8 Apr 2004

What makes it worth a visit?
So much is written and talked about the state of the country’s physical infrastructure – most of it, of course, negative – that a website that sets out precisely what that infrastructure consists has to make an important contribution to that debate. The objectives of www.infrastructure.ie include providing information for enterprise and development purposes and promoting more balanced spatial development of the country as part of the Government’s National Spatial Strategy.

What information will I find there?
The site provides details of the infrastructure currently available in 123 centres throughout Ireland. The centres consist of 119 towns with a population of 1,500 or above (1996 Census) and the four county council areas of Dublin. Infrastructure is divided into Physical (for example roads, rail and sea; environmental services, energy and telecommunications); Social (for example hospitals and educational) and Enterprise – providing employment and sectoral information on companies supported by the industrial development agencies in the selected towns.

At the core of the website is an infrastructure database – tabular detailed information broken down by type of infrastructure by location. You can isolate towns with specific infrastructure attributes. Using the Spatial Query, Quick Find or Database searches you can customise the data to your own requirements. To help you visualise information, the site contains a geographical information system or interactive mapping application that allows you to visually explore Ireland’s infrastructure network.

Who is it for?
The state of the country’s infrastructure affects everybody, from the start-up company deciding where to locate itself to the parent doing the school run. One of the explicit aims of the site is to provide a marketing tool for industrial development agencies and others to promote investment in the regions.

What does it look like?
Falling into the ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’ school of web design, the site is relatively uncluttered and user-friendly despite the mass of information. Particularly useful is a drop-down menu of the 123 centres on the homepage.

The verdict?
If infrastructure turns you on, turn to this site.

By Brian Skelly