The European Directive establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) [2] was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on the 25th of April 2007. It entered into force twenty days later. By the 15th of May 2009, member states had to design and implement some administrative and legislative corpus to comply with its clauses.

The Directive scope includes any dataset with a social usefulness, which possesses a geographic extent or is related to some geographic location (which is the way “spatial” must be understood in this context). Its double objective is to harmonise such datasets over the European continent and to make them available to the community (citizens, administrations, agencies, universities, research institutions, hospitals, doctors, policy makers, etc.) all over Europe, through a network of information facilities.

The targeted “data themes” are listed and grouped in three annexes to the Directive. They encompass subject matters as diverse in nature as, for example, postal addresses, transport networks, epidemiology, biotopes... Items 13, 14 and 15 of Annex III are respectively entitled “atmospheric conditions”, “meteorological geographical features” and "oceanographic geographic features".

The INSPIRE Directive itself does not include any practical consideration regarding the way in which data must be made available, but rather foresees the upcoming definition of implementing rules (IR) in a series of follow-up regulations and decisions tackling particular practical aspects of datasets, associated services and distribution rules. Implementing rules are complemented by a set of technical guidelines, data specifications and other guidance documents. Services set up to assist users in finding, visualising or accessing data must meet particular characteristics in order to be considered INSPIRE-compliant. INSPIRE identifies and defines five types of such network services : discovery, view, invoke, download, transformation. Each dataset reported by a member state as being available through the INSPIRE network is meant to have at least one network service of each kind associated to it.

INSPIRE implementing rules regarding the following topics have been published.

Metadata - Definition of high level ("discovery") metadata.
December 2008 Metadata Regulation [3]
December 2009 Corrigendum to Metadata Regulation [6]
Monitoring and reporting - How EU member states are expected to monitor INSPIRE implementation and report to the EC about this implementation.
June 2009 Monitoring and Reporting Decision [4]
Network services - Minimal requirements expected from network services in terms of performance, capacity, availability, types of operations.
October 2009 Network Services Regulation [5]
December 2010 Download and Transformation Services Regulation [8]
Data and service sharing
March 2010 Data and Service Sharing Regulation [7]
Interoperability of data and services
December 2010 Interoperability Regulation [9]
February 2011 First regulation amending the Interoperability Regulation [10]
December 2013 Second regulation amending the Interoperability Regulation [11]

INSPIRE in relation to Copernicus

The relationship between the INSPIRE initiative and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) European Programme, meanwhile rebaptized Copernicus, is stated explicitly among the preliminary considerations of the Directive. It is expected that the two initiatives will be mutually beneficial, and the INSPIRE Directive is seen as “adding value” to the 2004-2008 Action Plan to establish a GMES capacity in Europe [1]. It was therefore required from projects funded through the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) and contributing to the elaboration of the Copernicus services to set up utilities and deliver products that complied with INSPIRE specifications.

INSPIRE and PAMIR

The objective of the PAMIR project is to set up harmonised procedures to validate and document atmospheric and oceanographic datasets. PAMIR fits into the INSPIRE framework insofar as it deals with data themes listed in Annex III to the INSPIRE directive, aims at harmonisation and is concernend with metadata. In developing its various components, the project will therefore endeavour to comply with INSPIRE relevant requirements. In particular, the output of the PAMIR metadata scheme, in addition to meeting the data users' requirements, will comply with the INSPIRE Metadata Regulation [3]. It is not the aim of PAMIR, however, to answer all the additional INSPIRE requirements in terms of data availability and network services. Finally, a role of the project will be to interact with the INSPIRE designers with a view to integrate to the INSPIRE theoretical framework more adequate ways to describe typically 4-dimensional data and account for data quality.

Further reading

Additional information about the INSPIRE Directive and its implementation, including the complete set of relevant legislative texts, instructions on how to register as an INSPIRE stakeholder and take part to INSPIRE consultations is available from the INSPIRE website.

References

  1. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES): Establishing a GMES capacity by 2008 – (Action Plan (2004-2008)), COM (2004) 65, 23 pp., Brussels, Belgium, February 3, 2004.
  2. Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) (“INSPIRE Directive”), Official Journal of the European Union, April 25, 2007.
  3. Commission Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 of 3 December 2008 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards metadata (“INSPIRE Metadata Regulation”), Official Journal of the European Union, December 4, 2008.
  4. Commission Decision of 5 June 2009 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards monitoring and reporting (“INSPIRE Monitoring and Reporting Decision”), Document Number C(2009) 4199, Official Journal of the European Union, June 11, 2009.
  5. Commission Regulation (EC) No 976/2009 of 19 October 2009 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the Network Services (“INSPIRE Network Services Regulation”), Official Journal of the European Union, October 20, 2009.
  6. Corrigendum to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 of 3 December 2008 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards metadata, Official Journal of the European Union, December 15,2009.
  7. Commission Regulation (EU) No 268/2010 of 29 March 2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the council as regards the access to spatial data sets and services of the Member States by Community institutions and bodies under harmonised conditions (“INSPIRE Data and Service Sharing Regulation”), Official Journal of the European Union, March 30, 2010.
  8. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1088/2010 of 23 November 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 976/2009 as regards download services and transformation services (“INSPIRE Download and Transformation Services Regulation”), Official Journal of the European Union, December 8, 2010.
  9. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 of 23 November 2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards interoperability of spatial data sets and services (“INSPIRE Interoperability Regulation”), Official Journal of the European Union, December 8, 2010.
  10. Commission Regulation (EU) No 102/2011 of 4 February 2011 amending Regulation
    (EU) No 1089/2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament
    and of the Council as regards interoperability of spatial data sets and services, Official Journal of the European Union, February 4, 2011.
  11. COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 1253/2013 of 21 October 2013 amending Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC as regards interoperability of spatial data sets and services, Official Journal of the European Union, December 10, 2013.
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