INSPIRE: an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe to support Community environmental policies© EU
INSPIRE: the EU's environmental information all on the same page
The European Union has launched a public consultation on INSPIRE, the Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe. With INSPIRE, the EU is creating a common standard for spatial environmental information. Relevant bodies in different countries will be able to access the same information to deal with emergencies such as forest fires or cross border rescue operations. A homogeneous data system will also be important to prevent environmental damage and reduce energy consumption.
For example, it is estimated that today the error margin in calculating energy consumption in buildings can reach 20%. With a homogeneous system for collecting and classifying relevant data, this margin would be greatly reduced. Access to a standardized spatial database can also be crucial in improving success rates in dealing with emergencies: today, reports of rescue teams being delayed because of lack of accessible, comparable and updated data are not uncommon.
More than 650 public and private organizations - coordinated by the JRC - are contributing to INSPIRE with material and expertise. Hundreds of experts from across Europe have been working together for several years to agree on common definitions covering 25 themes, including land cover, buildings, soil, land-use, energy, health and safety. EU citizens can have their say on these specifications until 21 October 2011.