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Benefit or burden? Publishing Article 17 Habitats Directive reports using INSPIRE data specifications

Bas Vanmeulebrouk, Igor Staritsky, Martijn Boss, Anne Schmidt and Inge La Rivière

(Submission #245)


The INSPIRE directive aims to benefit European public authorities (and others) by making available relevant, harmonized and high quality geographic information that support s policies and activities impacting the environment. Use cases have been selected to demonstrate the benefits of the INSPIRE Directive. One of the use cases of the themes “Habitats and biotopes” and “Species distribution” is the reporting obligation of the Habitats Directive.

The Habitats Directive ensures the conservation of a wide range of rare, threatened or endemic species. Every six years, member states are obliged to provide a report with an assessment of conservation status of these habitats and species to the European Commission. Hence the challenge to create INSPIRE compliant network services for these reports to assess if INSPIRE should be implemented for the next reports due in 2017.

In order to be able to implement INSPIRE for the next round of reports a number of issues must be addressed. First of all, the INSPIRE data specifications must be extended to be able to map the reporting formats and data specifications of the Habitats Directive to the INSPIRE data specifications. Secondly, INSPIRE compliant network services must be created. Since these network services are not needed for the current reporting process, this may require an additional investment from the member state, especially if the INSPIRE quality of service requirements must be met. And thirdly the reporting process itself must be addressed. The current process – in which member states upload the files which make up a report to Reportnet – must be replaced by a new one - in which member states register a new report and Reportnet downloads the related datasets. This has both technical and legal consequences: a mechanism must be created to establish whether the download is correct and the member state has fulfilled its reporting obligation.

In our presentation, we will discuss how these issues can be overcome, leading to the conclusion that INSPIRE can be implemented for the next Habitat Directive reports. Question is though why member states would want to do this. Compared to the current process, INSPIRE compliant network services provide little added value from a reporting point of view. Other cross border use cases for those network services are needed to justify the efforts needed to change to a new INSPIRE based process.


Topic Area:  [1.2] Nature and biodiversity
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

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