Recommendation 5

Recommendation 5: Use a standards based approach in the procurement of location data and related services in line with broader ICT standards based procurement


  • It is important to have a transparent and uniform procurement approach to ensure fully effective competition following procurement best practices
  • Suppliers should be given a clear steer on what is needed from them and how they will be evaluated. This will result in more relevant proposals and reduce the risk of delivery failure / change requests
  • Legal requirements (e.g. INSPIRE) need to be followed
  • Such an approach avoids additional burdens or unnecessary expenditure in re inventing the wheel or re-working solutions
  • Electronic procurement makes for more effective procurement processes


Find detailed guidance for public administrations on public procurement in the EULF Guidelines for public procurement of Geospatial Technologies

  • Apply the procurement rules specified in the new EU Directives on Public Procurement
    • Directive 2014/23/EU on the award of concession contracts
    • Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement
    • Directive 2014/25 EU on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal service sectors
  • Use electronic procurement processes and tools for more effective management of the procurement process, including pan-European e-procurement tools, such as e PRIOR, the European Single Procurement Document (ESPD) Service and e CERTIS
  • Make appropriate references to INSPIRE and other relevant standards (e.g. thematic standards) in procurement documents
  • When referring to INSPIRE:
    • Refer to the INSPIRE Directive, its Implementing Rules and Guidelines in a precise way
    • Refer to INSPIRE as a method for data specification development or apply some of the technical specifications of INSPIRE, even if certain activities covered by the Call for Tender do not – strictly speaking – relate to INSPIRE
    • For geoportals or data portals accessing location data, reference may be made to the use of INSPIRE data and services but not to any INSPIRE requirements for geoportals (they do not exist). To say “the geoportal should be compliant with the INSPIRE Directive” does not make sense
    • Clarify the terminology used in the procurement documents and how these relate to the terminology used in INSPIRE
    • Refer whenever possible to existing architecture documents describing the National/sub-National SDI, INSPIRE or e-Government/public service architecture in which the requested components fit
    • Allow room for flexibility by not only referring to standards and specifications that are already adopted, but also to ongoing work
  • When including conformity requirements:
    • Be clear about which outputs/products of the procurement should/must be conformant/compliant with which specification/standard
    • Require testing of the outputs/products on conformity/compliancy as part of the procurement
  • When referring to international standards:
    • Be as complete and precise as possible when referring to International standards
    • If necessary, refer to a series of standards that go together, rather than to individual standards
  • Ensure location assets being procured are interoperable and reusable
  • Ensure procurement includes relevant geospatial skills as well as data or software solutions
  • Include these location-specific requirements in the selection/evaluation criteria
  • If necessary, employ INSPIRE/standards specialists in the procurement or follow-on implementation to ensure appropriate standards-based approaches are followed
  • Check the European Catalogue of ICT Standards for Public Procurement, under development


  • Lack of understanding of what is relevant to specify in procurement documents on location standards / INSPIRE
  • Supplier evidence may be lacking in early stages of INSPIRE implementation
  • Specifying that particular standards will be followed doesn’t guarantee that they will be followed or that solutions will be functionally or even technically proficient. Parallel functional requirements are needed in procurement. Oversight of solution delivery is needed during implementation to ensure what is promised is what is delivered

Further reading:

Nature of documentation: Technical report


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