INSPIRE Knowledge Base


Digital National Framework
Mission and Objectives: 
DNF is an industry standard for integrating and sharing business and geographic information from multiple sources. The vision for DNF is to enable and support easy and reliable integration of business and geographic information regardless of who is responsible for its maintenance and where this is undertaken, thus achieving the goal of "plug and play information".Ultimately this has the potential to evolve into a network of information which, while distributed, when brought together can be used with assurance. Business information can then be shared with the knowledge that all users have confidence that they are referring to the same location and entity in the real world. This can be critical in many applications. The Digital National Framework is intended to be: 1. Definitive maximising the benefits of definitive referencing DNF provides a framework to promote the better integration of all kinds of information with location as the common denominator. It offers the ability to link multiple information sources to a definitive location reference through unique identifiers. In Great Britain, the main national foundation for this is OS MasterMap Topography layer. 2. Inclusive reflecting principles of industry best practice DNF is being developed as an open initiative with input from a variety of interested parties. It encompasses proven and robust international standards. Although developed in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the DNF concept is transferable to other countries. 3. Structured using effective techniques for a “create once, use many times” model DNF features are referenced through unique identifiers enabling explicit and unambiguous linking and exchange of information. DNF’s object-based approach means that data should be collected once, maintained at the most effective level of detail, and then reused in any way the user requires. It offers the ability to create a consistent and structured geographic data model to integrate information easily and reliably. 4. Reliable delivering data integrity for underpinning critical business decisions DNF is based on a consistent form of georeferencing to provide information integrity. This makes it easier to associate data from all kinds of sources in a reliable way and to support information transfer in everything from street works and buried services to insurance and civil contingency. 5. Cost-effective lowering the costs of handling multi-source data The greater the take-up of DNF, the more significant the benefits will be for wider data sharing, thereby leading to lower data handling costs, ease of maintenance and the avoidance of duplicated effort. The result – reduced costs for the management and support of various data holdings. 6. Flexible enabling information exchange and cross-business applications As DNF is a model for the integration of information of all kinds it can be used to link different views of the world to a common base. This gives users the ability not only to accurately capture information of a precise geographical area, but then to share or use this in conjunction with other users in automated cross organisational applications.
Formal Mandate: 
DNF is driven forward by an Expert Group which is currently around 40 strong.
The Technical Group has drawn up a Road Map ( The Essential Components of DNF The DNF Model The basic principles of good data management underpin everything in the Digital National Framework. Reference Model Work is in progress on a DNF Reference Model – reference in the sense that it is a model that: describes possible configurations of the elements within scope shows major components and relationships indicates overall scope provides a framework in which development can take place independent of particular technologies and physical implementation. Object Model An object model is being developed in order to define the “properties of a DNF object”. This will, for example, formalise the fact that every object in the Digital National Framework must have a unique identifier, a version number, must be classified, etc… along with some optional components which will be defined in order to promote consistency between datasets. Association Models A number of application models are being developed by industry experts through working groups. These will define how DNF associations should be managed in specific areas, such as land and property or highways. Coordinate Systems and Transformations The Digital National Framework will potentially encompass a range of different coordinate systems, such as the British National Grid, the marine environent, Latitude/Longitude, GPS Coordinates, etc… In order to facilitate the integration of this information, transformations that support this will be referenced from the website. Identifier Management Since unique identifiers are at the heart of DNF, a mechanism is needed to ensure that these identities are nationally unique. A registry of organisation prefixes is proposed, such that the combination + will always be unique within the Digital National Framework. Taxonomy A key part of good data management is classification, and the Digital National Framework will tackle this initially with an online feature/object catalogue. Terminology For ease of use, the plan is to keep a glossary of terms such that people will be supported by a consistent definition and meaning of the terms employed. Conformance Conformance of any particular dataset will need to be measured against the DNF model. Metadata Both object and dataset-level metadata will form part of dnf. At the object level, it will cover such information as lifecycle, status, key dates and ownership. Likewise similar information will also apply to datasets as a whole. Data Quality Data quality will be stated as part of the dataset-level metadata. There will, however, be a drive to encourage reliable and fit for purpose quality levels in DNF across datasets. Data Exchange In order to share data, there needs to be some kind of common transfer format that can be used in multiple systems. Since XML is emerging as the de facto standard in the information industry, a key stage on the DNF roadmap, after finalising the model, will be the development of a base XML schema to support data sharing between applications. Maintenance An important aspect in the development of the Digital National Framework will be the synchronisation of data and feedback of change information. The DNF architecture will provide the foundation for this, and it will then be necessary to promote the use of it in a consistent way for change management and object lifecycle management. Guidance Documents In addition to all the other aspects, it will still be necessary to provide guidance documents on how to overcome various challenges where a particular approach has proved successful. This will enable other organisations to adopt similar approaches and promote consistency. Standards Existing ISO, CEN, BSI and OGC standards will be adopted and use where ever they are developed and proven in practice
DNF is driven forward by an Expert Group which is currently around 40 strong. Working to the Expert Group is a Technical Group and a Communications Group. Membership of the Expert Group includes representatives from the public sector, private sector companies, academia, and consultants.

Which role(s) do you foresee for the SDIC in INSPIRE development

  • submit reference material as input to the Drafting Teams
  • yes
  • participate in the review process
  • yes
  • contribute to cost/benefit analysis of the draft Implementing Rules
  • yes
  • implement pilot projects to test/revise/develop the draft Implementing Rules
  • yes
  • contribute to awareness raising and training
  • yes
    Geographic Domain
    So far, mainly UK and Ireland
    Societal Sector
    Not applicable.
    Specific Expertise
    Specific Expertise: 
    Previous Experience relevant for INSPIRE development
    DNF has experience in developing a RoadMap to facilitate the interoperability of data.
    Environmental application domains
    Primary Business
    Coordination and development of an industry standard for linking business information through geography.