Internet mapping deployed by Dept of Agriculture

22 Dec 2003

The Department of Agriculture has unveiled a new internet-based mapping system that is currently being used to process more than €1bn worth of EU funding entitlements to Irish farmers.

The department’s new iMap system processes both spatial and non-spatial geographic data for Area Aid and other land-based support schemes.

It is understood that iMap has already processed and delivered electronically over €1bn in EU funding to farmers in Ireland with 98pc compliance.

The iMap system was developed as part of a joint venture between the Department of Agriculture and Food and technology consultants Accenture. The system allows farmers to access their own spatial data via the internet.

Accenture partner David Regan said: “This new integrated system enables the Department to provide improved customer service to the farming community in Ireland. iMap is one of the most technically advanced spatial mapping systems currently in use and provides the platform to allow for further developments, increased customer service and new levels of excellence in the area of public sector administration.”

The new system allows the department to streamline interaction with farmers when processing their EU Area Aid payments. The single view system reduces the time required to process a claim submitted by a farmer and ensures accuracy and consistency of the data provided.

“With a complex range of grants administered to farms, keeping track of these payments countrywide is a vast undertaking,” explained the Minister for Agriculture and Food Joe Walsh TD. “Grants are largely dependent on acreage and land use, and thus spatial data has a key role to play in assessing grant applications and establishing the validity of claims.

“iMap is a key component of the Irish Government’s Information Society strategy, enabling farmers to access key information directly on the internet,” Minister Walsh continued. “The ability to integrate and distribute accurate spatial data throughout our organisation was also central to the iMap project, which is one of a series of exciting initiatives currently being undertaken by the Department to re-engineer its operational and administrative systems.”

By John Kennedy