Along with large-scale pilots in the European Union Location Framework (EULF), ARE3NA is working in different activities to promote the reuse of INSPIRE’s technical and semantic interoperability solutions. This includes profiles to reuse INSPIRE metadata in open portals (enhancing data discoverability and reuse) and creating new ways to make use of INSPIRE data models, for example in the RDF/linked data world of the semantic web. Work has also explored how data models can be reused in other sectors and how INSPIRE components (standards, specifications and technologies) could be used for other forms of data-sharing, including with citizens.
EIF interoperability level
INSPIRE resources are intended mainly for data exchange between public administrations working on environmental policy and management. The development of the infrastructure and the breadth of the 34 data themes the INSPIRE Directive covers mean there is great potential to build on and reuse the data-sharing and harmonisation investments by the Member States in INSPIRE in other sectors. Through the work in ARE3NA we explore how INSPIRE components (data, services, metadata etc.) and their related interoperability assets/solutions could be adopted by other policy or sectors beyond the environment.
The reuse of INSPIRE not only deals with reusing the data packaged in the services the Directive has defined but also the consideration for sharing INSPIRE content in different ways, by other sectors' standards, continuing the open approach of the EC and Member States.
Currently, INSPIRE's network services use the geospatial OGC standards but there are opportunities to share such data that go beyond the pure geospatial technologies approach, including the standards of the Web, es[ecially the work of the W3C in the semantic world and the collaboration in the OGC and W3C Spatial Data on the Web Working Group. In addition, the increased interest in Open Data (and related data portals) offers opportunities for innovation in data products and potentially easier data exchange in terms of licensing.
In order to explore what is 'reusable' from INSPIRE a couple of cases are explored through ARE3NA, including the mapping of INSPIRE to the frameworks and architectures of ISA, such as the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) and Reference Architecture (EIRA) and the further relationship to (open) geospatial data created by citizens through Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI). Similarly, the reuse of data models in other sectors is of interest, including an example of using INSPIRE for protecting critical infrastructures in cross-border areas and exploring the potential use of INSPIRE's approach in public health data-sharing. This work follows on from early examples in ISA, including the development of the Core Location Vocabulary.
The main area of work that ARE3NA is exploring in this context is the representation of INSPIRE data and metadata as Linked Data and related technologies. Specifically, three main areas of work are taking place:
- The representation (and possible reuse) of INSPIRE metadata (i.e. details of INSPIRE datasets held in geoportals) as content for Open Data portals, following ISA's developments of DCAT-AP to have a specific profile for geospatial data, GeoDCAT-AP.
- The representation (and a possible new encoding) of INSPIRE data as Linked Data, in particular the representation of INSPIRE data in RDF and guidance on the governance of persistent identifiers (PIDs) for location data.
- The sharing of semantic assets, such as reference codes and other material in RDF (alongside other formats) through the development in ARE3NA of the open source Re3gistry software that powers the INSPIRE Registry
More information on these solutions is provided below.
A number of activities took place to explore the reuse of INSPIRE metadata in open data portals, including wide consultation with experts in the Member States. This led to work to create a new profile specifically for geospatial data's metadata in open data portals, GeoDCAT-AP in collaboration with SEMIC (ISA Action 1.1). The profile both reuses metadata elements defined in INSPIRE and additional information from ISO 19115:2003. This work has also been put into practical experiments, allowing metadata from the INSPIRE Geoportal to be reused. The following details provide information about the experiments and the current version of the profile:
- Specification of GeoDCAT-AP
- Experimental conversion tool for GeoDCAT-AP available online now
- Sandbox and XSLT
2. INSPIRE and Linked Data
The work on representing INSPIRE data followed two phases. The first phase involved a state-of-play review of linked geospatial data; the creation of a draft methodology to produce INSPIRE data in RDF and guidance on the governance issues related to PIDs. A second phase is now underway where ARE3NA will put the results of the first phase into practice through pilots.
Phase I: RDF and PID Guidance (2014-2015)
The initial work in 2014 on RDF and PIDs focussed on gathering information about this topic and working with experts to define possible approaches. Consultation with stakeholders was important for scoping this work and a range of outputs were produced, including draft guidelines:
- RDF and PIDs for Location: Preliminary results
- RDF and PIDs for Location: State-of-Play presentation
- Study on RDF & PIDs for INSPIRE: State-of-Play
- Governance of Persistent Identifiers
- Guidelines on methodologies for the creation of RDF vocabularies representing the INSPIRE data models and the transformation of INSPIRE data into RDF
Member State implementations
- [French guidelines from the CNIG URI working group] Guide sur les identifiants de ressource uniques (Version 1.0.1)
Phase II: RDF in Practice (2016-2017)
In Phase II we have set up two pilot projects to help test and refine the above guidelines.
The JRC has awarded two pilots from a call for tenders that have run from February to mid-2017. Both pilots involved companies working closely with data providers and data users.
The first focuses on the environmental use of INSPIRE data as RDF in the context of water policy in Spain by Guadaltel, whereas the other looks at the broader issues of using it in emergency response scenarios in the Netherlands by Netage. More details are available in this recent news item.
This work has also contributed to testing and developing guidelines to represent INSPIRE data as Linked Data.The guidelines were reviewed following an open approach by considering the contribution of all interested parties. They are available at the INSPIRE as Linked Data workspace on GitHub, alongside a list of RDF vocabularies.
Furthermore, on the 4 July 2017, a webinar took place with those running the pilots and developing the guidelines to show the feasibility of handling linked data from the geospatial domain and the emerging benefits for different stakeholders. In particular, it was shown that the common guidelines can be used for activities, where the pilots showed approaches for data providers and data users using different types of data coming from different organisations in different domains.
These pilots have allowed the newly developed draft technical guidelines to be tested in practice, allowing data providers, whose INSPIRE data is already useful for GIS applications to be also made available to those working on semantic web technologies. This guidelines approach also ensures that, with a minimal effort, the investment already made in creating INSPIRE data can be built upon without replacing the existing approach while supporting the wider reuse of geospatial data in Europe and keeping up with technological developments.
To access the slides of the webinar follow this link.