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Map Collections at UCD and on the Web: Introduction

Find, access and purchase maps at UCD Library. Lists of map resources and suppliers on the web. Examples of map symbols and scales. Copyright and booking forms.

Kevin Donovan talks about UCD Library mapping services

Using This Guide

Information about where to find maps both in UCD and on the web.

This guide covers map collections available via:

Richview Library, UCD

Special Collections, UCD Library

UCD Digital Library

The Barbara Miller Map Room, School of Geography

The Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) e-Commerce Service

OSi MapGenie from Ordnance Survey Ireland

Ptolemy's Map of Ireland, circa A.D. 150

(c) Royal Irish Academy 

Contour Layers in Discovery Mapping

(c) Ordnance Survey Ireland

Other Related Guides Available

Mapping UCD Research - Competition Entries


An initiative of

The School of Geography & UCD Library

and Sponsored by Ordnance Survey Ireland

Mapping Our Universe Gravitational Waves

A road map of Dublin projects a 3 dimensional local region onto a 2 dimensional piece of paper. How do we map 4 dimensional spacetime? How do we map the infinite? The answer is compactification. The above map refers to our Universe as centered around Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. We model Sgr A* as a Kerr Black Hole, i.e. one that is spinning on an axis, much like the Earth. We treat everything else in the Universe as far away and as having a small gravitational effect on our Galaxy.

These assumptions lead to the diagram above. Theoretically, this model allows us to travel through Sgr A* and reach an infinite number of parallel universes.  But isn’t a Black Hole, by definition, something that no one can escape? It turns out that spinning Black Holes are a bit more complicated to map. 

A Catalogue of Extreme Wave Events in Ireland

We have carried out a survey of extreme wave events around the island of Ireland providing an extensive database.

41 storm surges, 12 tsunamis, 30 storm waves and 29 rogue waves are documented.

This provides a benchmark to inform the future development of Ireland’s marine resource and to protect the future of Irish coastlines and communities.
Events have been identified through historical archives, buoy data, public reports, databases and eye-witness accounts.
Important questions regarding public safety, services and the influence of climate change are also highlighted.

An interactive map has been created with Google Maps to allow the reader to navigate through events. A link can be found in O’Brien et al (2018).

O’Brien, L., Renzi, E., Dudley, J. M., Clancy, C., and Dias, F. (2018)  Extreme wave events in Ireland: revised and updated 14680 BP – 2017. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 729-758.

O’Brien, L., Dudley, J. M., and Dias, F. (2013) Extreme wave events in Ireland: 14680 BP – 2012. Nat. Hazards Earth 

A GIS Location Map of Google Searches for UCD

The internet has become a key source of information for universities to reach potential students. This GIS map shows the source of geographical search points all over Ireland. Each pin on the map shows the exact location of all the searches for “UCD” on the Google search engine in Ireland. The sample size was 100 and the time frame was one week. The data was taken from Google Trends from October 1st, 2018 – October 6th, 2018. The legend on the map outlines a list of the top 10 places in Ireland showing the “most popular” searches ranking from the highest number of searches to the lowest geographically-speaking. The single highest result came from Greystones, Co. Wicklow with 100 “UCD” search queries that week. The lowest “UCD” searches came from Galway – 20 and Cork – 15 on the West and South coasts of Ireland.

This visual representation for that week clearly shows that the most queries for “UCD” came from the central East Coast of Ireland. The greatest concentration of Google searches for UCD came from within 30km of Dublin, Ireland. This GIS map can help us to have a vision of where the interest for UCD currently lies and understand where in Ireland to focus the marketing of UCD more and therefore create a broader educational horizon for the future.

At the Water's Edge - the Ancient Landscapes of Methone Greece

The ancient port city of Methone is located approximately 35km south of Thessaloniki, Greece. Today, just as in antiquity, the site stands at the shore of the Thermaic Gulf and nearby the mouth of the River Haliakmon. Methone saw human occupation from the Neolithic period through the 4th century BC, when it was wholly laid waste in 354 by Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. Over thousands of years, the Haliakmon, along with two other rivers, the Axios and Loudias, have generated an expansive delta region that now stretches between Methone and Thessaloniki. Archaeological excavations have uncovered part of the ancient agora (marketplace), a Mycenaean cemetery, and also earth ramparts.

