Terms commonly used in spatial data.

INSPIRE Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe – INSPIRE is the EC directive aimed at creating an infrastructure for geodata in Europe with focus on environmental issues.

For the purposes of INSPIRE directive, the following definitions shall apply:

Infrastructure for spatial information means metadata, spatial data sets and spatial data services; network services and technologies; agreements on sharing, access and use and coordination and monitoring mechanisms, processes and procedures, established, operated or made available in accordance with this Directive.

Spatial data means any data with a direct or indirect reference to a specific location or geographical area.

Spatial data set means an identifiable collection of spatial data.

Spatial data services means the operations which may be performed, by invoking a computer application, on the spatial data contained in spatial data sets or on the related metadata.

Spatial object means an abstract representation of a real world phenomenon related to a specific location or geographical area.

Metadata means information describing spatial datasets and spatial data services and making it possible to discover, inventory and use them.

Interoperability means the possibility for spatial data sets to be combined, and for services to interact, without repetitive manual intervention, in such a way that the result is coherent and the added value of the data sets and services is enhanced.

Inspire geo-portal means an Internet site, or equivalent, providing access to the services for discovery, view, download, transformation and invoke.

Discovery services

Making it possible to search for spatial data sets and services on the basis of the content of the corresponding metadata and to display the content of the metadata

View services

Making it possible, as a minimum, to display, navigate, zoom in/out, pan, or overlay viewable spatial data sets and to display legend information and any relevant content of metadata

Download services

Enabling copies of spatial data sets, or parts of such sets, to be downloaded and, where practicable, accessed directly

Transformation services

Enabling spatial data sets to be transformed with a view to achieving interoperability

Invoked services

Services allowing spatial data services to be invoked


Geoinformation is an abbreviation of geographic information. Geographic information is created by manipulating geographic (or spatial) data (generally known by the abbreviation geodata) in a computerized system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoinformation


Is the quality that allows one system to perform effectively and correctly as part of another system [GIDEON – The Dutch geodata strategy] (e.g. data from an external software package in an application)

It is possible to combine datasets so that services can work together. [The Swedish geodata strategy]


Are procedures or criterions the use of which has been agreed jointly by a group of people [GIDEON – The Dutch geodata strategy]


Distinct part of the functionality that is provided by an entity through interfaces [OGC]

Software program that supports cooperation between computers via a network. Services that are well/defined and independent communicate with each other and serve other functions, such as applications, via the Internet. Service can, for example, retrieve, compile and deliver geodata. [The Swedish geodata strategy]


Is information that describes data and services and makes it possible to find, evaluate and use the data. [The Swedish geodata strategy]


A geodata portal contains web-based services which make it easier for users to search for, locate, view and download geodata from different sources that are physically pleased in different environments. [The Swedish geodata strategy]

A portal is a website that acts as gateway providing a single access point to multiple resources. It is a web environment that allows an organization or a community of information users and providers to aggregate and share content. It is an organized collection of links to other sites. (Slovak)


Harmonisation is understood as providing access to data through interoperable network services that allows for combining spatial data in a coherent way

Harmonization is method of interoperability implementation according to metadata, spatial data and spatial data services.


E-governance is defined as the application of electronic information and communication techniques in public sector authorities in combination with organisational changes and improved human resource competence. The aim is to improve efficiency of public authorities and to increase the level of service to the general public and the private sector. [The Swedish geodata strategy]


Public sector e-services make it possible to carry out transactions at a public sector authority using, for example, Internet, mobile phones or advanced telephone services. [The Swedish geodata strategy]

Web Map Service (WMS)

WMS produces maps of georeferenced data. We define a “map” as a visual representation of geodata; a map is not the data itself. [OGC, WMS 1.1.1]

A service that can produce maps drawn into a standard image format (PNG, GIF, JPEG, etc) based on a standard set of input parameters. [GSDI Cookbook]

Web Feature Service (WFS)

A service that can describe data manipulation operations on OGC Simple Features (feature instances) such that servers and clients can “communicate” at the feature level. [GSDI Cookbook]

Web Coverage Server (WCS)

A service that supports the networked interchange of geo-spatial data as coverages containing values or properties of geographic locations. [GSDI Cookbook] [from OGC 02-024]