Biodiversity Maps is the data portal and mapping system of the National Biodiversity Data Centre. It provides an overview of the state of knowledge on the distribution of Ireland's biodiversity from empirical observations, collected by organisations and individuals, from both the private and public sectors. It serves both as a portal to access biodiversity data published as open data, and as a shop window to display other existing sources of data on Ireland's biodiversity.

The National Biodiversity Data Centre offers the digitisation, management and display services provided by Biodiversity Maps as a shared service to data publishers, so that data from all sources can be compiled, stored and displayed to build up a comprehensive picture of the distribution of species across the island of Ireland and its marine waters. By so doing, Biodiversity Maps serves as the 'go to' source for up to date information on Ireland's biodiversity to be used by interested individuals, landowners, land managers, environmental professionals, researchers and decision-makers. The overall objective of developing Biodiversity Maps is to build the knowledge base on Ireland's biological diversity and to provide an online facility to aid in its conservation.

Datasets are published through Biodiversity Maps in two ways. First, datasets that are licenced as open data under what is termed a Creative Commons - with attribution (CC-BY) licence, are available to download and use by third parties, provided the data publisher is given due attribution when the data are being used. Second, datasets that are licensed as restricted are available to be mapped and queried online, but it is not permitted to download the dataset. Use of the dataset must be obtained from the data publisher, whose contact are provided in the information about the dataset (what we refer to as 'metadata').

The National Biodiversity Data Centre serves as Ireland's Node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). GBIF is an intergovernmental organisation that has created an open-data research infrastructure to enable anyone, anywhere access to data about all types of life on Earth. All of the data published as open data on Biodiversity Maps is also published to the GBIF portal, making it freely available for researcher and policy development across the globe. Biodiversity Maps provides an easy mechanism to ensure that biodiversity data from Ireland is available not just for national, but also international research and policy needs.

All of the data mapped on Biodiversity Maps has been verified and validated, so that it can serve as a trustworthy source of high quality data on Ireland's biodiversity. Despite this, it is inevitable that some errors remain, and where these are identified, they are corrected. The National Biodiversity Data Centre welcomes feedback from any user of Biodiversity Maps pointing out any potential error. These can be sent to info@biodiversityireland.ie.

The system has been developed on behalf of the Heritage Council and National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht.