed mapping programmes. The programme, funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, is a joint venture by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland and aims to map Ireland’s seabed and deliver a comprehensive baseline bathymetry dataset to underpin the future management of Ireland’s marine resource.

Ireland’s coastline is 3,171km in length and boasts some of the most unique & dynamic environments in Europe.  This new Blue Scale Map Series is the culmination of over a decade of work and highlights the intricate landscapes that lie beneath the waves.  Each map is carefully drawn to include the latest high resolution INFOMAR bathymetry data.

Starting this week, and for the next 18 weeks, INFOMAR will be releasing a new map of a different section of the Irish coastline. As with all INFOMAR data these high-resolution maps are available for all to download for free.  The first in the series is the bluescale bathymetric map of Galway Bay.

Map 1 of 18 in the series charts the coastal waters of Galway Bay

Map 1 of 18 in the series charts the coastal waters of Galway Bay

Galway Bay (Cuan na Gallimhe) is on the west coast of Ireland, between the counties of Galway to the north, and Clare to the south. The bay is approximately 50 km long from Galway City in the northeast, to the Aran Islands at the entrance to the bay in the west. There are numerous small islands within the bay, of glacial origin in the inner bay, and low lying granite in Connemara to the northwest. The karst limestone hills of the Burren form the southern boundary of the bay. The coastal parts of Galway Bay have been designated a Special Area of Conservation. This is because of the wide range of important habitat types which include intertidal mud and sandflats, other littoral habitats, coastal lagoons, saltmarshes, turloughs, vegetated cliffs, calcareous grassland and limestone pavements. Galway Bay offers habitat to common seals and otters, and is an important ornithological site for seabirds, waders and waterfowl.

INFOMAR is making all 18 maps available for free to the public to download in high resolution JPEG format. Follow the journey each week as a new map is released on the INFOMAR website, and join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook.

Blue Scale Series release dates:

Friday 11th August: Galway Bay (Galway)

Friday 25th August: Loop Head (Clare)

Friday 1st September: Tralee Bay (Kerry)

Friday 8th September: Dingle Peninsula (Kerry)

Friday 15th September: Iveragh Peninsula (Kerry)

Friday 22nd September: Bantry Bay (Cork)

Friday 29th September: Mizen Head (Cork)

Friday 6th October: Roaringwater Bay (Cork)

Friday 13th October: Seven Heads (Cork)

Friday 20th October: Cork Harbour (Cork)

Friday 27th October: Youghal Bay (Cork/Waterford)

Friday 3rd November: Tramore Bay (Waterford)

Friday 10th November: Hook Head (Wexford)

Friday 17th November: Carnsore Point (Wexford)

Friday 24th November: Wicklow Head (Wicklow)

Friday 1st December: Dublin Bay (Dublin)

Friday 8th December: Donegal Bay (Donegal)

Friday 15th December: Aran Islands (Galway)

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