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Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe


Proposed action for MIWP 2016-2020: Improving accessibility of data sets through network services



Document for discussion & endorsement




14/11/2018 / DRAFT






Draft action mandate for a new action under the MIWP 2016-2020 on improving accessibility of data set s through network services.


The members of the MIG are invited to:

  • Take note of the document and discuss it at the 9 th meeting of the MIG;
  • Endorse the document at the MIG meeting as a core MIWP action for 2019.

MIWP 2019.2: Improving accessibility of data sets through network services


Improving accessibility of data sets through network services






  In Progress



The new geoportal and the proposed revision of the M&R IRs are following a data-centric approach, which focuses on data sets and how they can be accessed through network services rather than considering data and network services as stand-alone components of the infrastructure.

However, the current level of accessibility of data sets through view and download services is very low. One reason for this are problems with implementing data-service linking [1] . The approach currently described in the TGs for metadata and network services is considered complicated and partly ambiguous, even by implementation/standards experts, and many organisations are facing difficulties to provide implementations in line with these requirements.

This already has negative impacts on the overall usability of the INSPIRE infrastructure and will also lead to poor indicators in the future (metadata-based) approach for monitoring and reporting (action 2018.1).

Furthermore, the current approach for service metadata, which requires extensions to base standards, is posing an obstacle to the implementation of INSPIRE requirements for network services (because the required extensions are not widely implemented in off-the-shelf software). Furthermore, there is a clear overlap / duplication of data set and service metadata (e.g. bounding box, INSPIRE theme), which in some cases leads to inconsistencies and hence ambiguity which metadata is the "source of truth".

Proposed action

The action shall further investigate the issues causing the low level of data availability. It shall also test and further elaborate the alternative approach for documenting data-service linking in the data set metadata (as proposed in the discussion paper DOC7 presented to the 9 th MIG meeting) and propose corresponding changes or additions in relevant technical guidelines. The proposed changes should include

  • an explanation how the IR requirements for network service metadata are mapped to the new approach, and
  • a proposal for the simplification of service metadata (including the elements that could be dropped).

The action shall also advise the Commission on whether the proposed simplifications would require changes in the IRs or whether they could be implemented by other means and propose a roadmap (or Common Implementation Strategy) for implementation of the new approach.

Links & dependencies


  • none


  • Action 2018.1 on monitoring & reporting indicators (especially those related to the accessibility of data sets through network services)
  • Activities under action 2016.5 and the geoportal helpdesk on improving data accessibility through network services

Organisational set-up

The action is carried out by the JRC, with support from relevant MS experts.

Phase 1 will be supported by the network of contact points for the national discovery services to be set up at the Geoportal workshop in January 2019.

If necessary and endorsed by the MIG (in its meeting in June 2019), phase 2 will be supported by a temporary MIG sub-group that should provide input and feedback on the proposed TG updates and the proposals for an implementation roadmap.


JRC (in collaboration with DG ENV and EEA)


The action should focus as much as possible on existing implementation approaches in the MS and on proposing changes that would not require changes in the IRs.


Phase 1 (January – June 2019)

  • Further investigate and document the issues causing the low level of data accessibility (through the Geoportal workshop in January 2019 and follow-up analyses)
  • Jointly work on improving data accessibility in the INSPIRE geoportal (through changes in national discovery services and/or the EU Geoportal) following the current approach
  • Test the proposed simplified approach for data-service linking (MS metadata & services and INSPIRE geoportal)
  • Report status and propose follow-up actions to MIG meeting in June 2019

Phase 2 (July – December 2019) – pending endorsement by the MIG

  • Draft change proposals to TGs for metadata, view and download services (and/or a stand-alone TG document on data-service linking)
  • Analyse whether the proposed simplifications would require changes in the IRs
  • Propose an implementation roadmap (or Common Implementation Strategy)
  • Implement support for the simplified approach in the INSPIRE geoportal
  • Final status report at MIG meeting in December 2019


  • Improved accessibility of data sets in the INSPIRE geoportal
  • Updated TGs for metadata, view and download services
  • Implementation roadmap (or Common Implementation Strategy)

Proposed Impact

  Technical Adjustment / Bug Fixing

  Technical Improvement / Development

  Practical Support for Implementing Process

  Cost Reducing Effect for Implementing Process

  Direct Support on Policy-Making / - Activities


Date of Kick-off: January 2019

Proposed Date of Completion: 31/12/2019

Required human resources and expertise

MS experts in the areas of data set and service metadata as well as network services

Required financial resources and possible funding

Funding by DG ENV through the Administrative Arrangement with the JRC.

Additional resources may be required for one face-to-face meeting.

Risk factors

Overall risk level of the action




Risk factors to be considered

  Missing Resources

  High Complexity

  Interdependencies with other Actions 

Others:  n/a



[1] "data-service linking" means that, based on the data set and service metadata available in national discovery services and by following the requirements laid down in the INSPIRE TGs for metadata and network services, a link can be established between a data set and the download and view services that are providing access to it, i.e. that enable the data set to be downloaded and viewed.  .