INSPIRE is a Directive that aims at creating a European Union (EU) spatial data infrastructure for the purposes of Community environmental policies and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment. This infrastructure will enable the sharing of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations and better facilitate public access to spatial information across Europe. The INSPIRE Directive came into force on 15 May 2007 and will be implemented in various stages, with full implementation required by 2019.
The guiding principles of INSPIRE are
- that the infrastructures for spatial information in the Member States will be designed to ensure that spatial data are stored, made available and maintained at the most appropriate level;
- that it is possible to combine spatial data and services from different sources across the Community in a consistent way and share them between several users and applications;
- that it is possible for spatial data collected at one level of public authority to be shared between all the different levels of public authorities; that spatial data and services are made available under conditions that do not restrict their extensive use;
- that it is easy to discover available spatial data, to evaluate their fitness for purpose and to know the conditions applicable to their use.
INSPIRE is based on the infrastructures for spatial information that are created and maintained by the Member States. To ensure that the spatial data infrastructures of the Member States are compatible and usable in a Community and trans-boundary context, the Directive requires that common Implementing Rules (IRs) are adopted in a number of specific areas (Metadata, Data Specifications, Network Services, Data and Service Sharing and Monitoring and Reporting). These IRs are adopted as Commission Decisions or Regulations, and are binding in their entirety. In addition, a number of Technical Guidelines have been developed that describe non-binding technical requirements and recommendations for implementing the requirements included in the INSPIRE Implementing Rules.
The INSPIRE interoperability assets reflect the content of the INSPIRE Implementing Rules and Technical Guidelines.