Creating a National Population Database for Northern Ireland
Government Radiological Incident Monitoring Network (RIMNET)
HSL's Geographical Information Systems team (GIS) were
approached by RIMNET to develop a National Population Database
(NPD) tool for Northern Ireland, similar to the UK product that the
team has already created and been using over a number of years.
The NPD is a very powerful aid in estimating population patterns
around the UK and provides estimates of population from a 100-metre
grid to an individual building basis for most population types. The
tool also provides distinction between population figures at
different times of day, week and year and different sensitivity
What We Did
The GIS team took on this task within the customer's relatively
short time scale and created an extremely useful addition to the
The initial work in creating the Northern Ireland NPD involved
identifying potential sources of population and locational data and
then obtaining these for use in creating the NI NPD. Geographical
data was obtained from Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) as
well as census data from NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and
Research Agency) for the residential layer. Statistics for
hospitals, schools and colleges were obtained from the relevant
bodies and used alongside the OSNI data to create the other
The data was manipulated and then the geographic and population
datasets were combined to create unique layers in the NPD. These
include residential points, residential 100m grid, schools,
colleges, hospitals and workplaces.
The NI NPD data was used by RIMNET to support a nuclear exercise
in March 2013. It provided the detail and resolution they required
to fully inform their processes.
The NPD data enabled RIMNET to identify potential people at risk
in the event of an emergency and to adjust their plans accordingly.
RIMNET lies at the heart of the UK's National response Plan and so
knowing the whereabouts of a variety of populations is essential
for the effective coordination of emergency response.
The GIS team intends to explore the potential to develop NPD
tools for other countries and regions in the future and is now in
an excellent position to be able to do this.
Back to Case Studies
Back to the top