Fundamentally, the topography of Methone consists of two main knolls: the East Hill, at the shoulder of which lies the agora; and the West Hill or acropolis, atop which stands the cemetery. The East Hill was likely once part a significant promontory that reached into the Gulf, but it is also useful to think about how the settlement as a whole was an in-between setting. Put categorically, the given topographic conditions of the site of Methone facilitated the exchange and intersection of many passages and routes, both terrestrial and seaborne.

It should not necessarily be understood as a place that delimited the mainland. It may be more productive to describe Methone as a site where three distinct yet related regions - landscape, riverscape and seascape – converged. 

2nd Place Winner in Mapping UCD Research Competition: GIS-based District Energy Building Modeling

The research conducted in above map shows a results of generalized methodology for GIS-based district energy modelling using bottom up approach on Dublin City. At the district scale, the system experiences a two fold increase in complexity, particularly, due to a significant increase in the number of buildings and associated entities. This in turn increases the resources, geometric and non-geometric inputs, required for energy modelling. These inputs are often collected through building archetypes development using a data mining approach.

The developed building archetypes, with appropriate input parameters are simulated in the EnergyPlus simulation engine using a high performance computing server. All the energy outputs from these simulations are mapped to GIS using census survey data. Instead of mapping results directly to districts, the small areas concept is used for detailed analysis. The footprint of residential buildings help in the identification of energy efficient areas from the inefficient ones in the district.

Furthermore, GIS-based modelling will aid the local authorities or city planners to identify priority areas for implementing energy efficiency measures and further improve sustainable energy policy decisions.

Global City Lights and Diseases of Urbanisation

Life evolved under a perpetual 24h cycle of sunlight and darkness that generates daily variations in food, predation and temperature.   Survival required evolution of a molecular “clock” that can anticipate these challenging but highly predictable environmental fluctuations.  The clock synchronises life to the environment across biology; animals, plants, bacteria, even the dinosaurs had a clock.  Virtually every cell in the human body has a clock that has adjusted our physiology and behaviour to the rhythms of the light-dark cycle for millennia.  

When artificial light crept into human life during the 20th century this synchronisation between the clock and the rhythms of environmental light was uncoupled.  Disruption of the clock affects health and well-being and is associated with diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease - all diseases of urbanisation. The entire ecosystem is entrained to the light dark cycle, and artificial light has implications for the health and well-being of all animals and plants that share our urban environment.

Global Reach of Breast Predict

BREAST-PREDICT is an Irish Cancer Society funded Collaborative Cancer Research Centre. This ‘virtual Centre’ was launched in October 2013 and is now in its final year.  BREAST-PREDICT brings together researchers from six academic institutions across Ireland: UCD, TCD, RCSI, DCU, NUIG and UCC, and a nationwide clinical trials group, Cancer Trials Ireland.  Professor Gallagher (UCD) is the lead Principal Investigator and Director of BREAST-PREDICT. 

This heat map graphic demonstrates the global reach of BREAST-PREDICT and indicates the number of international collaborations BREAST-PREDICT researchers have been involved in.

Grassroots image management - Confucius Institutes and media perceptions of China

Confucius Institutes (CIs) are Chinese-government sponsored cultural and language entities at foreign universities that, in part, aim to improve China’s image abroad. This research aims to find out if they succeed in that goal. To do so, it maps all 500+ CIs in the world over time. Using machine-coded data of over 300,000 articles in more than 100 languages, it analyzes whether they improve the tone of local media stories about China. It finds that with an active CI, the tone of stories about China within 25 kilometers of the CI improves significantly.

The figures above visualize this process: black dots represent active CIs; redder shading represents more negative tone in stories about China; bluer shading represents more positive tone in stories about China. These maps illustrate that CIs are effective as part of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts at what we call “grassroots image management”.

Highway to Life - Destination Oocyte

This piece, entitled “Highway to Life – Destination Oocyte”, is intended to be a humorous parody of Google Maps. The purpose of the piece is to inform a lay audience of our research which is to elucidate the mechanisms of sperm survival and sperm selection within the female genital tract.

