Although no SDI currently exists in Ireland, elements required to build a first rank spatial data infrastructure do exist. If these components can be adequately organised, combined and developed Ireland would have the ability to derive the substantial potential benefits arising from an SDI which are mentioned in section 2 above. Some of the important positive elements include :-
- an increasing realisation that spatial data can play a major role in government and business
- the realisation in government that an ISDI is necessary and the appointment of a government department to take a lead role in creating such an infrastructure
- the fact that many organisations have a GIS capacity. For example virtually all County Councils have such a capacity and many government departments are in a similar situation
- a number of tertiary education bodies provide education and training in GIS and related matters
- research bodies are building increasing competency in spatial analysis. A national centre for geocomputational analysis is to be established
- large quantities of data are already spatially 'tagged' in a variety of ways. However, the method of tagging of many of these datasets does not facilitate seamless integration of databases
- the OSi has a sound and expanding digital spatial data base
- an umbrella organisation (Irish Organisation for Geographical Information - IRLOGI) exists. This organisation is concerned specifically with spatial data matters and draws together interested individuals and organisations from a variety of sectors
- the infrastructure exists through OSi to provide real-time GPS positioning.
However in striving for a first rank ISDI there are also difficulties and problems which need to be overcome, including :-
- lack of adequate funding arrangements
- no coherent overall policy framework, a matter which is currently being addressed
- fragmented data bases containing data which can not be seamlessly combined
- lack of an integration mechanism such as an ISDI Internet portal
- institutional issues and unresolved questions, including the balance between public good and the rights of the individual to privacy and suitable frameworks for protecting intellectual property rights (including copyright) while at the same time ensuring appropriate levels of access to information.
- lack of a data sharing culture
- maintaining interest and support.