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GIS at UCD and on the Web: Maps with Contours

UCD Library GIS Guide

Discovery Series Vector Tiles

Both sets of data are in vector format and in the Irish Grid projection coordinate system.    Resolution: Contours: vertical interval of 10m. 

Please complete and submit the application form Mapping Request Form: Discovery Vector and Contour Vector Data to request up to five tiles. See bottom of this page to find out about requesting a single shapefile of Discovery contour data for the Republic of Ireland.


Discovery Tiles Index

Click on the Discovery Index above to find the tile (s) you need. Each of the 251 tiles which cover the country are represented on the squares above. Tiles for your area of interest are available to obtain by request by completing the online application form above.

For each square shown above two tiles can be supplied, e.g. 1838_C for the contour lines layer and 1838_D for the Discovery vector layer. Don't forget to ask for both!

Here's an enlarged extract from the index which shows you how to find the right tile number:

Read the Eastings along the bottom of the grid, followed by the Northings up the side to get your tile number.

Read the number on the vertical line at the left hand side of the square you need. Next, read the number on the horizontal line below the square you need. In this example above the square coloured blue is tile number 2408. In other words the Easting number is 24 and the Northing number is 08.

Tailte Éireann Discovery Contours Data in Shapefile format for Republic of Ireland - in Irish Grid (IG) coordinate system

This option allows you to request Tailte Éireann Discovery Contours for the Republic of Ireland in shapefile format. Only the contour data is included in this shapefile, it does not include the Discovery Vector Base Map data.

Please complete and submit the application form Mapping Request Form: Discovery Vector and Contour Vector Data to request this shapefile. 

View Contours via GeoHive

  OSi 10m contour dataset. Generated by photogrammetric means using two series of high flown vertical aerial imagery.

Extracting Elevation Data from Google Earth

In this 15 minute tutorial from GeoDelta Labs, you will learn how to extract elevation information from Google Earth into a GIS software such as ArcGIS, and how to generate a DEM. The tutorial also shows how to use interpolation methods such as Kriging interpolation to generate the DEM and how to generate contour lines using ArcMap.

Irish maps which show contour lines

A contour is a line on a map that connects points of equal elevation and is usually based on height above sea level.


Extract from Military Series Map - Howth Sheet 32/23 S.W. showing contours at intervals of 50, 100, 200, etc.,feet


Index to the Military Maps GSGS 3906. Online seamless access to the GSGS 3906 series is available via OpenStreetMap. (You need to click in the checkbox for the series to make the maps visible). These military maps were reproduced in the 1940s in Great Britain by the War Office at a scale of 1:25,000 but derived from 1:10,560 county maps published between 1895 - 1918. Most sheets are composites of four six inch maps, photographically reduced with the contours overprinted.

List of the Military Maps GSGS 3906 Series These maps are held in Richview Library and also in the GPEP Map Library They are available to view as individual sheets on the L Brown Collection website.


Extract from Discovery Series map showing contour lines along the Kerry Way


Discovery Series maps are published at a scale of 1:50,000.

Contours are shown at intervals of 10 and 50 metres. 

Altitudes are given in metres above Mean Sea Level at Malin Head, Co Donegal.

These maps also show spot heights.

To obtain Discovery mapping tiles in vector format please refer to


Extract from OS 6inch map showing Glendalough

1:10,560 Ordnance Survey maps (six inch to 1 mile). Maps at this scale are available for the whole of Ireland but have not been updated since the 1930s. For more information about this series see Trinity Map Library's guide. Altitudes are given in feet and contours are shown at intervals of 50, 100, 200, etc. Some editions show the contour lines in red.


Extract from Dublin sheet 12 @ five feet to one mile 1847 map showing Temple Street West


Dublin 5 feet to 1 mile maps These maps which show contour lines are included in the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) 19th Century Historical Maps online digital collection and are therefore available to view and take prints from. Two editions were published - one in 1843 and the other in 1864.There are 33 maps in each edition covering the area between the canals.