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Questions on the organisation of data provision

Is there a difference between the data-keeping and the data-providing agency?

Yes. The data-keeping agency is always the agency responsible for data-keeping. However, the data-keeping body may also delegate tasks to other entities, e.g. to a data maintenance agency or a distribution centre. INSPIRE addresses both data-keeping and data-providing bodies, relevant measures in this area having to be coordinated between the agencies involved (e.g. acquisition and maintenance of the INSPIRE metadata by the geodata-keeping agency, provision of the INSPIRE geodata sets via network service through the data-providing agency). In practice, this means that each "INSPIRE Geodata Set" must be accessible in accordance with the INSPIRE regulations (search services, view services, download services).

When is a copy of a geodata set a “new“ geodata set of its own?

If copied datasets were modified one can no longer speak of an “identical“ copy. Examples of this are geometric generalizations as used for the generation of small-scale follow-up products or the change of topologies.
Where appropriate, the geodata set can be considered as a subset of a reference version, which means possibly also with other attributes not coming under INSPIRE.
It is only a new reference version if the geodata set contains additional data, in variance from the reference version, which come under INSPIRE.
The member states can decide for themselves whether certain modifications on geodata sets shall be considered as “substantial restructuring“ and thus be valid as new reference versions. The INSPIRE directive itself makes no stipulations in this context.
Even though a certain geodata set of the lowest administrative level has not been provided for INSPIRE, if the collection and distribution are not required by law, the respective higher administrative level holding an identical copy of this geodata set can assess the latter as relevant and make it available.

Shall also data from ATKIS, as e.g. transport networks, water networks, protected zones be named, although other bodies are originally responsible for these themes?

Even if the technical competence is in this field clearly regulated (e.g. nature reserves and water protection areas), all geodata sets must be reported which fall under the scope of the directive (Article 4 and annexes I to III). Deviations therefrom are only admissible if pure copies are concerned not modified in any respect.

Who must report geodata sets and services?

INSPIRE obliges all geodata-holding agencies to observe the directive. Concerned are all geodata-holding and providing bodies whose geodata sets and services fall under one or several of the themes of Annexes I, II and III of the INSPIRE directive and the scope of application as defined in Art. 4.
However, several solutions are conceivable for the bundling of identical copies at the Länder or Federal level, and to use these aggregated geodata sets as reference versions for INSPIRE.

Do the data specifications constitute a decision criterion as to whether a geodata set or service is affected by INSPIRE?

No. The only basis for this decision on whether a geodata set falls under the INSPIRE directive is the directive itself, which means that the definition alone of the themes contained in Annexes I, II and III of the directive can be referred to for the purpose of identification.

Are the municipalities obliged to report geodata sets for the themes Coordinate Reference Systems and Geographical Grid Systems?

Overall, the themes Coordinate Reference Systems and Geographical Grid Systems play a special role, given that downloadable and visible geodata sets are not dealt with. All in all, the themes Coordinate Reference Systems and Geographical Grid Systems occupy a special role, given that no downloadable and visible geodata sets are concerned. Instead, stipulations are made on the georeferencing of geodata. Therefore, a report concerted within the GDI-DE referring to the themes Coordinate Reference and Geographical Grid Systems will be performed.

The profiles on the themes of Annex I of the INSPIRE directive already contain references to eligible geodata sets and geodata-keeping bodies, respectively. Are no other geodata sets or geodata-holding agencies considered?

The hints on the individual themes were exemplarily compiled by the technical networks (contact to the authors via the Kst. GDI_DE ( They are to be understood as exemplary hints and not as stipulations. Other geodata sets or geodata-keeping bodies, too, may be concerned by INSPIRE.

Shall the ALKIS dataset of the Survey Administrations be reported as one dataset or separately according to themes (several datasets)?

ALKIS must be included into the list of geodata sets and, if necessary, be attributed to several themes of Annex I of the directive.

If an institution is legally obliged to collect and integrate geodata sets from the Länder, but these data being collected by the Länder and made available also in the corresponding GDIs, must this institution compulsorily report and provide the integrated dataset? Is the respective institution entitled to do so?

