Waterline – Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA Waterline project was initiated to address the limitations of the river network layer used by the EPA for river flow and catchment analysis.

This legacy layer lacked the necessary detail, spatial accuracy, attributes and connectivity required for advanced environmental modelling and assessment.

The project began with a pilot in the Suir catchment, which successfully demonstrated the feasibility of creating a more precise and accurate representation of the rivers using PRIME2. 

Compass developed a bespoke (cloud based) network processing and editing toolkit in order to achieve the ultimate goal of rolling out Waterline nationwide.

About EPA

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of Ireland is an independent public body responsible for protecting and improving the environment in Ireland.

Responsibilities of the EPA include the regulation and licensing of industrial activities such as waste management, water and air emissions, and contaminated land.

The EPA monitors the quality of Ireland’s air, water, and soil, and provides regular reports on the state of the environment, and has the power to take enforcement action against individuals and organisations that are found to be in breach.

Project Requirements

The EPA Waterline project was initiated in response to the limitations of their legacy river network layer, known as RivNetRoutes, which was based upon older Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale mapping. 

Although having served its purpose well, this product had several shortcomings which hindered its effectiveness in supporting environmental modelling in the future. 

There was a need for a more modern river network that could address these limitations and render a more accurate representation of rivers across Ireland.

The EPA Waterline project was therefore conceived to enhance the PRIME2 dataset and render it fit for purpose.

Waterline rolled-out a connected river network for the entire country, ensuring an accurate reflection of the spatial extents and interconnectedness of rivers in order to facilitate flow dynamics modelling as accurately as possible.

Solution Provided – Waterline

Compass Informatics devised a robust and comprehensive solution that involved a combination of software development and network data processing. 

Building upon the successful pilot project for Suir catchment, and utilising the PRIME2 dataset as a foundation, our team employed advanced geospatial techniques to enhance attributes and rectify geometric connectivity. 

Project deliverables for Waterline included attributed line geometries, point datasets and polygon datasets with attributed waterbody codes. 

An online reference manual, training toolkit and solution source code were also supplied.

Solution Benefit

The implementation of the Waterline solution has brought significant benefits to the EPA and other stakeholders. 

Waterline has significantly enhanced the data modelling and analysis capabilities of the EPA, allowing for more accurate and detailed environmental assessment of water quality in Ireland. 

By combining the updated Waterline network, land cover maps, and the national Monitoring Quality Index (MQI) database, the EPA can now carry out integrated catchment assessments, gaining comprehensive insights into the state of water resources. 

The Connected Waterline has also proven valuable to key external stakeholders, such as Irish Water, OPW and Geological Survey Ireland and LAWPRO.  

Solution Snapshot

Snapshot of Hydrotools interface illustrating Waterline network data overlaid upon LiDAR DEM data.


Snapshot of Hydrotools interface illustrating Waterline network data overlaid on OSi 6” historic mapping.


Snapshot illustrating Prime2 flow dis-connectivity.


Snapshot of Hydrotools interface illustrating Waterline edit and QC interface.


Snapshot of Hydrotools interface illustrating connectivity I resultant from Suir Pilot project.

About Compass

Compass Informatics is an Irish company providing location technologies and data analytics solutions which enable government and commercial organisations to deliver more efficient operations, protect their assets and meet regulatory requirements.   

Compass Informatics’ services include GIS & Data Analytics, IT Systems Development and Location Technologies and the company has won awards for their innovative solutions and focus on sustainability.

Compass leverages the latest technologies to achieve full-service project delivery including; Big Data Analytics, AI, Cloud, Mobile, GIS and Satellite-based Earth Observation amongst others. 

Compass Informatics  are part of Tracsis Plc.

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To learn more about this project, and how the solution provided may benefit your organisation, please contact our government solutions team at info@compassinformatics.com.