New mapping tool launched


A new mapping tool has been launched which allows users to pinpoint an area of the country and find its drive time from services such as hospitals and schools.

The free tool has been developed by NUI Maynooth’s National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis.

It allows analysis of specific areas across the whole island in terms of accessibility to 24-hour emergency hospitals, fire stations, GP surgeries, Garda and PSNI stations and schools.

The mapping tool shows that if you live in Dublin, you’re on average eight minutes drive from a 24-hour emergency hospital. However if you live in parts of Kerry, north Mayo or south west Donegal, the travel time to the nearest 24-hour centre could be more than one hour.

In general, average travel times to services in Northern Ireland are lower than in the Republic.

The average access to a 24-hour full emergency hospital in Northern Ireland is 16 minutes while it’s 21minutes in the Republic.

Travel times to the nearest education services such as primary and secondary schools are roughly comparable north and south of the Border.

Parts of west Mayo and the Iveragh peninsula in Kerry are some of the least accessible to schools on the island, with many areas being more than 30 minutes from the closest secondary school. Most people on the island are about seven minutes drive from the nearest secondary school.

Prof Rob Kitchin, director of NIRSA at NUI Maynooth said mapping tools such as this were critical to policy makers, local authorities, businesses and communities in planning, funding and introducing schemes and initiatives.

NUI Maynooth president Prof Philip Nolan said this was a world-class mapping system.

"And it’s great to see a project make such a tangible contribution to the knowledge base of the country. This new system represents a significant breakthrough in the way that planning can be approached across the island of Ireland.”

To use the mapping tool, see