The journey that sperm must take through the bovine reproductive tract to the site of fertilisation is not straightforward. The road is long, winding and very poorly lit, so the probability for these sperm to get lost is very high. Introducing “Genital Maps”; a handy new journey planning tool is designed to minimise confusion when travelling to the site of fertilization.

Genital Maps illustrates that sperm may take one of two available routes. The first route, shown in blue, is via natural insemination, where the sperm start off in the cervix. The second route, shown in red, is via artificial insemination, where the sperm start their journey from the uterus. Genital Maps also highlights various sites of interest such as uterine horn, ampulla and isthmus that the sperm are likely to encounter along the way. On the left hand side is the Genital Maps toolbar, outlining step-by-step directions and estimate times of arrival for the sperm. Now, thanks to Genital Maps, the course for sperm is set, the way is clear and the race is on. The Darwin rule “survival of the fittest” will apply - and only one single sperm out of millions inseminated will succeed in fertilizing the oocyte. 

Landscape Urbanism of Bhote Koshi River Basin

The Bhote Koshi River Basin located at the Sindhupalchok district in Nepal faces the problem of poor infrastructure which led to an unsustainable decline of agriculture and a high absentee population. The map shows the physical geography of the site overlayed by infrastructural interventions, aiming to activate the river basin’s economic potential by integrating multiple touristic loops into existing villages which links the main Araniko highway.

Incorporating landslide mitigation structures, a harmonious landscape that can be used for both agriculture, water management and tourism is generated where both locals and tourists can benefit from the introduction of new economic opportunities, improved transportation and amenities.

MARSH - Mapping Ammonia Risk on Sensitive Habitats

Atmospheric ammonia poses a significant pervasive threat to sensitive habitats and species such as those protected in the Natura 2000 network of designated sites. A novel GIS approach, using best available data presented above identified Natura 2000 sites most at risk from atmospheric ammonia. Including responsive lichen species allowed for the expansion of risk categories from 5 to 20, thereby further informing the assignation of potential risk. Lichen species can be used as an indicator of atmospheric pollution, as their primary source of nutrients is from the atmosphere. 

Site specific data generated by these maps were provided to Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to inform the risk based approach required by the National Emissions Ceiling’s Directive (2010/75/EU) and to the National Parks and Wildlife Service to inform Article 17 reporting required under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). This work has been published in the Science of the Total Environment (

1st Place Winner in Mapping UCD Research Competition: Revealing the Structure of Ireland’s National Grid - an Octolinear Network Diagram

In 1931, Harry Beck created the iconic London Underground tube map. By distorting the exact geography of the city, and insisting on only 90° or 45° angles, he created a legible display that made the connections between tube stations intuitive and tangible. Notably, it seems Beck’s familiarity with circuit schematics inspired his iconic tube map. With our diagram we try to come full circle: can transit maps inspire a new way to look at the circuits that make up the Irish power system? 

This diagram was iteratively built up over the course of a nine month collaboration between Dr. Paul Cuffe (UCD) and Dr. Pádraig Daly and others in Eirgrid. A key motivation was to aid communication with non-technical stakeholders: for instance, to explain why it might be necessary to build a new powerline to accommodate more wind power. The main challenge was locating each substation to have a plausible geographic position while also orienting the connecting lines at 90° or 45° (though we had to cheat in places, either by adding inflection points, or by tolerating ‘wrong’ angles) While some node-positioning algorithms were used in the early stages, the bulk of the work here was done manually, with a 45° set square perched up against the screen.  

Remote Sensing for Crop Properties

Timely measurement of wheat yield is important to assist framers to ensure sufficient food supply that deal with growth in global population, efficient agriculture land management with less deforestation, reduce cost of fertilisation and day by day on farm decision.  The aim of the research is to establish a framework for satellite-based monitoring and prediction system of crop yield which is efficient and affordable at local to regional level. 

Thus, the research will deliver the decision support system starting with Ireland, Europe then globally.  Ireland has been the top country by wheat yield in the world as of 2016 (KNOEMA, 2016).  The country accountable for 2.33% of the world wheat yield.  The wheat yield of Ireland has declined by 10.58% recently.  The research finding will help to sustain and secure food supplies for future. 

