The EU’s infrastructure for spatial information (Inspire)
Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in the European Community (Inspire)
It lays down general rules setting up an infrastructure for spatial information* in Europe for the purposes of European Union (EU) environmental policies and for policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment.
The European infrastructure builds on that of spatial information that is established and operated by EU countries.
The legislation applies to spatial data that:
cover areas where EU countries have jurisdictional rights;
exist in electronic format;
are held by, or on behalf of, a public authority or another body using the network;
relate to environmental information.
EU countries are responsible for ensuring that metadata* are created for the various environmental spatial data* sets and services listed in the legislation. Depending on the subject, these must be established within 2 or 5 years of the rules coming into force.
The European Commission, assisted by a committee, adopts the technical arrangements to ensure spatial data sets and services can work together and harmonises them where this can be put into practice.
These implementing rules were to be adopted no later than 15 May 2009 or 15 May 2012, depending on the subject.
EU countries must establish and operate a network with the following services:
Discovery: to search for spatial data sets and services.
View: to display, navigate, zoom in and out, pan or overlay viewable spatial data sets.
Download: where this can be put into practice, to access directly and download copies of spatial data sets.
Transformation: to transform spatial data sets to achieve interoperability.
Public authorities must be able to link their spatial data sets and services to the national network.
EU countries may limit public access to spatial data sets and services for various reasons, such as legal confidentiality, public security, intellectual property rights or protection of the environment.
The Commission operates an EU Inspire geoportal. This gives access to the national networks.
The legislation does not require the collection of new spatial data.
In August 2016, the Commission published its report on implementation of the INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC). Together with this report, it presented a detailed evaluation which was carried out in the context of its Regulatory Fitness (REFIT) programme.
This evaluation has demonstrated that the INSPIRE directive is still largely fit-for purpose, but that further efforts are needed at EU and at EU country level to close the significant implementation gaps and to reap the benefits of the directive. Moreover, specific issues needing attention concern the data policy provisions (Article 17 of the directive) and requirements and use of some of the technical specifications in the implementing rules (including the streamlining of reporting).
As a consequence, the Commission has issued a number of recommendations and actions which it will now implement in close collaboration with the EU countries in a Maintenance and Implementation Work Programme 2016-2020.
Application & Background
It has applied since 15 May 2007. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 15 May 2009.
For more information, see:
‘Inspire Directive’ on the European Commission’s website.
Infrastructure for spatial information: covers 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.
Metadata: information describing spatial data sets and spatial data services, making it possible to discover, inventory and use them.
Spatial data: any data with direct or indirect reference to a specific location or geographical area, such as addresses, transport networks, elevation and land use.
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) (OJ L 108, 25.4.2007, pp. 1-14)
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 of 3 December 2008 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards metadata (OJ L 326, 4.12.2008, pp. 12-30).
Successive amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1205/2008 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Commission Decision 2009/442/EC of 5 June 2009 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards monitoring and reporting (OJ L 148, 11.6.2009, pp. 18-26).
See consolidated version
Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) (OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, pp. 19-40)
Commission Regulation (EC) No 976/2009 of 19 October 2009 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the Network Services (OJ L 274, 20.10.2009, pp. 9-18).
See consolidated version.
Commission Regulation (EU) No 268/2010 of 29 March 2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the access to spatial data sets and services of the Member States by Community institutions and bodies under harmonised conditions (OJ L 83, 30.3.2010, pp. 8-9)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 of 23 November 2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards interoperability of spatial data sets and services (OJ L 323, 8.12.2010, pp. 11-102).
See consolidated version.
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1088/2010 of 23 November 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 976/2009 as regards download services and transformation services (OJ L 323, 8.12.2010, pp. 1-10)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 102/2011 of 4 February 2011 amending Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards interoperability of spatial data sets and services (OJ L 31, 5.2.2011, pp. 13-34)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1253/2013 of 21 October 2013 amending Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC as regards interoperability of spatial data sets and services (OJ L 331, 10.12.2013, pp. 1-267)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1311/2014 of 10 December 2014 amending Regulation (EC) No 976/2009 as regards the definition of an Inspire metadata element (OJ L 354, 11.12.2014, pp. 6-7)
Commission Regulation (EU) No 1312/2014 of 10 December 2014 amending Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards interoperability of spatial data services (OJ L 354, 11.12.2014, pp. 8-16)
Directive 2012/18/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances, amending and subsequently repealing Council Directive 96/82/EC (OJ L 197, 24.7.2012, pp. 1-37)
Directive 2010/40/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2010 on the framework for the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems in the field of road transport and for interfaces with other modes of transport (OJ L 207, 6.8.2010, pp. 1-13)
Regulation (EU) No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the Copernicus Programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010 (OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, pp. 44-66)
Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning (OJ L 257, 28.8.2014, pp. 135-145)
European satellite monitoring programme (Copernicus): climate aspects
Copernicus is a civil programme that uses satellite technology to monitor the Earth. It provides reliable and up-to-date information on the state of our environment by regularly tracking changes in the atmosphere, oceans and land masses. The data are invaluable for tackling climate change, as well as for sectors as diverse as human health and tourism.
Regulation (EU) No 377/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 establishing the Copernicus programme and repealing Regulation (EU) No 911/2010.
It provides a legal framework for the Copernicus programme for 2014-2020, laying down operational rules and establishing its main objectives. Monitoring climate change is one of the six areas for which Copernicus’s services are specifically designed. The others are: land, marine and atmosphere monitoring, emergency response and a security service.
The climate change service provides information to support adaptation and mitigation policies to adjust to, and reduce the impact of, climate change.
It focuses on essential climate variables (ECVs), or indicators, such as temperature increases, sea level rise, ice-sheet melting and ocean warming.
It uses climate indices – based on temperature, precipitation and drought records – to identify climate drivers, model climate change scenarios and assess the impact on society.
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, under a November 2014 agreement with the Commission, implements the service.
It is due to reach operational capacity 3 years after the start of its activities.
Application & Background
From 1 January 2014.
The data Copernicus provides are used by policymakers and public authorities to develop environmental legislation and policies and to react to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. The findings are freely available, opening the door to business opportunities for European companies, especially SMEs.
For more information, see:
the Climate Change Service on the Copernicus website;
presentation on the Copernicus Climate Change Service on the Copernicus website.
Entry into force
Deadline for transposition in the Member States
Regulation (EU) No 377/2014
-OJ L 122, 24.4.2014, pp. 44-66
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