To understand what INSPIRE is all about, you first need to understand the needs of the typical user that INSPIRE was designed for. Do this, and all the strange technologies and requirements nearly make sense.
INSPIRE wasn’t designed as a transparency tool, but as a way of improving and enabling cross boundary projects. Think of a new train link from Budapest to Barcelona; to plan this route the engineers will need to build a library of thousands of data sets. They will need to know where people live, what the land is used for, where power comes from and what other resources are available. This is a mammoth task in itself, but now imagine doing it across 7 nations and 10 different languages: almost impossible and hugely expensive.
Now imagine that same task but with a pan-European catalogue of all the appropriate datasets with one common form of index. This catalogue would describe what information was available, who owned it and how to contact them all in one consistent way. It might also give them a glimpse of what the data might look like and perhaps a chance to use some of it in a limited manner. Imagine how much easier that engineer’s task is and how much more likely that project is to succeed.
What I have just described was the 1st Phase of INSPIRE, which is now live and creating just this type of value. As the largest publisher of Annex III data in the UK, we get to see who is making what data requests and the interesting thing is that over 80% of all data requests come from either commercial bodies or local authorities, backing up the purpose of the project.
What is Phase 2?
So if there is a Phase 1, there must be a Phase 2? Correct. Phase 2 is now due and is the next logical step. If we consider our engineer, he or she has this great catalogue but the schemas of each data set accessed are different. This means a huge amount of translation work and the potential risk of errors if the data is interpreted differently. What would help here is for all the data to be translated into a standard format by the data owner, so that it isn’t translated multiple times further downstream. This saves the whole ecosystem time and effort, and this is the thinking behind INSPIRE Phase 2.
The INSPIRE Phase 2 deadlines require you to transform your data sets into an INSPIRE compliant GML dataset and then publish it. There is October 2015 for all new or heavily revised data sets and all data sets are covered from December 2020.
To help you get to grips with the nitty gritty of Phase 2 including what you need to do and what solutions are available, we’ll be running some free webinars over the coming weeks. You can have a look at the dates and book your place by clicking here.