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Comprehensive code-lists and code-list management

For reporting and providing Inspire conform information we are presently referred to a number of code-lists. We translate our monitoring data to these code-lists for every report. For marine information, and environmental data in general, code lists are of vital importance. We currently experience a lack of international standardisation on code lists for the marine (annex III-theme 15 and Marine strategy framework directive art 19.3)  as well as the fresh/inland water environment.


For the current European monitoring data exchange we use many code-lists:

  • SDN/BODC (Seadatanet)

  • Reportnet /Eionet (MSFD/WFD reporting)

  • OSPAR (Oslo Paris convention)

  • ICES (international council for exploration of the seas)

  • TMAP

  • International river conventions (Rhine, Meuse, Scheldt, Ems, etc.)

  • and many others

While the contents of these code-lists are managed by user groups there is no comprehensive management on the existing code-lists. As a result code-lists in general have very different quality levels and may overlap thematically.


Within the Netherlands water management authorities have established a common semantic standard for the marine and inland environment: Aquo. In our experience the management of code lists requires a formal procedure involving users, companies doing the technical implementations, and fellow standards bodies. The standard is established in the Netherlands as one of the standards in the national standards system by the Forum Standaardisatie (forum for standardization). The standard covers all aspects of data quality, chemical, biological and more. Our experiences with management and content can be a basis to build a European multilingual semantic standard upon.

We are interested in your views on code-list management and the need for a comprehensive management cycle. Is there a need to establish a single European code-list for environmental monitoring? We plan to have a presentation in the Inspire conference in september to discuss this.  

  • Chris SCHUBERT

    By Chris SCHUBERT

    Dear Edwin,

    thanks starting this topic. I want to provide just for information two aspect on how to deal with code list management, first on the European Commission Level and second on a national solution.

    For change proposals of code lists, code lists values there is an official pathway to submit such changes. Within the MIWP-6 Registers&Registries we created a document on roles: If there is a mature domain consensus with in the M-A Cluster about such change proposals it will sure count for INSPIRE code list changes .

    All INSPIRE code lists include a tag/item for the extensibility. If code lists are extensible, your are able to provide and use such items which defined in an other vocabulary. Either with a) an own Registry Service on the national or domain level (like BODC) or b) an existing vocabulary service. Again in MIWP-6 Registers&Registries, a Register of Registries (RoR) was developed:

    All additional needed or much more meaningful code list items can be published here. If more details needed on this, pleas let me know.

  • Edwin WISSE

    Dear Chris,

    Thank you for your answer. My post was not meant as criticism to the currect management of the Inspire code-lists or the extensibility options. But the current options for code-lists management were missing from my post so thanks for adding that important information. 

    The scope of the extension code-lists goes beyond the scope of the Inspire code-lists. The extension code-lists add more than national domain level information. The intention of the post was to find out whether information managers in other countries also the experience difficulties using different code-lists that the Dutch information managers mention. The difficulty lies in the fact that users need to use several extension code-lists.

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Marine & Atmosphere

Marine & Atmosphere

Oceanographic Geographical Features, Sea Regions, Atmospheric Conditions and Meteorological Geographical Features