Seven years have passed since INSPIRE was adopted as the EU's legal framework establishing the infrastructure for spatial information in Europe serving policies and activities having an impact on the environment. During this period the framework of technical specifications necessary to underpin an interoperable infrastructure has been completed, and a major effort has taken place to implement the Directive in the Member States. It is now time for the mid-term evaluation to assess how well we are doing, and whether we are still on the right track. This conference comes therefore at a crucial stage to report on progress and get feedback from all the stakeholders involved.
INSPIRE is a governance 'tool'. Good governance, the process of making sound decisions and efficiently implementing them, is more than ever powered by our ability to collect, process, share and use spatial data. The conference will provide an opportunity to see how INSPIRE is underpinning the implementation of environmental policies, and provide connectivity with other policies affecting our environment, society, and the economy.
INSPIRE is unique in its effort to develop interoperability arrangements across many spatial data themes and services. As we implement these technical specifications, we build a platform for a real single market of e-services in Europe across many application domains. The conference will provide an opportunity to assess the extent to which these wider spin-offs are taking place, and how both public and private sector are benefiting from innovative applications and products.
INSPIRE is completing its formative period, and like children at school has now to pass its mid-term exams. The Member States have provided their view on the implementation of the Directive, a public consultation has been launched in 2013, together with an independent assessment of progress. This and other related evidence on the costs, benefits, and impacts of INSPIRE is being consolidated in a mid-term evaluation report. The draft report will be presented and debated at the conference providing an excellent opportunity for all the participants to help its finalisation before submission to the European Parliament and Council.
In light of the above, this is a conference you cannot miss!