Mapping cross-border infrastructure projects, especially over time, can help to determine the impacts of these infrastructure projects on local economic development, land uses, services and residential and commercial development in a cross border context. The comprehensive mapping of projects will also provide the opportunity to illustrate linkages to other programmes. The mapping of completed infrastructure programmes on a cross-border basis, together with planned projects, will be important when planning future programmes. Mapping infrastructure projects will assist the SEUPB in placing project proposals within a larger strategic context and increase the transparency of the decision-making process.
The pilot mapping initiative will identify and demonstrate the most effective means of mapping and illustrating the spatial locations of cross-border infrastructure projects funded through INTERREG and currently held in the Border Ireland cross-border information system. Based on the pilot, it is envisaged that the project will be expanded to include other infrastructure projects, including those funded by other programmes that impact on the cross-border region.
The project will be managed by the ICLRD, which is a unique North-South-US partnership that brings together leading experts in spatial planning, housing and local and regional development from universities and research centres. The major involvement of staff will be from the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh, National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) in Maynooth, and the Institute for international Urban Development in Massachusetts. The University of Ulster will be available on a consultative basis. The project will be administered by the Centre for Cross Border Studies.
To date this mapping project has involved the development of a collaborative online website, a review of the common elements of mapping websites, an evaluation of appropriate mapping software which could be integrated into existing Border Ireland architecture, familiarisation with Border Ireland database structure, scripting of SQL statements to interrogate the dataset and checking the accuracy of initial maps/outputs produced to quality assure the process.
Some of the main questions that this research seeks to address include:
- What value does spatial representing the data add to Border Ireland?
- What is the most appropriate methodology for mapping cross-border information?
- What are the implications for data collection going forward?