INSPIRE progress in Europe

The recent version of Geoinformatics brings a valuable summary of how things are going in Europe within the framework of the INSPIRE initiative, which last June held the annual conference in Edinburgh. All reports by country are available per year, but this article is an interesting approximation to the scope of the year 2010, reading it allows you to see a global perspective of what can be done in the field of Spatial Data Infrastructures with a regional perspective .

inspire It becomes valuable a pair of comparative graphs of the article, where Spain takes a pair of recognitions; despite the disparity of its context with other countries less "complicated" in size, legislation and institutional culture.

The INSPIRE directive (INfraestructure for SPattial InfoRmation in Europa) is an astral smoke, which takes several years but starts in implementation from 2007 under the 2007 / 2 / EC directive. Its aspiration is for the year 2019 to approve the legislation, regulations and accessibility infrastructure to spatial data for its optimal use in the development of policies for the European region. Initially addressed to the 27 member states, without preventing an impact that was expected, because now there are at least 7 states (Candidates to the EU and EFTA) that are also implementing the process and even participating very actively for a total sum of 34.

This type of approach has been seen in other regions of the world, including in the Americas. However, to see what INSPIRE has achieved, considering the complexity of these projects, it shows that there is an arduous work done.

The analysis of Geoinformatics includes a review in six aspects:

  • Technicians (Data, Metadata and Services) and non-technical (organization, legal issues and financing).

Although each report is based on a unified comparative matrix that includes 9 aspects:

inspire europe

Legal framework and funding

INSPIRE annex data


Network Services

Thematic data of the environment

National geoportal


Coordination and organization

Use and efficiency of the NSDI

A graph appears at the beginning of the report, marking in green the aspects that have had the greatest change since the last monitoring with respect to the aspects previously listed.
It should not be a simple task, considering that countries need to take the guidelines to state policies and then give a follow-up that goes beyond the canons accepted until a few years ago in the geospatial issue. In this case, the role of the national mapping agencies, such as the cases of Geographic Institutes, has had to adapt to the new trends -which the Cadastro 2014 document already said- regarding public-private links. Let's not say the change in the legislation of territories that feel that their autonomy is being violated or seemingly unnecessary norms are imposed on them.

The case of Spain is mentioned positively by the effort made in linking local governments. France and Italy are also mentioned although the merit is taken by Denmark, which, well, has a rather particular territorial and cultural context; the 90% of its municipalities are very integrated to the process. And I mention the context because it hardly has 98 municipalities, which is like the 1% of those that Spain has.

Beyond the Geoinformatics article there is much to learn from the different reports of each country, that despite the fact that the advance format is based on the uniform matrix, each country has lessons to contribute. For this case, the Belgian report, which includes precision tolerances for maps at different scales, is striking, as are the different interagency models, which in some cases include diagrams such as the case of Cyprus and Norway.

Another aspect in which Spain stands out is in the availability of services. Although the Geoportal is not obligatory, the report reflects that at least 18 countries have a prototype IDEE portal. Here Lithuania and France stand out, and emphasis is placed on the case of Spain where there is said to be involvement of 7 ministries, 16 regions, 400 municipalities, 833 WMS services, 205 WFS and 9 CSW.

inspire europe

In conclusion, INSPIRE is a clear example of the regional effort for interoperability. PrintAlthough it is questionable the limitation of some contexts that do not see quick results, the disparities between countries with cumbersome legislative processes (officials or politicians who do not understand the subject), limitations of physical infrastructure, is to evaluate the systematic work.

Processes like this are invaluable opportunities for the sustainability of the business model in the geospatial field. Both the companies that produce software that consider this region one of its best markets, as well as the service providers that tend to be behind, and the OpenSource model that hammers with to gain market space and here you have things to say in terms of collaborative value or defense standards.

If I am in a municipality with territorial isolation and terrible connectivity, I will not find any sense in this inspiration. However, we must read between the lines, because we are talking about a context where irreversible tendencies will be marked; Understanding this model allows us to agree with strategies of geospatial inventiveness (such as Bentley hypermodels, ArcGIS for inspire and CityGML, to give three examples).

Here you can see all INSPIRE reports

Here you can see the report of Geoinformatics

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