December 2, 2023
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What lies beneath: Low flying aircraft on a mission to map Kilkenny

A low flying aircraft will be seen in the skies above Kilkenny over the coming days. But you needn’t panic: the plane is just on a mission to collect geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water.

The mission is part of the Tellus Survey, a nationwide programme of Geological Survey Ireland.

To gather the geophysical data, a low-flying airplane equipped with state-of -the-art instruments will fly over Kilkenny, Waterford, Carlow, Laois, Tipperary, Kildare, Offaly and Cork from September until the end of the year.

The programme has been mapping across Ireland over the last nine years and is currently funded under Project 2040 the National Development Plan by Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

It aims to have 75% of Ireland mapped by 2020, with the resulting data having the potential to deliver positive economic, environmental and agricultural benefits by helping to assist in local environment understanding, soil management, and natural resource potential for these counties.

Senior Geologist and Tellus Project Manager, Dr James Hodgson, said: “The Tellus Survey is an important national project, providing valuable insights into the geological makeup of Ireland. The data collected from the Tellus Survey helps us to sustainably manage our environment and natural resources as well as protecting public health. I am delighted that the south central phase has commenced and we thank the communities of Laois, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Waterford Offaly, Cork, Carlow and Kildare for their support during this flying season.”

The survey aircraft is a white, twin propeller plane (as pictured), which is easily identified by its red tail and black stripe as well as the word ‘SURVEY’ and  registration number C-GSGF written across both sides of the plane.

Based at Waterford Airport, the survey plane will be flying at 60 metres over rural areas – about eight times the height of a two-storey house – and 240 metres over urban areas  in the coming months, as approved by the Irish Aviation Authority.

Due to the low-flying altitude of the survey aircraft, anyone concerned about sensitive livestock is encouraged to contact the Tellus Freephone Information Line on 1800 45 55 65.


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