The INT/WFC Photometric Hα Survey of the Northern Galactic Plane (IPHAS) is a 1800 deg2 imaging survey covering Galactic latitudes |b| < 5° and longitudes ℓ = 30°–215° in the r, i, and Hα filters using the Wide Field Camera (WFC) on the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) in La Palma. We present the first quality-controlled and globally calibrated source catalogue derived from the survey, providing single-epoch photometry for 219 million unique sources across 92 per cent of the footprint. The observations were carried out between 2003 and 2012 at a median seeing of 1.1 arcsec (sampled at 0.33 arcsec pixel−1) and to a mean 5σ depth of 21.2 (r), 20.0 (i), and 20.3 (Hα) in the Vega magnitude system. We explain the data reduction and quality control procedures, describe and test the global re-calibration, and detail the construction of the new catalogue. We show that the new calibration is accurate to 0.03 mag (root mean square) and recommend a series of quality criteria to select accurate data from the catalogue. Finally, we demonstrate the ability of the catalogue's unique (r − Hα, ri) diagram to (i) characterize stellar populations and extinction regimes towards different Galactic sightlines and (ii) select and quantify Hα emission-line objects. IPHAS is the first survey to offer comprehensive CCD photometry of point sources across the Galactic plane at visible wavelengths, providing the much-needed counterpart to recent infrared surveys.

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