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Infrastructure for Spatial Information (INSPIRE)

The European Union (EU) establishes INSPIRE, whose purpose is to make it possible for harmonised spatial and environmental information. This information is available on-line.

ACT

Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE).

SUMMARY

This Directive lays down the rules for establishing, within the European Union (EU), an Infrastructure for Spatial Information (INSPIRE) whose purpose is to make it possible for interoperable spatial and environmental data and services related to these data to be exchanged, shared, accessed and used. INSPIRE aims to coordinate users and suppliers of information in such a way that information originating from different sectors will be combined and disseminated.

INSPIRE deals with spatial information such as environmental observations, statistics, etc. that are held in electronic form by or on behalf of public authorities and concern the areas where a Member State has or exercises a jurisdictional right. The information covers themes such as administrative borders, air, soil and water quality observations, biodiversity, land use, transport networks, hydrography, altitude, geology, population and species distribution, habitats, industrial facilities and natural risk zones (for the complete list, see Annexes I, II and III to the Directive).

This information should be accompanied by complete metadata * on, inter alia, the conditions under which targeted spatial information can be accessed and used, the quality and validity of such information, limitations on public access and the public authorities in charge of that information.

To make sure that this information is interoperable, the Commission must establish implementing rules no later than 15 May 2009 or 15 May 2012 (for information corresponding to Annex I, or Annex II and III, respectively). New spatial information must conform with these implementing rules within two years of their adoption, and existing information within seven years. The implementing rules must include the definition and classification of spatial objects relevant to the information covered in this Directive, and the ways in which those data are geo-referenced.

Member States will make network services available to users so that they will be able to search for, view and download spatial information. These services will be accessible via an INSPIRE geo-portal managed by the Commission at Community level, and possibly via additional access points operated by the Member States. A fee may be charged for some services. Member States may limit public access to spatial information when such access could have an adverse effect on international relations, public security, national defence, the confidentiality of the proceedings of public authorities, the confidentiality of certain commercial or industrial information, intellectual property rights, personal data or environmental protection.

Member States must share the data in their possession and allow public authorities to access, exchange and use those data for public tasks that may have an impact on the environment. A fee may be charged for access, except for information required to fulfil reporting obligations under Community legislation. Member States may limit such access when it could obstruct the course of justice or adversely affect public security, national defence or international relations.

INSPIRE will be coordinated by the Commission at EU level and by appropriate structures and mechanisms designated by the Member States at their level.

The Member States and the Commission must prepare reports by 15 May 2010 and 15 May 2014, respectively, on the content and implementation of INSPIRE.

Key terms used in the act
  • Metadata: information describing spatial data sets and spatial data services and making it possible to search for, inventory and use them.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2007/2/EC

15.5.2007

15.5.2009

OJ L 108 of 25.4.2007

RELATED ACTS

Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010 on the European Earth monitoring programme (GMES) and its initial operations (2011-2013) [Official Journal L 276 of 20.10.2010].
The GMES system is a network for collecting and disseminating information concerning the environment and security obtained from monitoring the Earth from space and in-situ. This system will assist decision-making by public and private authorities in Europe and support research.

Last updated: 02.09.2011
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