Formulating implementing rules
Drafting teams have been set up by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) to prepare implementing rules for the five main elements of INSPIRE: that were defined in the Directive: ie. metadata, spatial data specification, network services and interoperability,data and
service sharing, and monitoring and reporting. The Commission recognises that the development of implementing rules to guide subsequent work in the member states will require the participation of a large number of stakeholders from different sectors of the GI community. To assist in the work of the drafting teams and to make the process as inclusive as possible the JRC is building up a network of Spatial Data Interest Communities (SDICs) throughout Europe. These SDICs are seen as bringing together ‘the human expertise of users, producers and transformers of spatial information, technical competence, financial resources and policies, with an interest to better use these resources for spatial data management and the development and operation of spatial information services’ (Annoni and Craglia 2005, 8). It is envisaged that these SDICs will work alongside the Legally Mandated Organisations (LMOs) who are formally involved with respect to one or more elements of INSPIRE implementation.
The reasoning behind the creation of these procedures is quite simple. The key to the successful implementation of INSPIRE, and SDIs in general, is networking. Because of the number of agencies involved in the case of INSPIRE proactive networking on an unprecedented scale is needed to make it possible for as many as possible of those who will be implementing INSPIRE to participate in the formulation of implementing rules. In this way the critical mass of committed users from all sectors of the GI community that is essential for its effective implementation will be created. However, it must be recognised that although the numbers of Spatial Data Interest Communities and Legally Mandated Organisations that are currently participating in INSPIRE are impressive, there may be still a long way to go before the interests of the majority of stakeholders are adequately represented. This will depend to a large extent on the efforts that are made by the national member states to ensure the active involvement of national and sub national bodies in the implementation of INSPIRE.
It must be borne in mind that the adoption of the INSPIRE Directive marks the beginning not the end of SDI implementation in Europe. INSPIRE is primarily an environmental initiative and work in other key fields such as transport, spatial planning and agriculture is still at the early stages of development. Nevertheless, INSPIRE can be used as a model for multi national SDI development for others to follow not only in Europe but elsewhere in the world.
The INSPIRE initiative highlights the importance of developing an overall legal framework for a supranational SDI that ensures the commitment of the national member states to the project. The same approach could be useful in large federal sates such as India where the number of stakeholders whose commitment is needed for the effective implementation of the national SDI is considerable. It also demonstrates the need for networking on a very substantial scale to mobilise the expertise that already exists in the national member states to develop implementing rules that are acceptable to the participants. As always, the devil is in the detail, but the prior commitment of the national member states to the principle should make the task of building a consensus more manageable.
* Annoni, A. and M. Craglia, 2005. Towards a Directive establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe (INSPIRE), Proc GSDI 8, Cairo, Egypt.
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