The National Centre for Geocomputation (NCG)

In 10 years the Centre and its associates have received over €23m in funding via European programmes, Irish Exchequer funded research entities and national and international industry partners. These awards have investigated projects in:

  • Health (modelling accessibility to hospital services)
  • The marine environment (new technologies for disaster management at sea to create efficiencies in real-time response; innovative geospatial approaches to coastal and seabed mapping)
  • The terrestrial environment (enhanced road safety, mobile mapping systems, improved forestry inventory/yield)
  • The aerial environment (airborne mapping) and
  • The natural environment (noise pollution, wastewater disposal)  

To date, researchers working with the NCG have published 116 refereed original articles and over 50 books/edited books and book chapters.

Significant advances in geocomputation by the NCG have included the development of:

  • Address matching software allowing lists of Irish addresses to be recognised, geocoded and mapped
  • Technology for spatially encoded digital video
  • An algorithm to automatically generate digital boundaries for small areas data reporting in Ireland. This project enabled the subsequent release of Census data on small areas, providing spatial data at a more concentrated geographical level for improved analysis and informed decision-making
  • The spatial data analysis technique of geographically weighted regression (GWR). Continued expansion of the methodology seeks to include a wider range of geographically weighted tools.  The original papers introducing the method and the subsequent book have had around 3,000 citations and the technique has been employed in several fields of study including house price analysis, health geography, climate analysis, crime pattern analysis and the study of voting patterns.  Open Source software for the technique is now available via the 'GWmodel'R package
  • New web-based tools and smart phone applications to facilitate the automated collection and recording of road attribute data enabling comparison with design standards and safe system rules, to identify deficits and prioritise treatments in accordance with the degree of safety deficit and the results of crash data analyses
  • A platform for supporting decision making in response to oil spill events in the marine environment

In 2008, the NCG was awarded €7m in SFI funding linking researchers across several disciplines at Maynooth University, UCD, DIT and TCD.  Eight parallel strands were linked through demonstrator projects at the city scale (large scale data modelling to understand urban dynamics) and at the locality scale (creation of a 3D virtual reality model of the campus of Maynooth University).  Technology transfer was achieved through four industrial partners: ESRI Ireland, eSpatial, Pavement Management Services and Fugro/BKS and four public agencies; Ordnance Survey Ireland, Geological Survey of Ireland, National Roads Authority and the Marine Institute - read more at

The NCG has hosted prestigious academic visitors through Science Foundation Ireland Walton Fellowships and organised a number of international conferences and events on the geocomputational theme including GISRUK, Geocomputation, ECTQG and W2GIS as well as a number of Geographically Weighted Modelling workshops in Ireland and internationally.  Nationally it has organised conferences examining 'GIS in Health' and 'GIS in Practice' (in the context of Transportation, Emergency Management, the Environment and Crime) and more recently organised and hosted the Irish Earth Observation Symposium.

The Centre has continually invested in innovative geospatial technologies.  Its own novel data capture methodologies include both terrestrial (LiDAR) and aerial capabilities including a Helikite and Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) with a hyperspectral camera.  Many of these resources have been used on collaborative projects with industry partners.

In 10 years the Centre has received extensive media coverage both internationally and nationally.  Highlights include a feature written by Prof. Andrew Curtis which appeared in The New York Times in August 2010 describing research work post Hurricane Katrina using geospatial video technology developed by Dr Tim McCarthy from the NCG.

Recently the NCG has had coverage by the national broadcaster (on RTE1 television) on programmes such as 'The Science Squad' and  'Creedon's Weather'.

Further information: email Professor Christopher Brunsdon.NCG Director