INSPIRE Knowledge Base

INSPIRE - What if...? sessions @ the 2017 Conference

Friday, September 8, 2017 - 00:00


Call for position papers for
"INSPIRE - What if…?" sessions at the INSPIRE Conference

On Friday, 8th September (from 9:00-12:30), we are organising two "INSPIRE - What if…?" sessions[1] at this year's INSPIRE Conference in Strasbourg. With this call, we are asking for position papers for these sessions.

Why these sessions?

INSPIRE implementation is now progressing across the EU, and INSPIRE data, services and principles are being proposed for ensuring interoperability across sectors. At the same time, new digital technologies (smartphones, 5G mobile networks, cloud computing, internet of things, e-platforms …) are transforming the economy and society and are imposing new policy challenges and opportunities. We would therefore like to take a step back and think about what the INSPIRE infrastructure could look like if we had to design it today, integrating new data sources and exploiting new ICT opportunities (with a time horizon for implementation by 2025-2030).

Following up from the successful "INSPIRE - What if...?" workshop at the OGC meeting in Delft in March, we would like to investigate a number of emerging issues in more depth, including

  • What if INSPIRE needs to be future-proofed? With changing boundary conditions (e.g. new European policies), user requirements (e.g. in a national context), technologies and new data sources (sensors, IoT), how can we ensure that the infrastructure is resilient and flexible enough to embrace and benefit from change (whatever it may be) and allow changes to be implemented at reasonable costs?
  • What if we wanted to more actively include non-administrative data providers into SDIs and INSPIRE (industry, citizens, researchers, NGOs etc.)? Who are the key actors (users, providers, intermediaries, initiatives), what are their specific assets, requirements and additions to SDIs, and what are the challenges and enablers (technical, organisationally, legally, ...)?
  • What if ‘success’ in implementing INSPIRE has many faces? How should we define success factors for INSPIRE, ensuring that this is more than just legal or technical "compliance"? How should (degrees of) success be measured (methods and tools)?
  • What if application developers didn't know our data existed or how to use it? How to make INSPIRE data more easily findable and usable through search engines and simple web applications? What roles could web standards play (e.g. dereferenceable http URIs, RESTful APIs and JSON) in addition to and on top of current SDI technologies and standards? How to create and publish good examples and reference implementations to make implementation easier?
  • What if we wanted to base all future evolution of SDIS, especially INSPIRE, on experiments? How could we create an environment (organisational as well as technical) for such experiments that can help assessing benefits and impacts of the proposed changes?

Submission guidelines

Position papers should be no longer than 400 words (roughly 1 page A4) and should address one or several of the questions mentioned above.

We welcome moderate and radical ideas as well as mid-term and long-term visons or projections on SDIs. The ultimate target of this workshop is a common manifesto on future vision and directions for SDIs, which we intend to publish openly in an appropriate journal.

Extended deadline

We have already selected a number of interesting papers for the INSPIRE - What if...? sessions at the INSPIRE Conference, but would like to add a few more.

We have therefore extended the deadline for submissions to 15th August. Please send your position papers to and


We will select a maximum of 8 speakers for the sessions at the conference (4 for each session). The selected speakers will be notified by 17th August.

What will happen at the Conference?

All selected speakers will be asked to state their position in 5 min speed presentations and then discuss them with the audience in small groups. The speakers will then be asked to present the main findings of their discussions and, where possible, suggestions for concrete follow-up actions to workshop attendees.

Position papers


Session organisers

Michael Lutz (JRC), Robert Tomas (JRC), Lars Bernard (TU Dresden), Robin Smith (JRC), Vanda Nunes de Lima (JRC)


[1] The title has been inspired by the blog and book of xkcd author Randall Monroe, where he provides "Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" – see