The member states decide on the organization of their infrastructure and type of data provision. If indeed there exist current reference versions at a higher administrative level, which aggregate the geodata sets of the subordinate administrative level, the latter can certainly be considered as the geodata sets of relevance to INSPIRE. This also complies with the INSPIRE principle according to which geodata are stored, made accessible and administrated at the optimally suited level (see recital 6 of the INSPIRE directive).
Even though a geodata set of the lowest administrative level does not have to be provided for INSPIRE, given that its collection and distribution do not constitute a legal requirement, the respective higher administrative level, holding an identical copy of this dataset, can assess the latter as of relevance to INSPIRE and make it available accordingly. In this case it is not a “new“ geodata set, but the respective member state can describe it as a reference dataset.

Does Article 4 Par. 6 of the INSPIRE directive refer to a legal provision on the collection or distribution of data in digital form, or must collection and distribution be laid down only generally?

In accordance with Article 4 Par. 6 of the INSPIRE directive the collection or distribution of the geodata sets must be legally prescribed. Further, pursuant to the INSPIRE directive a geodata set constitutes “an identifiable collection of geodata“, in turn, geodata are “all data with direct or indirect reference to a certain location or geographical area”. Hence, INSPIRE makes no explicit statement on whether geodata must be available either in digital or analog form, so that the collection or distribution of relevant data must be prescribed only generally.

The municipalities hold different communal geodata which are supplied to superordinate Land authorities within the frame of the fulfillment of professional tasks at Land level. Are the data aggregated at Land level supplied by the responsible Land authorities, or are the municipalities obliged to supply the data referring exclusively to their respective territory, instead of/in addition to, in an INSPIRE conformal manner?

The member states decide on the organisation of their infrastructure and data provision. If there do indeed exist up-to-date reference versions at a higher administrative level, which aggregate the datasets of the subordinate administrative level, these versions can certainly be regarded as the datasets of INSPIRE. This complies with the principle of INSPIRE according to which geodata are always stored, made available and managed at the most optimal level (see recital 6 of the INSPIRE directive).
In this context, provision of geodata relevant to INSPIRE is basically and first of all incumbent on the geodata-keeping agency that is technically responsible for the acquisition, including updating and maintaining, of the relevant geodata. However, the task of providing data for INSPIRE can also be assumed, on the basis of appropriate agreements, by external data suppliers as e.g. a service provider or a public body, as long as an identical copy of the geodata set is concerned.
Further, provision of the geodata sets and services relevant to INSPIRE within the GDI-DE should be performed with as little effort as possible, and be coordinated within the departments involved. The professional networks set up for the different subject areas will issue corresponding recommendations.

What are the criteria for characterizing data derived from other data as “modified“ and thus evaluating them as reference data?

If a geodata set was modified it constitutes no longer an identical copy. The decision as to whether certain types of procedures are considered as a “substantial restructuring“ is the responsibility of the member state. The respective geodata set can be deemed a reference version, possibly also with other attributes not falling under INSPIRE. It is only a reference version if the geodata set contains “unique“ data covered by INSPIRE.
Even though a geodata set of the lowest administrative level does not have to be made available for INSPIRE, given that its acquisition and distribution are not legally obligatory, the higher administrative level holding an identical copy of this geodata set may evaluate the latter as of relevance to INSPIRE and make it available. In this case, there is no “new“ geodata set created, but the respective member state can describe it as a reference dataset.

Must the agency originally responsible for the performance of the individual professional task be entered as the body responsible for the geodata sets and services or, where required, a service provider commissioned by this body?

Here, the geodata-keeping agency is always decisive which is in a position to commission by legal arrangement a service provider, if required. With regard to data services in particular, it is recommended to enter also the potential service provider into the metadata, since the geodata-keeping agency can normally not intervene if technical problems should occur.

Do geodata on themes falling under the original reponsibility of another authority (so-called geodata kept for information only) have to be provided for INSPIRE at all?

