Belgium: Members of EuroGeographics have unveiled plans for pan-European open data services underpinned by geospatial information from official sources. The Open European Location Services (ELS) project aims to improve the availability of geospatial information from the public authorities responsible for mapping, cadastre and land registries.
Funded by the European Commission, it builds upon the European Location Framework (ELF) project which developed the standards, specifications, tools and technical infrastructure to deliver pan-European geospatial content.
Open ELS is focused on facilitating access to, and encouraging the take up and use of this information, and is strongly user orientated with a comprehensive program of activities for SMEs. It is therefore the core component for building operational European Location Services.
EuroGeographics, an international not-for-profit association representing Europe’s National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registration Authorities, is coordinating the two-year initiative which is 50 per cent funded by the European Commission through the 2016 CEF Telecom Call. It is working with partners from member organizations in Norway, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Germany.
Gateway to data
Helen Kaestner, European Location Services transition program manager, said the intention is to develop pan-European open data services using authoritative geospatial information along with an associated business model, whilst also respecting EuroGeographics members’ national policy, legislative and business requirements. This will provide certainty about what is free, what is charged for, and the terms and conditions of use or reuse.
The Open ELS project is part of EuroGeographics’ wider vision for a unique and powerful information resource covering geographical Europe as well as the EU Member States. Together with its members, the association is committed to developing the gateway to data from official, national sources to deliver European Location Services. This will be a unique, single source of data from multiple countries which is delivered to a common specification under clear and harmonized licensing and pricing.
Knowledge and expertise
Ms Kaestner stated EuroGeographics knows that authoritative geospatial data is highly valued and provides confidence to users that it is consistent and comparable, regardless of its national source. The delivery of an operational service is an ambitious undertaking but the geospatial community has a long and successful tradition of positive and strong collaboration. EuroGeographics is founded on a tradition of sharing knowledge and expertise, and has a long, successful track record of delivering harmonized pan-European geospatial data products.
Open ELS and European Location Services complement the national activities of the EuroGeographics members and provide a fundamental resource for Europe that meets the needs and high expectations of users, Kaestner concluded.