What is INSPIRE

INSPIRE is the Proposed European Commission Directive on European Spatial Data Infrastucture.

INSPIRE is the most recent in a long series of attempted EC Directives that have tried to establish a common framework for annotating and sharing geographic data between member states – a spatial data infrastructure. It emphasises the environmental reasons to share data between official agencies in different EC countries, rather than focusing on access to that data as a way of promoting wider involvement in civic issues.

INSPIRE also describes a set of implementing rules that member states MUST follow, except INSPIRE doesn’t describe these implementing rules; it just says that Member States will be obliged to follow them, once they are decided on. Given that the National mapping agencies have significant vested interests in applying copyright to their geospatial data, and influence in parliament, this is a potentially worrying aspect of the directive.

The InspireTimeline shows some key events in the life of INSPIRE as it has gone through the EU co-decision process. During its lifetime it has acquired an increased emphasis on licensing and copyright, even for viewing of data, and the essential data sets that it’s meant to cover have slowly been dropping away.

  • The InspireTimeline illustrates how some of the language has changed as it goes through the EU legislative process.

  • Status of INSPIRE in the OEIL legislation progress database

  • INSPIRE text with amendments on first reading