INFOMAR data supports offshore energy development and marine spatial planning in the Irish offshore via the EMODnet Geology portal


J. Guinan, C. McKeon, E. O'Keeffe, X. Monteys, F. Sacchetti, M. Coughlan and C. Nic Aonghusa

Quarterly Journal of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology 9 September 2020.


The characterization of the seafloor is a fundamental first step in informing resource management, marine spatial planning, conservation, fisheries, industry and research. Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland's Marine Resource (INFOMAR), Ireland's national seabed mapping programme, delivers freely available, high-resolution seabed imagery derived from multibeam echosounder data in the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone. The European Union established the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) Geology data portal, which provides harmonized broad-scale seabed substrate information for all European seas and confidence assessments of the information that underpins the geological interpretations. A multi-scale product has been produced using INFOMAR's high-resolution seabed substrate information at the 1:50 000 scale. As part of the Supporting Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning in the Celtic Seas project, the EMODnet Geology seabed substrate data portal assisted in addressing the challenges associated with the implementation of the European Union's Marine Spatial Planning Directive. The seabed substrate data in the EMODnet Geology data portal were identified as a valuable tool for guiding the selection of sites for offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea and their subsequent characterization. This paper outlines the approach to delivering a multi-scale seabed substrate dataset for the Irish offshore and its applicability to marine spatial planning and the development of offshore energy resources.

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