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INSPIRE – The road to acceptance

A kind of hidden revolution is taking place in Europe that is called INSPIRE. INSPIRE is remarkable in several ways. The name INSPIRE is as brilliant as the subject is boring: who cares about an ‘infrastructure for spatial information in the European Community’, apart from us, geo-geeks? But inspire it did, perhaps because it is one of the first truly international initiatives to lay down the rules for a cross-border spatial data infrastructure. As you know, spatial data infrastructures are those fuzzy entities that everyone talks about and considers important (why should you be against it?) and that’s that, just as with ‘world peace’. But a funny thing happened, thanks to the experts and non-experts that have been involved and grinded through the whole process: INSPIRE has become a standard that is generally accepted (and as someone pointed out to me recently, being ‘accepted’ is even better than being ‘right’). A standard and example, something to be copied; even countries that are not obliged to comply are doing so voluntarily, because they see the benefits (or maybe feel the pressure). That is quite an achievement in these hard times of Euro-scepticism and economic crisis. No surprise the mood at the INSPIRE conference in Aalborg, Denmark was positive. That Geospatial World Forum and INSPIRE are converged next year is therefore an opportunity you should not miss: be sure to be there in Lisbon on May 24 – 29!