As part of the need to collect and assess soil data and information for Europe, the European Commission (EC) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) decided to establish a European Soil Data Centre (ESDAC), located at the EC¿s Joint Research Centre (JRC), as one of ten environmental data centres in Europe. Each environmental data centre acts as the primary data contact point for the EC¿s DG Environment in order to fulfil its information needs for a certain theme.
In the context of INSPIRE data specifications for the Annex-III theme SOIL, Member States need to come to a common position concerning such specifications through collaborative work between Legally Mandated Organizations (LMO) and the soil Spatial Data Interest Communities (SDIC). The EC, and therefore the ESDAC, is not formally required to take part in this process. However, if ESDAC wants to consolidate its role as a compiler and provider of European datasets, it is logical that it will interact with soil data players at national level and will try to influence any decisions on soil data representation in Europe. Therefore, ESDAC is keen on its participation in the INSPIRE Thematic Working Group (TWG) for the theme SOIL, which aims at delivering Data Specifications for SOIL that will be the basis for future European legally-binding Implementing Rules.
Since 2010, the TWG has been working on a general data model for soil, incorporating inputs from its members, after examining the INSPIRE Reference Material and User Requirements Survey related to soil, originating from voluntary web-based contributions from SDIC¿s and LMO¿s. This resulted in a first version of the model that integrates various aspects in relation to soil data: soil observations and measurements, soil profile data, soil mapping, soil contaminated sites. During 2011, the model will be revised, taking into account comments from a wide variety of INSPIRE stakeholders.
This paper provides some details on ESDAC, the INSPIRE process for soil data specifications and the current INSPIRE soil data model. It also outlines the agenda and the future developments that will need to take place to arrive at the final model that will serve as the basis for the Implementing Rules to be published as European legislation.