30 Jun 2014

Public consultation on sharing spatial information in Europe shows benefits and obstacles

Earth observation illustration
Sharing of spatial data related to environment is key to designing efficient policies
© EU

Better data retrieval and access, greater interoperability of data and improved coordination across the EU top the list of benefits perceived by both data producers and users of spatial information on the environment. Key changes suggested refer to improving communication and coordination, and to reducing the complexity of technical specifications as much as possible.

These are some of the findings of a public consultation carried out by the JRC and the European Commission's Directorate General Environment (DG ENV) to support a mid-term evaluation of the 2007 INSPIRE Directive which sets the guidelines for the sharing of spatial data for environmental policies and the creation of a pan-European platform by 2020. INSPIRE stands for Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community.

The results of the consultation were presented at the 8th annual INSPIRE Conference, organised by the JRC, DG ENV and the European Environment Agency, which took place from 16 to 20th June in Aalborg, Denmark. Over 550 participants, from 44 countries, came together to discuss their different national INSPIRE implementation strategies and initiatives.

In its role as technical coordinator of the INSPIRE Directive, the JRC carried out the public consultation with a survey on the experience of producers and users of spatial data. The survey took place in late 2013 and early 2014. According to the 700 questionnaires returned, the INSPIRE Directive is seen to be starting to address key barriers that prevent the efficient sharing and use of spatial information. Respondents estimated that progress has been made in documenting data and making them available through web services. The survey also highlighted the delays incurred by Member States’ public administrations in putting measures in place to improve data sharing.

JRC Institutes