The European Commission is currently preparing legislation that will significantly change how data on the environment is organised and shared among public authorities and with European citizens.
The ambitious initiative, called INSPIRE - Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe, will contribute to further European integration and enable more coherence in Community policies, thereby promoting sustainable development and increased protection of the environment.
INSPIRE will first and foremost benefit policy-makers and authorities at the European, national and local levels, but improved on-line access to public geographical information will also lead to all kinds of practical uses for the general public. Researchers will benefit as well and the new infrastructure will also help many types of businesses operating in more than one Member State. For example, in the fields of insurance, utility planning and operations, sustainable use of natural resources, communications, agriculture, tourism, etc.
In phase one of the INSPIRE Internet consultation, the idea behind the initiative was introduced along with the basic issues that are involved. In this second phase paper, the INSPIRE initiative is explained in detail: what it is, why it is needed, what policies are being proposed, how it is being realised, what are the expected impacts, and how it will work in practice.