INSPIRE does not distinguish whether geodata are kept under original responsibility or only for the purpose of information, as is often the case with the spatial base data (for instance, responsibility for protected areas, streets, water bodies lies with the nature protection, road and water administrations, and not with the surveying and cadastre administration). Therefore, if the responsibility for a particular technical task rests with another authority and the datasets, or parts of datasets are kept only for the purpose of information, they are nevertheless subject to the obligations of INSPIRE, provided that not only a copy of another dataset is concerned.

Are also private rail operators fulfilling a public service affected by the geodata theme “Transport Networks“ ?

Yes. According to Article 3 No. 9 of the INSPIRE directive natural and legal persons having public resonsibilities or functions under the control of a public administration, fulfilling public tasks or providing public services are covered by the expression “Authority“ and are thus concerned by INSPIRE.

If a member state is not in a position to supply a geodata set on an INSPIRE theme because it is not available, must it re-capture such a dataset?

If in a member state there exists no geodata set on a particular theme, then it is not able to provide a geodata set on this INSPIRE theme. Re-capture is according to article Art. 4 Par. 4 of the INSPIRE directive not prescribed. However, should for other reasons datasets be re-captured or existing geodata sets be significantly restructured, then Art. 7 Par. 3 of the directive must be observed, according to which a member state must ensure that is is done in conformity with the rules of implementation. For this reason, the mandatory attributes should in particular with newly collected geodata be acquired in order to achieve conformity.

At what level shall geodata sets and services be reported within the scope of the Monitoring and be described accordingly by metadata (geodata set or feature type and service or layer, respectively)?

The geodata sets must be reported at the level of the respective dataset and be described by means of metadata.

All newly collected and largely restructured geodata sets and services shall be supplied in a conformal manner two years after enactment of the implementation regulation. Which geodata sets shall be provided in 2011 through an INSPIRE conformal view service?

The availability of view services is not restricted by the availability of data specifications. The only condition that must be met is the availability of metadata:
In accordance wih Art. 11 Par. 1 of the INSPIRE directive net services must be provided for geodata sets, for which INSPIRE conformal metadata were generated. From this follows that on 9.05./09.11.2011 INSPIRE conformal search and view services must be provided for all geodata sets and services of Annexes I and II (reported in the Monitoring 2010 (15.05.2011), (on the assumption that for these geodata sets and services INSPIRE conformal metadata will be supplied by 03.12.2010). Concerning the geodata sets and services of annex III conformal search and view services will have to be provided by 03.12.2013 at the latest (on the assumption that for these geodata sets and services INSPIRE conformal metadata will be available by 03.12.2013).
The type of representation can be freely determined by the member state, at least until the point in time at which the geodata sets have to be harmonized with regard to representation, which means in the course of implementing the regulation on interoperability of geodata sets and services.

In what way shall the member states provide their geodata sets and services as long as they are not yet INSPIRE conformal? For instance, can the member state provide the geodata sets also simply as a CD-Rom?

The member state can freely decide in what form it provides the geodata sets and services. What is important here is that since 15.05.2009 the obligations to exchange data according to Art. 17 of the directive must be fulfilled.

Does the INSPIRE directive oblige member states to provide geodata on request to another EC member state? In what form/structure would these data have to be supplied?

Basically, the data have to be made available to the public. According to Article 13 of the directive access by the public can under certain circumstances be restricted. The reasons for such a restriction have to be specified in the metadata. The implementation delays as indicated in the INSPIRE directive shall apply with regard to the form/structure of the data to be supplied. For example, all geodata sets described via INSPIRE conformal metadata sets (for the time being at least all geodata sets falling under the themes of Annexes I and II). As a next step the provision via download services will follow, and finally the provision of data in the INSPIRE conformal data model, provided that a transformation/derivation from the original data model is possible at justifiable expense.

How are the terms "newly collected" or "restructured" data to be interpreted with regard to statistical surveys? For instance, are the data obtained from a regular survey to be considered as "newly collected" if the otherwise unchanged survey is conducted for the first time after the deadline (entry into force of the rule of implementation (census in particular)? How are updates to be described (as e.g. with the microcensus, registers)?

If the data model does already exist and only the contents are modified by the respective new survey, one can speak of an update of the data but not of a restructuring or a new collection.

