Automated boundary creation: Atomic small areas in Ireland

A. Stewart Fotheringham, Peter F. Foley, Martin Charlton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper describes the creation of a set of small-areas for the reporting of census data in the Republic of Ireland. The current areas used for reporting the results of the quinquennial population censuses are known as Electoral Divisions; they are large compared with similar reporting areas in Northern Ireland, they have widely varying populations and considerable internal social heterogeneity which makes them unsuitable for a wide variety of planning tasks. We describe an automated method of creating a suitable census geography which uses existing digital map and gazetteer data. We describe its structure and operation, validation and its application to nationwide. The areas have a prescribed minimum size, are designed to be consistently small, nest into the existing ED geography, cover the whole country, are constrained by natural boundaries, use streets as their unifying feature, and are reasonably homogenous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe European Information Society
Subtitle of host publicationTaking Geoinformation Science One Step Further
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783540789451
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event11th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, AGILE 2008 - Girona, Spain
Duration: May 5 2008May 8 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography
ISSN (Print)1863-2351


Other11th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, AGILE 2008


  • Census
  • Electoral divisions
  • Gazetteer
  • Spatial patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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