Thall_agus_Abhus” Irish Language Revival - Media and the Transatlantic Influence 1857-1897

Current research indicates that the first Irish-language column was printed in the Irish-American newspaper in 1857. Forty years later was the first annual Irish language literary festival, ‘An tOireachtas’ in Dublin, Ireland in 1897. Both marked milestones in the Revival movement with the acknowledgement of Irish as a print language in the media’s public sphere and the development of a literary language. In this research media forums (periodicals, newspapers) and cultural organisations in the United States are examined to determine their role and influence in the Revival movement on a transatlantic basis. 

This map presents 5 geographical areas in the US in which media forums and cultural organisations used the Irish language as a means of print and oral communication. This map indicates the main areas in which the Irish language was used and spoken. Insights can be gained from this in establishing transatlantic connections and influences of pre-Revival theories between the US and Ireland in the 19th century. This new geographical focus on print media and cultural organisations not only creates a transatlantic network of ideas, influences, and ideology, but also contributes to geographical patterns. By examining later trips to the US such as that by Douglas Hyde in 1905/06 when raising funds for the Gaelic League, we can create links between the areas he visited with those on the above map. These areas had an Irish language speaking population which developed from media forums and cultural organisations relating to this research. 

Rumen Fluke - the Law of Unintended Consequences

Between March 2010 and October 2012 only two medications (Albendazole or Oxyclozanide) were licensed for use against liver fluke in Irish dairy herds. Oxyclozanide is also active against rumen flukes, a parasite which shares many characteristics with the liver fluke. Here we show density clusters of cattle infected with rumen fluke between 2011 and 2014. A change from north to south in the distribution of the density clusters can be seen from 2011 to 2014. This is interesting as the southern part of the Munster region has a greater proportion of dairy herds as compared to beef herds. 

From the end of 2012 on, more treatment options became available. As a result the use of Oxyclozanide, and therefore control of rumen fluke, has declined in dairy herds. You win some, you lose some. 

The Relationship between Childhood Obesity and Deprivation

This choropleth map shows obesity in year 6 primary school children by ward of the local authority of Dudley over 5 years. 

The association seen by the darkest shade representing higher rates of obesity and the red ward names of most deprived quintile suggests there is a relationship between the two.

Unlocking the secrets of the Universe with the International LOFAR Telescope

The bigger the telescope, the better the resolution. However, telescopes can only be so big. To get around this problem, researchers came up with a new concept: a “software-based” telescope. The International LOFAR Telescope (ILT), which we use for our research, is based on this state-of-the-art design.

The ILT has no dish or eyepiece and it has no moving parts. The ILT consists only of thousands of antennas, and the direction in which it is pointing is controlled electronically. These antennas are clulstered into stations (blue markers) which are scattered across Europe.

Each of these stations is used simultaneously to make images of astronomical sources. Each station records terabytes of data which are sent via high-speed fibre cables and data centres (white) to the ILT core in the Netherlands (red). There, the data are analysed by a Blue Gene/P supercomputer.

Using some clever mathematical techniques, the ILT performs as though it were a single dish telescope that is as big as a circle which encompasses all of the stations. This provides unprecedented resolution at frequencies which the ILT is tuned to. Using the ILT, we can observe features of galaxies which are ten thousand times smaller than the Moon.

The Irish Question - a Study into the Architectural Manifestations of BREXIT on the Island and Seas of Ireland

This piece of work was made as an exercise in mapping the pace of production, consumption, renewal and transportation of goods required to enable an every-day life in Ireland. I tracked the origin of everything I used in a given day in order to place myself within the context of global trade. This illustrated the pace and tempo of differing circulation routes but also highlighted our heavy dependency on Britain as a middle man for trade.

This is part of my ongoing design research in the School of Architecture. My project is looking into trade as a vehicle through which seismic cultural and political shifts are made palpable to the ordinary person. I will speculate on the future of Dublin Port and the Irish Sea as Britain leaves the European Union and question what shifting trade agreements will do to the architecture and landscape of our island and its seas.

Maps & GIS Librarian

Jane Nolan's picture
Jane Nolan
Jane Nolan
Maps & GIS Librarian
Room R250, Level 2
James Joyce Library
University College Dublin
Dublin 4

Tel: 01 716 7532 / 2796