Following on from my recent animation of the Irish Border which was an attempted to visualise the Irish border from above, here is something else I put together which is an attempt to visualise the Irish border at ground level.
On the left is a map with the locations of the crossing point along the 499km border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Clicking on a point will display a 360° view of the crossing using Google Streetview.
You can check it out here
While the map currently displays 251 crossings points, the jury is out on the exact number of crossings there are along the border. In preparation for the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union a joint mapping exercise involving the Irish Department of Transport and the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure last year put the number of road crossings at 208  which seems a bit on the low side as depending on how many tracks you include there are thought to be up to 275 .
If correct this would mean that there is a crossing approximately every 2km along the border. To put this into context, the land border between Canada and the United States (the world’s longest international border) is 8,891 km long and has just 119 border crossings, while the European Union’s eastern border while approximately 6,000km long has only 137 land border crossings !
|avg distance between crossings (km)
Of course these are just road crossings. There is also one rail crossing and numerous other ‘informal’ crossing points. While walking the length of the border as research for his book ‘The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border’ Garrett Carr identified a further 77 previously uncharted crossings, such as stepping stones, gates and stiles.
Number 53 of the 77 unmapped connections I found while walking Ireland's border. pic.twitter.com/a3KpXIKgzR
— Garrett Carr (@garrett_carr) June 19, 2018
In order to develop this map I went looking for a dataset of the border crossing point. I found one from Ordnance Survey Ireland  on data.gov.ie but to my surprise it only contained 38 crossings. More surprisingly, the majority of the crossings locations were incorrect, some off by up to a 1/2 a kilometer !
Next I checked Open Street Map which I found had the majority of crossing points mapped with “Border NI/ROI” Upon, closer observation I discovered that there were also some crossings tagged differently “Border ROI/NI” etc. but as is the beauty of OSM I could easily standardise these.
Once I had these points it was easy to make a map which would display Street View Imagery for the crossing location.
OSM vs OSI
You can view a comparison of the Ordnance Survey and Open Street Map data on this map.