Recommendation 18

Recommendation 18: Partner effectively to ensure the successful development and exploitation of Spatial Data Infrastructures

Implementation guidance Related information



  • The use and integration of location information in public sector processes requires the participation and cooperation of many different actors: not only public authorities at different levels and/or in different areas, but also private companies, non-profit and academic organisations can contribute to the integration of location information in certain processes, with the aim of providing better services to citizens and other parties.
  • Agreements need to be formalised in an appropriate way and by relevant people for any partnership to be successful. Harmonisation of agreements across European borders facilitates collaboration and brings about cost and time savings.
  • Even if one party is the central driving force for a location strategy or programme, successful outcomes often depend on multiple parties working together and such an arrangement will stand a better chance of success if these multiple parties have a say in what happens.
  • Data integrators, data stewards and data marketplaces are playing an increasingly important role in bringing all actors together. These developments drive the need for effective partnering.




Partnering and ‘community’ approach

  • The ground rules of cooperation need to be debated and agreed by the different participants and formalised in an appropriate way, signed by persons of responsibility in the cooperating organisations.
  • Building and maintaining a spatial data infrastructure requires concerted action and cooperation from a large number of organisations (maybe hundreds of public administrations) over a lengthy period of time (the INSPIRE implementation timetable spans 10 years – 2010 to 2020 – and the intended use of the infrastructure doesn’t stop there). Such an activity requires a “community” approach, both at a national level (to engage all the relevant organisations around a common purpose tailored to national needs) and EU-wide (to contribute to specifications, share experiences, collaborate on tools etc.). Such communities may also be relevant at a thematic level (e.g. the marine and transport sectors have active communities) and in relation to particular technologies, e.g. open source software development communities working on tools for data portals, metadata management etc. Working in such communities can encourage a coordinated approach for the installation of data capturing devices, generating synergies in hardware for sensors capturing various types of data (one pole for collecting various data sets such as air, light, temperature etc.).
  • Partnerships can be long term arrangements. The success of the partnership needs to be evaluated from time to time. Changes need to be introduced into the nature of the partnership, the membership, the priorities for action as needs change and to keep the partnership relevant and performing effectively.
  • Partnerships can be set up to lobby government on particular (location) data issues, e.g. in order to get open access to public sector data, to lobby for data to be made available in particular ways.
  • Governments should invest in the design and creation of ecosystems around data where multiple stakeholders are able to capture value.

Partnership agreements

  • Partnership agreements should be established as early as possible in cross government strategic data programmes, joint initiatives to develop location interoperability solutions, or where different public authorities are involved in the provision of location enabled digital public services. These may include considerations on:
    • Purpose
    • Scope
    • Outputs
    • Service Levels
    • Intellectual property rights
    • Data protection
    • Responsibilities
    • Funding
    • Personnel
    • Timetable
    • Governance
  • Examples of different types of partnership agreements include:
    • Multilateral Collaboration Agreement
    • Bilateral Collaboration Agreement
    • Memorandum of Understanding
    • Implementing Agreement
    • Data Sharing Agreement
  • The following types of agreement involve more binding elements that can contribute to the partnership:
    • Legal Partnership Agreements
    • Framework Contracts
    • Service Contracts
    • Pre-commercial procurement for R&D services
    • Service Level Agreements

Public private partnerships

  • Develop public private partnerships to bring the best of both worlds in the implementation of digital public service location interoperability solutions and in the delivery of location enabled digital public services. These can be at a strategic level or in relation to specific projects or services. At a strategic level, partnerships may be established with industry bodies (e.g. groups representing the geospatial, surveying and land management, or insurance sectors) or with key industry players. For specific projects or services, the ‘partnerships’ may be associated with (long term) framework contracts to support public authorities in delivering ICT or digital public services.
  • Consider digital platforms to support the public-private partnerships and other collaboration modes with multiple stakeholders.
  • Consider not only publishing data through governmental platforms (e.g. public data portals) but also sharing data through data marketplaces and exploiting data available through those marketplaces. Through these mechanisms the nature and level of demand can be ascertained and data services can be more demand focused.
  • Where government integrates data from different sources and then shares that data according to agreed rules, the stewardship role that is being fulfilled should take account of the needs of both data providers and users in the data sharing community.

Multi-national partnerships

  • Develop multi-national partnerships to progress common research interests or promote cross-border opportunities involving location data and services.



  • In establishing public private partnerships, public authorities have to be wary of giving unfair competitive advantage to particular industry players.
  • Participants may be too focused on their own interests rather than the common good. In this case governments should act as regulators in the interest of the citizens.
  • Lead times for getting agreements can be significant, particularly if many parties are involved. This can create inertia and potentially limit or counterbalance the goodwill engendered in initial discussions amongst the parties.
  • Partnerships may reduce their effectiveness over time unless close attention is given to the operation of the partnership and whether it is effective in achieving the commonly agreed goals.
  • Successful communities need constant fuelling in order to maintain interest and momentum. There is a risk that without this, they will not succeed.
  • Sufficient funding and resource may not be available to maintain the partnership / community. There is a related risk of dependence on particular sponsors or other individuals who may move on to other things.


helpBest Practices


Bar chart dark blue 32LIFO Monitoring

The Location Information Framework Observatory (LIFO) monitors the implementation of EULF Blueprint recommendations in European countries. Read about the implementation of Recommendation 18 in the LIFO Country Factsheets or the LIFO European State of Play Report. Explore the results for selected countries at LIFO Interactive Dashboards - Recommendations.


PuzzleRelated Frameworks: European Interoperability Framework (EIF)

EIF Pillars Recommendations
Underlying Principle 6: User centricity Recommendation 12: Put in place mechanisms to involve users in analysis, design, assessment and further development of European public services.
Interoperability Layer 2: Integrated Public Service Governance Recommendation 26: Establish interoperability agreements in all layers, complemented by operational agreements and change management procedures.
Interoperability Layer 4: Organisational Interoperability Recommendation 29: Clarify and formalise your organisational relationships for establishing and operating European public services.
Interoperability Layer 5: Semantic Interoperability Recommendation 32: Support the establishment of sector-specific and cross-sectoral communities that aim to create open information specifications and encourage relevant communities to share their results on national and European platforms.


PuzzleRelated Frameworks: UN-GGIM Integrated Geospatial Information Framework (IGIF)

Strategic Pathway 7: Partnerships

Documentation Elements

Implementation Guide


Cross-sector and Interdisciplinary Cooperation

Private Sector and Academia Collaboration

International Collaboration

Community Participation

Actions Tools
1. Understanding Partnerships  
Need for Partnering


Types of Partnership APP7.1: Types of Partnership
2. Evaluating Opportunities  
Partnership Opportunities  
Selection Criteria  
3. Identifying Potential Partners  
Potential Partners

APP9.1: Categories of Stakeholders

APP9.2: Identifying and Classifying Stakeholders

Preliminary Screening  
Initial Engagement  
4. Selecting Partners  
Options and Operational Implications APP7.2: Evaluation of Potential Partners
Financial Analysis  
5. Formalising Partnership  
Establishing Agreement  
Communication Plan APP9.5: Stakeholder Communication Plan
Governance Structure  
6. Managing Partnership  
Reporting and Accountability  
Reviewing and Evaluation

APP7.3: Review and Evaluation

APP7.4 Success Indicators

Concluding a Partnership  


Marker Small 2ELISE Resources

Type Resource Date
Study Digital Platform for Public Services 2018
Webinar The role of Organisational Interoperability in the context of Geospatial and Digital Government Transformation 2020
Webinar Location enabled public services 2020


helpFurther Reading


Version: EULF Blueprint v5.1