Is there any specific requirement concerning the spatial depth (Kreis (county, administrative district) level, municipal level etc.) at which data must be provided?

This is dependent on the data specification. Normally, there are no rules on the level of detail and the scale of the data to be provided.

As a rule, meteorological prediction parameters are with their graphic representation not restricted to national territories; radar composites, too, have a “transboundary“ character. How are these cross-border data provided?

Insofar geodata refer to a site or a geographical area whose location extends to the national territories of several member states of the European Union, the responsible authorities holding geodata coordinate appropriately the representation and the position of the site or geographic area with the respective authorities of the member states concerned.
For instance, in meteorology there exist coordination committees by which international agreements are made, and which could assume also the task of coordinating data provision for INSPIRE.

Are point data with measuring results generally exluded from the download if a potential personal reference (data privacy) cannot be ruled out?
Example: The lettuce taken out at the coordinate x,y contains x Bq/kg Cs-137. By means of cadastral data the “contaminated“ lettuce can via the coordinates be attributed to the farmer "Maier" who now must incur financial losses, given that no one will any more buy the products of the farmer Maier.

Here applies Article 13 of the INSPIRE directive: The member states may restrict “the public's access to geodata sets and services (…) if such access would adversely affect: (…) the confidentiality of personal data“. The respective grounds for access limitation shall be interpreted in a restrictive manner. In every particular case, the public interest served by disclosure shall be weighed against the interest served by limiting the access.

Who decides in case of disagreement as to the mutual concernment of the geodata-holding and the enquiring authority?

The competent courts. For instance, there is a final decision of the Administrative Court of Frankfurt am Main of 07.06. 2011. This decision stipulates that DB Netz AG is subject to an information obligation as foreseen in Article 2 (par. 1) no. 2 UIG. Thus, DB Netz AG is a geodata-holding body in line with the GeoZG.

What is the procedure to be followed in the case of statistical data if the geodata-holding agency has not the rights required for distribution of the geometric bases needed for cartographic representation (administrative or statistical units), that is, produces only the statistics themselves and not the geometries?

Administrative boundaries and statistical units are also covered by INSPIRE and have therefore to be prepared for INSPIRE. Provision should be harmonized among the geodata-holding agencies to enable reasonable and INSPIRE conformal provision of data.

Can INSPIRE conformal data provision be dispensed with if it causes substantial costs for the geodata-holding agency? Or in other words: Is it possible to limit in such case initially the number of datasets (e.g. to especially important datasets that are demonstrably in particularly high demand)?

No, prospective costs do not absolve from the obligation to make the geodatasets available through services. A prioritisation of geodatasets is not intended.

Is a collectible product, which contains both data on annex themes and also on themes not included in the annexes, to be provided in an INSPIRE conformal manner or only as individual datasets concerned?
Example: Collection of ca. 500 indicators, ca. three quarters of which are to be attributed to one or several annex themes.

Basically, only those datasets must be supplied which fall under the themes of the directive. But the geodata-holding agency may additionally provide further data. It is the objective of INSPIRE (and also of the GDI-DE) to make accessible as many data as possible (“everything that is available“).

Up to which product scales must the specifications be taken into account?

The INSPIRE directive makes no provisions regarding the scale ranges. Therefore, all scales of the “products“ of relevance to INSPIRE are concerned.

Are there any visualization provisions for representation of the geodatasets for INSPIRE?

Basically, the visualization rules (where available) are specified related to themes in the regulation on interoperability of geodatasets and services (data specifications).
In case that a geodataset can be assigned to an INSPIRE theme and is transformable into the INSPIRE format as defined in the data specifications, the relevant visualization rules (where available) are to be applied in accordance with the data specifications.
In case that the respective geodataset is not transformable into the INSPIRE format, then the visualization can be designed at one’s own discretion (an approximation to the visualization rules contained in the data specifications would be a reasonable option).

What must be kept in mind with geodatasets which display expertly argued inaccuracies, especially in case that such datasets are available in various quality levels?

Quality and validity of the relevant geodatasets are to be described accordingly in the metadata (cf. Art.(5)(2)(c) of the INSPIRE directive).

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