INSPIRE Data Specification HY v3.0.1

This document specifies a harmonised data specification for the spatial data theme Hydrography as defined in the INSPIRE Directive.

This data specification provides the basis for the drafting of Implementing Rules according to the INSPIRE Directive [Directive 2007/2/EC]. The entire data specification will be published as implementation guidelines accompanying these Implementing Rules.


The purpose of this document is to specify a harmonised data specification for the spatial data theme Hydrography as defined in the INSPIRE Directive.

The thematic scope of this data specification is towards providing a solid framework for mapping, reporting and modelling purposes. It is concerned with the network of bodies of water and relating structures and objects.

However, each organisation will have different responsibilities from the next and this will influence the kind of data they collect and manage and use. In turn some organisations may use simple models; others by necessity will have complex data arrangements. This data specification is provided as a basic framework which users can adopt and if required – extend for themselves. The model is structured to maximise reuse and the sharing of organisational data.


The data specification has been prepared by the thematic working group on Hydrography, a multinational team of experts in the field drawn from all parts of the European Union (Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom). Their brief has been to create a specification, which requires no additional data capture by member states, and is additionally, easily understood and as flexible as possible. In this way it is designed to minimise the effort required to supply conformant data.

Long description

Hydrography in the context of this data specification is involved with the description of the sea, lakes, rivers and other waters, with their phenomena and all hydrographic-related elements. For mapping purposes, it includes a representation of physical elements – both natural and artificial. For reporting requirements of EC water-related directives it includes WFD surface water bodies. For spatial analysis and modelling, it includes a topologically-sound network of rivers and canals.

Known implementation

The whole known implementation of Inspire is available at:

History / Key milestones

The Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council adopted on 14 March 2007 aims at establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) for environmental policies, or policies and activities that have an impact on the environment.


Representation technique
Human Language