Pictured receiving the ‘Community Engagement’ award at Esri Ireland’s ‘Customer Success Awards’ (Left to right) Mackenzie Boland (GIS Analyst), Barry Doyle (IS Project Leader), Anthonin Lize (GIS Analyst / Developer), Bridin Feeney (GIS Technician) of Galway County Council. Photo: John Ohle Photograpy

AN INNOVATIVE digital project which mapped over 40,000 graveyard memorial records across Co Galway and made them publicly available online has won national recognition.

On Thursday last, the ‘Digitising Galway’s Graveyard Heritage’ project was named overall winner of the ‘Community Engagement’ category of Esri Ireland’s annual ‘Customer Success Awards’ held in Dublin’s Anantara The Marker Hotel.

Working with and supported by Galway Rural Development, Forum Connemara, The Heritage Council, The National Monuments Service and Galway County Community Archaeology Service, Galway County Council provided funding to local groups to employ experts to train local communities to use mobile technology and to undertake drone mapping of graveyards resulting in a public release of 40,000 records from across the county via the Local Authority’s Open Data Portal.

This is the second national award to be picked up by the project after it was named winner at the Public Sector Digital Transformation Awards last October.

Welcoming the award win, Cllr. Liam Carroll (FG), Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council commented, “The success of the Digital Mapping of Graveyards Project is the result of forensic research and cutting-edge surveying work by the Local Authority’s Heritage department and local communities across Galway. This award win is testament to the innovative nature of the project and its benefit to the diaspora and academia at home and abroad”.

Outlining the background to the project, Barry Doyle, Geographic Information System (GIS) project lead for Galway County Council said, “We have been working with various community groups and organisations to collect and collating valuable data relating to those who are buried in various graveyards for several years”.

“Galway County Council, with funding from the Heritage Council, the Open Data Engagement Fund and its own resources developed and made available a mobile app specifically for use by surveyors at the local level for memorial surveys, along with associated data management and validation processes,” he added. “This technology, along with drone technology, was made available to local community groups to expand the number of graveyards in the project resulting in the 40,000 records that are now publicly available.”

Esri Ireland is the global market leader in GIS and their software is used widely in Ireland in both public and private sector organisations, including most local authorities.

The Galway County Digital Mapping of Graveyards Project may be viewed at galwaycoco.maps.arcgis.com and data.gov.ie.

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