The European Inspire directive was designed to ‘remove borders to the exchange of geospatial data’. In 2013, the EU published an Inspire Data Specification for Energy Resources. Despite this, in the EU oil and gas industry, particularly in the (pre-Brexit) UK and Norway, oil country ‘standards’ appear to have conspicuously avoided Inspire. Sanae Mendoza, blogging for Safe Software, reports that a ‘full realization’ of the Inspire standard is slated for 2021, 14 years after its enaction into EU law.
Mendoza places Inspire in an environmental/ecological context. Data needs to be harmonized to track geographical features and pollutants as they cross national boundaries, ‘everything is connected to everything else’. Accessible and usable data (particularly spatial) is critical for developing policy that can address the complexities of an interconnected environment.
Inspire data models are built atop the OGC Geographic Markup Language (GML), an XML-based encoding*. There are some 34 different Inspire models covering different geographic themes with their own unique features, properties and geometries. Atop the model are implementing rules for the use of metadata, interoperability, services, sharing, monitoring and reporting.
Mendoza reports that ‘few were equipped for the momentous task that is involved in harmonizing existing datasets with the Inspire standards’. The required breadth of resources and expertise to consume, integrate and create Inspire data was the biggest challenge faced by the directive. Projects typically required ‘data domain specialists, XML developers and a mastery of regulation compliance’. Safe has risen to the Inspire challenge and has released the FME Inspire GML reader/writer to integrate or create compliant GML easily. Read Mendoza’s blog here.
* Other encodings, HTML, JSON, GeoJSON and REST APIs are also under consideration.
See also the Esri Inspire minisite and Energistics EIP which alludes to Inspire.
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