ISA² - Interoperability solutions for public administrations, businesses and citizens

Enabling Digital Government through Geospatial and Location Intelligence ​

2016.10 European Location Interoperability Solutions for e-Government (ELISE)

When is this action of interest to you? 

This action targets those working in public administrations or private companies that deal with information, data, services and processes using the power of location.

What is this action about?

Location-related information underpins an increasingly high proportion of EU and national governmental policies, digital services and applications used by public administrations, companies and citizens. 

The ELISE Action is a package of legal, policy, organisational, semantic and technical interoperability solutions to facilitate more efficient and effective cross-border or cross-sector digital public services and processes involving location information and the insights gained from that information (location intelligence).

This Action supports Better Regulation and Digital Single Market Strategy goals, including specific actions of the e-Government Action Plan and the European Interoperability Framework, which are reinforced by the Tallinn Declaration vision and the Communications on Building the data economy and on Artificial Intelligence for Europe.

The ELISE action builds on the principles of the INSPIRE Directive which establishes an infrastructure for environmental spatial information in Europe, while continuing the work from two ISA Actions: the  European  Union  Location  Framework  (EULF), which developed and promoted a best practice policy and guidance framework, underpinned by INSPIRE, with pilots in different countries and thematic domains, and A  Reusable INSPIRE Reference Platform (ARe3NA), which facilitated INSPIRE implementation in Member States through the development of a structured implementation approach and body of reusable interoperability solutions.

ELISE continues this work by fostering the adoption of best practice location interoperability solutions across the EU supporting the digital transformation of public services.


ELISE is reinforcing the ‘location enablement’ of government and supporting the drive to ‘location intelligence’

What are the objectives?

ELISE aims to break down barriers and promote a coherent and consistent approach to the sharing and reuse of location data across sectors and borders, in the context of the digital transformation of public services. 

This is being done through four pillars:

  • Studies: carrying out studies and reports to assess enablers and barriers of location interoperability, examining the role of location information in the digital transformation of government and the data economy, assessing the implications of relevant policies (e.g. PSI, GDPR), and investigating disruptive technological developments for publishing, finding and using location data, addressing topics such as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Frameworks and Solutions: developing a framework of guidelines, recommendations and reusable tools to enable location interoperability, building on EULF and ARe3NA, and expanding into new business models and technologies for data exchange, transformative solutions with location intelligence capabilities, and ethical handling of data.
  • Applications: developing pilots and applications to test principles in practice, offer lessons and resources for others to build upon, provide the basis for a widespread rollout, and show the benefits of location interoperability. These pilots support either pan-European reference data solutions (e.g. gazetteer services) or domain-specific applications (e.g. Energy Efficiency of Buildings and Intelligent Transport Systems).
  • Geo Knowledge Base Service: including landscape analysis through a Location Information Framework Observatory (LIFO), knowledge transfer and capacity building, as well as stakeholder support to help improve and implement location interoperability and digital government. 

The ISA² Working Group on Geospatial Solutions plays a vital advisory and facilitating role on the priorities and content in the ELISE work programme and in disseminating results. Actions are endorsed by the Working Group and, indeed, several of them have been put forward by Working Group representatives. Working Group members make direct contributions on specific ELISE topics through a series of User Panels.

What are the benefits?

Benefits delivered through ELISE include:

  • Cost and time savings by reusing cost-efficient solutions and avoiding duplicated or unnecessary effort, e.g. in data procurement, application development and service delivery.
  • More effective and usable public digital services, through sharing best practices, fostering collaboration, and highlighting optimal business models, processes and technologies.
  • Financial benefits for private sector companies in reusing public sector location data and participating in joint initiatives.
  • Better support to the Policy Lifecycle and analysis through cohesive application of location information at the early policy stages.
  • Improved spatial awareness and analytical skills for Organisation to make best use of available data.

What is already available?


ELISE studies explore the role of location information in digital government and the technologies involved in delivering innovative public services. They include use cases from different member states to illustrate the topic under consideration and highlight best practices. Available studies include:

Frameworks and Solutions

ELISE has developed a framework of guidance and reusable tools for implementing and enabling geospatial interoperability, building on the initial work of EULF and ARe3NA, and evolving to address the implications of new policies and technologies. Available tools and solutions include:

  • The European Union Location Framework (EULF) Blueprint, a guidance framework for location enabling digital government, with recommendations, action checklists and examples of best practices in five focus areas. The Blueprint also contains role-based views of the guidance framework for different actors, e.g. policy maker, data scientist. The Blueprint guidance is available both as a document and as structured on-line checklists in Joinup. Recommendations in the Blueprint are used to scope indicators in the Location Information Framework Observatory (LIFO). The Blueprint is available for Member States to reuse in preparing their location strategies or location interoperability frameworks.
  • Detailed guidance documents are available on selected topics covered within the Blueprint:
  • The Re3gistry is a reusable open-source solution for managing and sharing ‘reference codes’. Licensed under the EUPL, it can be deployed or further developed for any sector wanting to have authentic reference data/codes made available for information systems and human users.
  • The INSPIRE Reference Validator supports INSPIRE implementers in validating their different resources (datasets, metadata and services) with ETF testing framework software, Abstract Test Suites and Executable Test Suites, together with a dedicated helpdesk.


