Recommendation 19

Recommendation 19: Invest in communications and skills to ensure sufficient awareness and capabilities to drive through improvements in the use of location information in digital public services and support growth opportunities


  • Computers and mobile phones are used widely in all walks of life
  • Basic spatial knowledge and understanding of maps is relevant to many everyday situations but is not always retained or kept up to date from geography learning in schools
  • Location information is relevant in many policy areas but the opportunities afforded and the best way of exploiting these opportunities are not always well known
  • INSPIRE impacts a wide range of people in public authorities across Europe, and requires awareness and skills at different levels and for different purposes
  • ICT and data skills frameworks do not always keep up to date with relevant technologies
  • There are many ways of learning, and different people learn in different ways, e.g. formal education and training, studying publications, work experience, communicating with peers. These different types of learning all need to be factored in to the overall approach
  • Project teams disband and move on to other things, sometimes outside the organisation. It is therefore essential that knowledge and learning is captured and retained for future use
  • Teams brought together from different organisations and countries can bring a broad perspective of knowledge together to solve particular problems
  • Communicating benefits and how they were achieved through worked examples is a powerful way of raising awareness raising and learning


  • Promote an understanding of geography and spatial literacy in academic and work environments
  • Include effective use of geospatial information systems in schools and university curricula
  • Provide awareness training for policy makers to help them understand the value of location-based analysis for evidence-based policy making and the approaches and tools that can be adopted
  • Introduce ‘digital champions’ to promote public sector modernisation through the use of digital technology, and ensure these people are aware of and convey the benefits of geospatial information and technologies. Where an organisation is running a major GI improvement programme, a ‘GI champion’ may be needed to drive through the changes
  • Include ‘spatial’ competencies in national ICT and data competency frameworks
  • Provide INSPIRE awareness raising and training events for policy makers, (geo) data specialists, and ICT implementers involved in the implementation and use of INSPIRE data
  • Recognise relevant geospatial and INSPIRE competencies in the terms of reference for procurements involving geospatial technologies
  • Promote the benefits of an integrated approach to the use of location information in digital public services and the role of INSPIRE, through communications events, use case factsheets, videos etc. (see also recommendation 14)
  • Run hackathons and competitions to promote innovation in the use of geospatial technologies and take up of more openly available geospatial data. The ISA2 Sharing and Reuse Awards 2017 included several winners from the geospatial sector
  • Ensure public sector projects introducing geospatial digital public service solutions document and publish the learning from these projects, and produce relevant training resources to support rollout and take up of solutions
  • Recognise the potential ‘digital divide’ and ‘spatial divide’ amongst users of digital public services. Ensure the services are as simple to use as possible, are developed in collaboration with potential users, and have the necessary instructions, training and support for users (see also recommendation 8)
  • Reuse existing best practices, tools, and solutions where possible to shortcut implementation, introduce innovation, and reduce the need for specialist skills
  • Employ expert quality assurance to avoid mistakes in first time deployment and use of geospatial technologies and data
  • Re-use existing geospatial and INSPIRE training resources to support new learning for data specialists and ICT implementers
  • Use web based learning tools to share knowledge and ideas, e.g. wikis, blogs, webinars
  • Participate in geospatial community groups to gain / share knowledge and communicate with peers (e.g. INSPIRE community, EUROGI, UK Association for Geographic Information, Trentino Open Data community)
  • Install and use location-based mobile apps on your mobile phone
  • Read specialist books and journals to develop knowledge and keep it up to date


  • Training needs to be relevant to the user and timely for the situation, otherwise knowledge and information is not retained
  • Open Knowledge (i.e. knowledge sharing) like Open Data requires commitment and resourcing
  • Policy makers see geospatial information as a technical topic and not a tool for policy related analysis
  • Projects do not allow sufficient time for training and capturing lessons learnt
  • Competency frameworks are too general to focus on geospatial or other specialist topics
  • INSPIRE is seen as too complicated and technical
  • The number of geography graduates and graduates with geospatial training (i.e. in geography or ICT courses) cannot keep pace with requirements
  • Industry is relied upon for training but this concentrates knowledge on the supply side when knowledge is needed at all levels
  • SMEs require business acumen and a supportive business environment as well as technical knowledge and available data to create and run successful (geo) businesses

Best Practices:

Nature of documentation: Technical report


Type of document
European Union Public License, Version 1.1 or later (EUPL) 
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