This market report was written and reviewed by members of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to provide a simple guide to the EU INSPIRE Directive and Implementing Rules from an open standards perspective. Additionally, this report provides an overview of the role that OGC, CEN and ISO standards play in helping public sector bodies across Europe meet their obligations to implement the INSPIRE Directive and Implementing Rules. The audience consists of any person with geospatial policy responsibilities in an INSPIRE stakeholder organization.
The INSPIRE Directive introduces general rules to establish an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe. These rules are related to community environmental policies and policies or activities which impact on the environment. The Directive is taken up and followed by Legally Mandated Organisations (LMOs) operated by the Member States and Spatial Data Interest Communities (SDICs) across Europe. The Directive does not require the collection of new spatial data and aims to improve access to and sharing of spatial data held by or on behalf of a public authority in Europe. There are 34 Spatial Data Themes laid down in 3 Annexes and the Directive entered into force 15 May 2007.
INSPIRE is a Framework Directive where detailed technical provisions are laid down in Implementing Rules relating to a number of technical and policy areas, i.e. metadata, interoperability of spatial data sets and services, network services (discovery, view, download, invoke), data and service sharing (policy) and coordination and measures for monitoring and reporting. Once adopted, the Implementing Rules become European legislative acts and national law in 27 Member States and also in some EFTA countries, such as Switzerland and Norway.
There is an important distinction to be made regarding those aspects and documents that are legally binding and those that are not. The Implementing Rules are legally binding, but do not make any explicit reference to any standards or technologies. Technical Guidance documents accompanying the Implementing Rules are not legally binding documents and provide the necessary implementation details. Technical guidance documents reference OGC, ISO and other standards.
Overview and Scope reprinted with permission, OGC.