INSPIRE and UK Location

The BGS has embraced EU and UK initiatives to increase access to public sector spatial information via its knowledge exchange work.

For example, OpenGeoscience has made BGS data and information available in interoperable formats that can be combined with data from other organisations to improve environmental analysis and decision making.

What is INSPIRE?

INSPIRE is a European Union (EU) directive (a legal act) that aims to enhance the sharing of environmental spatial information among public sector organisations and better facilitate public access to environmental information across Europe.

INSPIRE will create a European spatial data infrastructure (SDI) that will enable spatial information to be discovered, viewed and downloaded in order to assist in policy making across boundaries.

The spatial information considered under the directive includes a great variety of themes — one of which is geology.

What is UK Location?

UK Location is a UK pan-government initiative to improve the sharing and re-use of public sector location information.

It implements INSPIRE in the UK and extends it through the UK's own Location Strategy. UK Location is coordinated by the UK Location Council and delivered by the UK Location Programme.

BGS involvement in supporting INSPIRE and UK Location

INSPIRE and UK Location depends on standardised delivery mechanisms to ensure the integration of spatial information from different contributors.

Data providers need to structure their data according to agreed specifications and deliver it via common protocols. The development of this infrastructure and enabling standards has been a huge community effort in which BGS has played a major role.

BGS staff (past and present) have performed the following roles:

BGS collaborations relating to INSPIRE and UK Location

BGS has been working for several years with the Scottish Government doing co-funded research on how to set up a Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure to implement the One Scotland — One Geography initiative. We are also helping the Coal Authority make data freely and openly accessible to the public in accordance with INSPIRE.

Contact Matt Harrison, Science Director Informatics, for more information on how BGS can help fulfil your organisation's obligations under INSPIRE and UK Location.

BGS outputs

INSPIRE and UK Location will be developed in various stages until 2019. BGS has responded by providing the following services for their data holdings that are in scope of INSPIRE:

These services are registered with the UK Location Programme for upward inclusion in the INSPIRE GeoPortal. Having played a vital role in the testing of the UK Location Programme infrastructure, BGS were one of the first organisations to achieve this goal.

What will INSPIRE and UK Location achieve?

The purpose of INSPIRE and UK Location is to support environmental policy and overcome major barriers still affecting the availability and accessibility of relevant data.

These barriers include:

  • inconsistencies in spatial data collection, where spatial data is often missing or incomplete or, alternatively, the same data is collected twice by different organisations
  • lack or incomplete documentation of available spatial data
  • lack of compatibility among spatial datasets that cannot, therefore, be combined with others
  • incompatible SDI initiatives within EU member states that often function only in isolation
  • cultural, institutional, financial, and legal barriers preventing or delaying the sharing of existing spatial data

The key elements of INSPIRE and UK Location to overcome the above barriers include:

  • metadata to describe existing information resources so data can be more easily found and accessed
  • harmonisation of key spatial data themes needed to support environmental policies in the European Union
  • agreements on network services and technologies to allow discovery, viewing, and downloading of information resources and access to related services
  • policy agreements on sharing and access, including licensing and charging
  • coordination and monitoring mechanisms