INSPIRE (Infrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe initiative) is an initiative started, developed and adopted by the European Union on 14. March 2007, in cooperation with member states and associated states.

Directive’s purposes is definition of the basic regulations aimed at implementing spatial information infrastructure in the European Union, for the purposes of Union’s ecological policies and policies that may affect the environment.

The need for INSPIRE directive arouse due to general situation and undefined regulations regarding spatial data in Europe. Present situation on spatial data in Europe is characterized by the following:

  • Dispersion and the lack of appropriate data availability,
  • Lack of harmonization between data of different geographic scales,
  • Acquisition redundancy,
  • Insufficient use of standards (incompatible data and information systems, data dispersion and overlapping),
  • Lack of coordination between administrative levels responsible for data acquisition,
  • Lack of appropriate data,
  • Restrictions regarding data distribution (copyrights, data access, fees, etc.).

The above mentioned factors encumber identification, access and use of the existing data.

INSPIRE directive is aimed at implementing infrastructure for European spatial information, offering an integrated spatial information service to final users. This service should enable users to identify and access spatial or geographic information from a variety of sources, from local to global level, in an inter-functional manner used by a myriad of clients.

The aim is to make relevant quality geographic data accessible, making a basis for gradual implementation of a harmonized spatial data structure, aimed at formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation during decision making processes on EU level, from a territorial influence aspect.

The INSPIRE is an interesting model for developing not only a technological infrastructure, but also shared practices and working methods, through collaboration and partnership.

Spatial data infrastructure should be established with respect of following INSPIRE principles:

  • Data should be gathered once (from single source) and maintained at level where this can be done most effectively,
  • Combination of seamless spatial data from different European sources should be enabled, distributed between users and applications,
  • Information should be gathered at one level of government and shared between all levels,
  • Spatial data necessary for efficient administration should not be made available only if their mass use is limited
  • It is necessary to enable easy access to available spatial data, assessment of whether they are appropriate for use and goal achievement, together with facilitating conditions for their acquisition and further use,
  • Geographic data should be simple to understand and interpret since they will be combined in an appropriate manner, allowing visualization in certain contexts, adjusted to suit the users.

Spatial datasets in the context of directive must be in a digital form, be the property of a public authorities regarding one or several of themes which are presented in the annexes.

Spatial data themes, as defined by the INSPIRE directive:

Annex I

  1. Coordinate reference systems
  2. Geographical grid systems
  3. Geographical names
  4. Administrative units
  5. Addresses
  6. Cadastral parcels
  7. Transport networks
  8. Hydrography
  9. Protected sites

Annex II

  1. Elevation
  2. Land cover
  3. Orthoimagery
  4. Geology

Annex III

  1. Statistical units
  2. Buildings
  3. Soil
  4. Land use
  5. Human health and safety
  6. Utility and governmental services
  7. Environmental monitoring facilities
  8. Production and industrial facilities
  9. Agricultural and aquaculture facilities
  10. Population distribution — demography
  11. Area management/restriction/regulation zones and reporting units
  12. Natural risk zones
  13. Atmospheric conditions
  14. Meteorological geographical features
  15. Oceanographic geographical features
  16. Sea regions
  17. Bio-geographical regions
  18. Habitats and biotopes
  19. Species distribution
  20. Energy resources
  21. Mineral resources

INSPIRE directive, Impementation rules, data specification and other documents you can download on the Documents page.