The Irish Spatial Data Exchange started life as the Marine Data Exchange project in 2004, when the Marine Institute made an initial submission for funding to the Information Society Fund.
The project concept came about following experiences gained in data management programmes in the Marine Institute, the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Environmental Protection Agency. In 2004, the Marine Institute launched Marine Data Online. This provided an online inventory of data holdings in the Marine Institute. It became apparent however that while this is a useful service that there is an assumption that users seeking marine related data would know where to look. While the Marine Institute holds significant amounts of marine data, so do the GSI, the EPA and 3rd level Education bodies. Similar issues exist when the EPA receives requests for 'environmental' data – it holds much of this data, but so too do the other agencies mentioned.
A refined Marine Data Exchange Proposal was submitted in March 2005 and funding for the project was approved in April 2005.
Software development for ISDE version 1.0 was completed in December 2005. The ISDE version 1.0 system was intended as a proof of concept. ISDE version 2.0 was developed in 2010 and the driver for the project has been to provide input to the Irish Spatial Data Initiative and to comply to the INSPIRE Directive.
ISDE version 2.0 software development commenced in 2010 with a redesign and update of the architecture to coincide with changes in OGC, ISO standards and the INSPIRE Directive.