The recently published Joint EEA-JRC mid-term evaluation report on INSPIRE implementation finds that satisfactory progress has been made, and that INSPIRE is being implemented across the EU and beyond, but that work still remains to be done, particularly regarding coordination and data sharing.
The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) Directive, which came into force in 2007 and is expected to be fully implemented by 2020, aims to create an infrastructure for sharing spatial data and services in Europe that will support environmental and related policies. Its five main objectives are to:
- Document spatial data and services
- Establish more internet-based services
- Facilitate access to spatial data by improving interoperability
- Arrange for public authorities to have better access to spatial data and services
- Improve the structures for the coordination of spatial information
Progress on the first three objectives has been good, but has been less marked for the final two. Documentation has improved considerably, internet-based services have been set up, interoperability is improving, and high-resolution imagery is more widely available. However, poor access to and interoperability of data are still major constraints, national barriers between countries need to be overcome, and coordination needs to be improved at all levels.
The main obstacles to the implementation of INSPIRE are its technical complexity, communication and coordination. The report addresses proposed follow-up actions, including simplified data sharing, awareness raising, training improved coordination and communication between stakeholders, and greater participation of the private sector.