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Environmental reporting via INSPIRE download services - to harvest or not to harvest?

Jose Miguel Rubio Iglesias and Christian Ansorge

(Submission #278)


Since the early 2000s, the online transfer of environmental data for reporting has been usually following the principle of active pushing. This means that the reporting party provides the required reporting information, which in many cases may include geospatial datasets, via uploading them on a central platform within a certain deadline. In particular, the European Environment Information Network (EIONET) is using since 2002 the Reportnet infrastructure, which allows for an online, centralised delivery of environmental reporting data to the European Environment Agency (EEA). With the progressive implementation of INSPIRE there is an increasing availability of network (web) services and, in particular, downloading services (such as Web Feature Services) providing access to harmonised, environmental spatial data as required by the Directive and its binding Implementing Rules. Since in many cases INSPIRE datasets are also covered by other sectorial environmental legislation and their reporting obligations, the availability of downloading services offers an opportunity to streamline the reporting processes and avoid double reporting (i.e. separate reporting of the same geospatial datasets to fulfil obligations arising both from INSPIRE and a specific environmental legal instrument). The potential of re-using download services for environmental reporting has already been signalled by both INSPIRE and EIONET reporting communities in several consultation meetings; likewise, the recent Commission Staff Working SWD(2016) 188 final, “Towards a Fitness Check of EU environmental monitoring and reporting”, also highlighted the opportunity of using the implementation of INSPIRE for streamlining and modernising reporting and identifies the need to develop effective tools for data harvesting, reducing thus the need for detailed reporting. While many benefits can be recognised, web harvesting solutions also present various challenges in operational settings, both of technical and legal nature. It could ultimately result in an important paradigm shift in the reporting workflows (i.e. towards a “pull” process in the context of a decentralised, multipurpose reporting system), having an impact on all organisational actors involved. Therefore, an analysis of whether benefits outweigh drawbacks in different reporting cases needs to be performed. The presentation will briefly present the current EEA e-reporting workflows and then discuss challenges and opportunities, risks and benefits of using INSPIRE web services harvesting as a data transfer mechanism for e-reporting.


Topic Area:  [3.2] End user applications on the use of INSPIRE with a focus on regulatory monitoring and reporting
Abstract Type:  Speed Presentation (5')

Additional Fields

Comments:   e-reporting, network services, download services, data harvesting, EEA, EIONET, reportnet

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