Digital Humanities - GIS

GIS or Geographic Information Systems relates to the processing, analysis and visualisation of spatial data, typically in the form of 2D or 3D maps. Mapping your data can be an interesting and useful way to reframe it. It can add clarity, offer fresh perspectives and reveal patterns during the research process.

It has potential for use beyond Geography, and is commonly applied in areas of literature, politics, history, and many other areas of scholarship. 

Historical and Photographic Map Datasets - OSI MapGenie

The Library now provides access to high quality Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) map datasets through MapGenie,from historic 19th century 6-inch maps to present day aerial photographic maps. For DCU users of ArcGIS Online, these are available via the basemaps menu, enabling you to quickly create attractive and contextually accurate maps for a variety of time periods and research perspectives.

To get a sense of the range of maps, visit OSI’s Geohive map viewer and select the different options under ‘Base Information and Mapping’ menu on the left hand side. 

See the full range of datasets available via MapGenie for use in ArcGIS below

Mapping Data with ArcGIS Workshops

The Library provides introductory support and group training in mapping data. Our sessions are hands-on using ArcGIS and introduce key concepts of GIS. Currently we structure this over two sessions:

  • Build maps from data (using ArcGIS Online)
  • Tell stories with maps (using ArcGIS Storymaps)

These are aimed primarily at humanities researchers but we are happy to engage with anyone in DCU interested or active in this area. To enquire about upcoming GIS sessions contact Liam (liam.odwyer[at]

GIS Resources
GIS Software
Spatial Datasets
  • AIRO Data Store |
    Datasets from a wide range of sources and sectors set up at the national or all-island scale.
  • |
    Ireland's open data portal provides access to Irish Public Sector data
  • EPA Data |
    A range of spatial datasets from the Environmental Protection Agency
  • EU Open Data
    Open data published by EU institutions and bodies
  • GeoHive |
    An OSI initiative providing access to spatial data from over 35 public sector organisations
  • Irish Spatial Data Exchange |
    Over 1,200 datasets from places including Environmental Protection Agency, Marine Institute, Geological Survey of Ireland and Marine Digital Atlas
  • Irish Townlands |
    Datasets relating to townlands, baronies, parishes and counties of Ireland
  • OSI open data |
    Over 100 national datasets
  • SmartDublin |
    Close to 300 datasets relating to the Dublin region


Our School of History and Geography use ArcGIS in their research and in various teaching modules. Many other schools and centres also engage in various kinds of spatial data analysis and visualisation. If you use GIS in your research or teaching we would love to hear from you (liam.odwyer[at]