ELISE has contributed to the development of pilots and applications in two main areas, Energy Efficiency and EU Gazetteer services. Both activities followed on from initial work in the EULF action.  

ELISE Energy pilot activities involve definition and execution of a series of use cases, aimed at developing reusable approaches and demonstrating the added value of geospatial data supporting the aims of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive. The use cases are related to:

  • The assessment of energy performance of buildings using 3D buildings data and energy consumption dynamic data.
  • Use of digital platforms for the smart management of public lighting.
  • The development of a regional energy strategy, and
  • The reuse in other countries of a methodology developed previously in Italy to harmonise Energy Performance Certificates of buildings.

The EU gazetteer concept was investigated in a feasibility study under the ELISE action. ELISE followed with a survey that confirmed likely needs and available data. Candidate open data solutions were identified from DG ESTAT and EuroGeographics, alongside existing wholly community-sourced solutions. An evaluation project is now underway which is focusing on particular use cases and how available open gazetteer solutions can support them. The project has:

  • Added open address data from six countries to the DG ESTAT OpenStreetMap based service, transformed to the Nominatim format.
  • Defined requirements and built a ‘cultural heritage’ testbed for evaluation purposes.
  • Opened evaluation facilities for other use cases.

Geo knowledge base service

The ELISE Geo Knowledge Base Service fosters the reusability of solutions in the context of location interoperability. Moreover, the underlying approach explores how knowledge about (location) interoperability can be represented and shared with different stakeholders, including the pilot/application methodologies.

EU-wide landscape analysis is being carried out through the Location Interoperability Framework Observatory (LIFO), a tool to monitor and report on the state of play of location data in Member States' digital government programmes. LIFO is a domain-specific observatory complementing the National Interoperability Framework Observatory (NIFO).

The LIFO is based on an analytical model looking at adoption of the recommendations in the EULF Blueprint. Data collection for the assessment is carried out using an EU Survey questionnaire. The LIFO is being implemented progressively. 11 Member States are participating in Wave 1 in 2019. Remaining Member States will be included in 2020.

Outputs include country factsheets and an overall EU state of play report. In 2020, online business intelligence tools will be introduced to provide breakdowns and comparisons, and graphical representations of results.

Knowledge transfer and capacity building is undertaken by ELISE in a number of ways, including videos, webinars, online guidance, training materials, presentations and workshops. A recent focus has been the development of ‘rapid studies’ each with a supporting webinar, providing a rolling programme for those wishing to follow latest developments in the field. Topics covered have included:

  • The role of SDI for digital government transformation.
  • Governance models, ecosystems and benefits of APIs.
  • Persistent identifiers as the glue for linking information infrastructures.
  • Geospatial technology and public participation.

Other activities have included:

  • Updating the INSPIRE implementation and use vocabularies.
  • Developing a geospatial primer and workshop pack for ‘syndicated learning’.
  • Developing a video on the EULF Blueprint.
  • Engaging on possible contribution to the Digital Innovation Hubs.

What are the next steps?

In the remainder of the work programme (2020/2021), ELISE will consolidate previous work, initiate selected new activities and assess impacts within the EU Member States. This will include considering actions in the context of possible transition to the Digital Europe Programme (DEP). Planned activities include:

  • Continued support to the implementation and take-up of ELISE solutions, including the Re3gistry and Validator
  • Consolidation of results from the Pilot on the Energy Performance of Buildings
  • Completio of a study assessing digital government transformation (DIGIGOV), which has developed a conceptual framework outlining the drivers and barriers to public-sector innovation in a data-driven society and is exploring a series of use cases to validate and illustrate the framework
  • A new study on data ecosystems for geospatial data, which will explore the future of SDIs in the context of European data spaces, platform-based business models and services, and INSPIRE
  • A feasibility study investigating the use of standards-based APIs (OGC API, SensorThings API) for accessing INSPIRE data
  • A new study to understand the ‘location intelligence’ landscape in the public sector, including the use of AI for decision-making and the technologies deployed
  • A new activity led by DG AGRI and DG GROW to develop a prototype Farm Sustainability Tool involving space and ground-based data, which will be used for decision support by public administrations and the farming community
  • Wave 2 of the LIFO assessment, providing an EU-wide state of play, supported by new analytical tools
  • Continued knowledge transfer and capacity building activities, including supporting reuse of materials, increasing the online presence on Joinup to help promote outputs, and interaction with the Interoperability Academy action on digital skills
  • Consolidation of ELISE results to create policy-relevant outputs and organisation of a two-day conference that will help validate these outputs before the action’s closure