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Spatial Analysis is the term given to techniques that analyse data about a location to answer specific questions, for example to find the names and locations of rivers and lakes within a 10 kilometre radius of an IPPC licensed industry.
Spatial analysis is used in the Environmental Protection Agency firstly to tell us more about the status of the environment now and analyse how it has changed and secondly, to try and predict the effects of pollution on the local environment.
Spatial analysis was used in the creation of the latest environmental indicator report to give indications of the increase in urbanisation in the last 10 years. It was also used to create an Air Emissions grid that supports EPA scientists to track intensity of emissions by geographic area.
The techniques have also been employed in many activities relating to the implementation of the Water Framework Directive in Ireland. This required a national study of the current status of all surface water and groundwater in the state, to give a score to each water body of the likelihood that it will achieve good water status by the year 2015. Where it was not possible to directly survey a water body in the field, GIS and spatial analysis techniques were used to analyse the land use and locations of possible pollutants around a water body. This analysis identified if the quality of the water body is under threat.
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