INSPIRE Knowledge Base

Thematic Plenaries

"Bringing sustainability and digitalisation together" - INSPIRE CONFERENCE 2020

Plenaries - 12/05/2020

Thematic Plenary I: Data for environmental policy

11:00 - 12:30

The challenge for the future lies in using digital technologies to drive the ecological transition agenda in Europe, avoiding an increase in waste production and energy use while creating new economic opportunities.

The advancement of these digital technologies and their applications present an opportunity to collect an unprecedented amount of data about the environment that can support decision-making and policy development. From a policy perspective, data is not only needed to better understand key societal challenges and how they interact to impact on other ambitions for sustainability, but will also provide the means to monitor progress.

The plenary will look at the green transition on national, European and global level and explore how digital solutions and the power of data address both environmental and socio-economic challenges at hand.

Thematic Plenary II: Towards (geospatial) data ecosystems

14:00 – 15:30

Data is an essential resource for economic growth, competitiveness, innovation, creation and society's progress in general. It is also crucial for supporting decisions for policy making and in the public sector.  Last, but not least, the current rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems is heavily dependent on the availability of large volumes of high-quality and semantically rich (annotated) training data.  Large amounts of data coming from sensors, social networks and professional/conventional data collection methods and the emergence of IoT together with increasing private investment in data collection and analytics, opens up new opportunities (e.g. for the public/citizen science and citizen generated content) but also challenges the traditional role of governments as primary producer of data.

Over the past 20 years, data infrastructures have been set up across Europe to support the sharing and reuse of data, e.g. for geospatial data (e.g. INSPIRE) or open government data. These traditional data infrastructures are evolving towards data ecosystems. A Data ecosystem could be defined as a complex socio-technical system of people, organisations, technology, policies, and data in a specific area or domain that interact with one another and their surrounding environment for a specific purpose. The main distinguishing feature of data ecosystems vs. data infrastructures is the cyclical process of data creation, sharing, analytics, value creation and use and the feedback loop between users and providers.

The plenary will focus on the question how data infrastructures, that have been set up over the past 20 years across Europe to support the sharing and reuse of data, e.g. for geospatial or open government data, can evolve towards data ecosystems. Europe has the ambitious goal to establish safe and sovereign European data ecosystems.  We would like to explore the whole data management cycle from feeding the data ecosystem with data to the final usage. Accordingly, we will try to answer what are the roles of different parties in the data management cycle (public sector, private sector and citizens) and how to build sustainable digital data ecosystems. The plenary will address the many open questions and challenges for this transition, including trust and sovereignty, privacy, security, governance, technology and platforms, and indeed changing business models.  

Thematic Plenary III: Applications and cross-cutting issues

16:00 – 17:30

Environmental policies have in the past years shifted from targeted policies towards integrated and systemic policy frameworks. Fundamental and sustainable transitions are needed to accomplish the goals behind these new frameworks. Since 2015 and prominently in 2020, EEA’s State of the Environment Report identified that ‘there is a gap between established monitoring, data and indicators and the knowledge required to support transitions’. These transitions are affecting many areas both nationally and internationally and entail ‘profound changes in dominant institutions, practices, technologies, policies, lifestyles and thinking’ over a long period of time.

The plenary will highlight recent trends in these transitions. It will provide examples of areas where progress has been made with the help of new concepts and technologies and through novel data management and communication approaches supported by modernised information technology. 

Guidance and implementation actions are being established under the Digital Europe process (EU data strategy, eGovernment action plan, modernised PSI and Inspire legislation …) as well as by most Member States. Open Data and Open Science initiatives are becoming operational and help pave the way to increase access and usage of data in ‘digital ecosystems’.