Various digital datasets held by the Department are now available for download from this website. This data can be used by Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The datasets that can be downloaded here are only digital boundaries - there is no background mapping. The digitising is based on Land & Property Services (LPS) / Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland (OSNI) maps and they can supply vector and raster maps for background mapping for Northern Ireland.
Free applications, ArcGIS Explorer and ArcExplorer are available for download from ESRI, the makers of ArcView; which allows these datasets to be viewed. The datasets are available as zipped shapefiles which is the file format used by ArcView. Shapefiles can be read by most GIS packages, look in the Help section of your software on how to import them.
Some of these datasets are also available in GML 3 format. This is an open source format for geographical data and is specified by the Open Geospatial Consortium. If you have problems reading these files, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zipping a file means that the file is compressed to a more manageable size, saving you time on downloads. The files will have to be unzipped before they can be used in a GIS package. To get WinZip, click http://www.winzip.com/win/en/index.htm.
The Irish National Grid is a different grid system from the British National Grid. Most GIS packages do not allow you to view datasets that are based on different grid systems, but some allow you to translate between different projections. To overcome this, you have the choice here to download datasets in either Irish Grid or British Grid.
Use of the datasets
Please note that by downloading the digital datasets, you will be accepting the Terms and Conditions as shown on the download page.