The CSIG was formed in late 2011 when a number of members of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI), with an interest in creating accurate charts of the Irish waterways, got together to map the Shannon. Almost immediately it was clear that charts for all the Irish waterways would be of enormous benefit to boaters.
‘The Charts Special Interest Group is a cooperative of IWAI members committed to producing and distributing Freeware digital charts of the Irish Inland Waterways.’
The CSIG mission fulfills one of the major aims of the IWAI:
“To prepare, either alone or in collaboration with any other body, guide books, charts, maps and other literature suitable for use by persons using the Irish navigations for any purpose, and to foster public interest in and knowledge of the Irish waterways by disseminating information on the subject to members and to the general public.”
Today, there are teams surveying, gathering place and historical information, analysing data and charting the Shannon River and its Lakes, Upper and Lower Lough Erne, the Grand and Royal Canals, Lough Corrib, the Newry Canal, the River Barrow, the Shannon Erne Waterway and the River Liffey. In the future, we plan to include the Limerick navigation, the Boyne, Lough Allen and Lough Neagh, River Bann and Lough Oughter. Members of the CSIG divide the work between them based on the skillset of the individual. This breeds a sense of camaraderie, collaboration, fellowship and trust with everyone’s contribution valued no matter what their expertise.
We are also liaising with other groups who are interested in what we are doing. These include sub-aqua organisations (who are assisting us in surveying), under water archaeologists including the National Monument Service, walkers, cyclists, anglers, land surveyors, hire companies and Waterways Ireland. The rescue services have been using test versions of our charts in their work and have collaborated with us in establishing standard place names, accurate positioning and hot links for contact information.