News Release

19 October 2011


Major Geological Airborne Survey takes off across the Border Region

-          Crucial second stage of Tellus Border Project gets ‘off the ground’


The second stage of the Tellus Border project, a highly significant EU-funded environmental mapping project of Ireland’s six border counties - Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth – is set to begin next week (weather permitting). The Airborne Survey, conducted by a small aircraft equipped with the very latest geophysical technology, will be flown over the next four to six months and will play a crucial role in the collection and analysis of scientific data on soils, water and rocks across the region.

The aircraft operated and flown by world leaders in this field, Sanders Geophysics Limited from Canada, will be based at St. Angelo Airport, Enniskillen. Over rural areas the aircraft will fly at an altitude of 60m (approx eight times the height of a two-storey house) and this will increase to 240m as it flies over towns and more densely populated areas. All surveying will take place during daylight hours, seven days a week; however this is dependent on weather conditions. The initiative is funded under the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

Ray Scanlon, Senior Geologist at the Geological Survey of Ireland, said “We are delighted to launch this major and extremely exciting phase of the project which will greatly add to our understanding of the environment we live in.”

“ We are working in full co-operation with the Irish Aviation Authority and the flight plans are strictly regulated – however as the sound of the plane overhead is similar to that of a passing lorry, it may disturb sensitive livestock such as horses, poultry, pedigree cattle and deer if they are outdoors. It is therefore important that any animal owner or concerned party contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss any issues and together take action if necessary. ”

An extensive awareness-raising campaign, involving community groups, farming and equine organisations and other relevant parties is currently underway. Anyone requiring further detail about the project can contact the Tellus Border information line on freephone 1800 303 516 or email

The commencement of the Airborne Survey comes on the back of the recently launched Ground Survey which began in Co Donegal in August. This part of the programme consists of trained teams collecting soil, water and stream samples every four square kilometres across the survey area. As with the airborne survey, every attempt is being made to inform landowners in advance. 


For further information please contact Kelly McKee, Seona McGrath or Claire Bonner at Morrow Communications on 02890 393837 or see the project website is .

Notes for Editors

·         The cross-border Tellus Border project has been funded by the INTERREG IVA development programme of the European Regional Development Fund, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). This is the largest of the latest awards under the Environment theme of INTERREG IVA and is part funded by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Northern Ireland’s Department of the Environment.

·         The project is a joint initiative between the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI), the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), the Dundalk Institute of Technology and Queen’s University Belfast and builds on the award-winning Tellus Project which has already successfully mapped Northern Ireland. Data collected during both surveys will be integrated with the existing data to give a cross border geological baseline.

·         ‘Tellus’ was the Roman goddess of the earth, also called Terra Mater

·         The aircraft being used in the survey is a white, twin propeller plane with a distinctive red tail and blue stripe, and it carries the registration number of C-GSGF.

·         The plane will fly during daylight hours, seven days a week.


• The Special EU Programmes Body is a North/South Implementation Body sponsored by the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the Department of Finance in Ireland. It is responsible for managing two EU structural funds Programmes PEACE III and INTERREG IV designed to enhance cross-border co-operation, promote reconciliation and create a more peaceful and prosperous society. The Programmes operate within a clearly defined area including Northern Ireland, the Border Region of Ireland and Western Scotland.

• The INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme is worth €256 million and aims to address the economic and social problems which result from the existence of borders. It has two distinct priority measures to create co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable cross-border region.d sustainable cross-border region.

• For more information on the SEUPB please visit