Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Sharing information about Project Ireland 2040, the national strategy for a better Ireland for all
Project Ireland 2040 is Ireland’s long-term strategy for building a better, more resilient and more sustainable country for people to live and work in. It is backed by a ten-year investment of €165 billion under the National Development Plan 2021-30, the largest and greenest plan ever delivered in Ireland.
Since 2018, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has used a spreadsheet tracker to monitor the progress of all of the major investment projects that make up Project Ireland 2040. However, the Department recognised that it needed a better and more interactive way to share information about current and planned investment projects that would promote greater citizen engagement. With this in mind, it approached Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) in early 2019 to see if the tracker could be used to generate an interactive map.
OSi rose to the challenge. It quickly engaged in four months of intensive and highly successful collaboration with the Department to create an interactive map called myProjectIreland. The two organisations worked together to integrate data, ensure consistent data standards and develop a solution that was easy for anyone to use. Launched alongside the first Project Ireland 2040 Annual Report in May 2019, myProjectIreland is hosted by OSi on GeoHive, the State’s national platform for geospatial information and services and is also available on gov.ie/2040.
Since the initial launch, OSi has worked with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to add new features to the interactive map, improving the format and the way that users navigate and interact with the data. The latest version includes dashboards and allows users to search via Eircode, county, status and investment type, from either a desktop or mobile device.
The benefits that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has gained from its collaboration with OSi include:
Effective monitoring of a national plan
The myProjectIreland web app provides an effective way for citizens to monitor the delivery of almost 1,000 projects across the country. Citizens can see, at a glance, how many projects are underway in each area and when they are due to be completed. “myProjectIreland is an excellent example of how geospatial data can support the implementation and delivery of flagship government policies, like Project Ireland 2040, and how it can contribute to better decision making,” says Margaret O’Donnell, Assistant Principal in the National Investment Office in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. “The map is a key digital aid in monitoring the capital projects being delivered under Project Ireland 2040.”
Increased transparency about public investments
Developed specifically to be citizen-focused, myProjectIreland provides people with greater transparency about current and planned public investments in their local area, enabling them to make better decisions about where they want to live and work. The tool is very easy to use and has been well received by the public, with 10,000 hits on the mapping app in the first two weeks alone. “The use of GeoHive allows us to present a large amount of information in a very user-friendly and accessible format,” O’Donnell says. “The interactive map format brings Project Ireland 2040 to life for people across the country and marks a structural shift in how investment plans are communicated.”
Improved support for the construction industry
Significantly, myProjectIreland provides Ireland’s construction industry with a convenient and simple way to find out about upcoming investment projects that are in the pipeline, such as roads, hospitals and schools. They can then be better prepared to submit bids for new contracts when tendering opens. As O’Donnell says, “This, in turn, will encourage more organisations to bid for public contracts, leading to better value for the state in the projects that we invest in and better value for the tax payer.”
Successful collaboration within the public sector
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is proud of what it has achieved through its collaboration with OSi. The myProjectIreland project received recognition at the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards 2019, and plans are in progress to expand the mapping app to include an even broader range of development projects, including smaller, regional initiatives, in the future.
“I like to think that myProjectIreland has helped pave the way for other similar collaborative geospatial projects in the public sector,” O’Donnell says. “This project shows what can be achieved when the technical and policy sides of Ireland’s public sector join forces and work very effectively together on behalf of the citizen.”
“myProjectIreland is an excellent example of how geospatial data can support the implementation and delivery of flagship government policies….”
– Margaret O’Donnell, Assistant Principal, National Investment Office, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform