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PS: Suppressing Geometry Information

During the work on extending the INSPIRE PS Theme for CDDA Reporting to the EEA we've come upon the problem of how to deal with suppressed geometry information. While formally all protected sites should provide geometry, there are cases where the MS refuse due to the sensitive nature of the information. Within CDDA we've come to the agreement that if this is the case:

However, as this problem could come up in different contexts, it could make sense to foresee a mechanism for this at the PS level. Options we discussed within the CDDA project:

  • make geometry voidable
  • provide an optional attribute to show that the geometry provided is a dummy value (along the lines of how we're using the CDDA attribute spatialDataAvailability)

In addition, it would make sense to find a consensus on what type of dummy geometry to use. Options we discussed within the CDDA project:

  • Provide the bounding box of the MS
  • Use 0,0 and hope nobody plots all this on the equator somewhere south of the UK

Does anybody have further ideas on this, or additions to these requirements?




    By Brian MACSHARRY

    Hi all

    I agree with Kathi's examples. In practical terms what happens are the following:

    Where there are protected sites deemed to be sensitive by the national agency they either do not submit the sites or they submit them but ask they be restricted from public access.

    The next case is that for potentially several reasons a Member State may not have the boundaries of a protected site even though that site may formally exist. To date via the CDDA it has been possible to submit a tabular list of sites and a spatial set of sites. For example in the CDDA v.13 (public version) there are 100 181 sites in the database, of these 100 712 have boundaries however some of these are restricted from public dissemination which leaves 93 123 sites made available spatially.


    Portraying these restricted sites as having a 0,0 point may be technically an option however 0,0 is an actual coordinate so we are providing incorrect data.

    If we can find a solution as Kathi says which allows Member States to fulfil INSPIRE and their reporting obligations that would be the ideal.



  • Iurie MAXIM


    I think that the best is to make the geometry voidable and the reason for not providing the geomtery to be a codelist with at least the following values:
    - sensitive data
    - site does not have known boundaries

    @Stefania: Thank you for the hint. We did not encounter this error when validating the schema, it seems that you are using a more complex validator that validate even the fact that the xsds are not harmonized.

  • Stefania MORRONE

    By Stefania MORRONE

    Hi all,

    with reference to BR group discussion about online validation of datasets, I would like to know your opinion about the following consideration:

    Since from a 'conformance to the schema' point of view, to provide a site with <ps:geometry> element containing no <gml:polygon> sub-element is formally correct (because geometry  is present and not void),could this be the searched workaround for sites whose geometry cannot be provided?

    As an example consider the following polygon which validates successfully against PS schema requirement

    <ps:ProtectedSite gml:id="RONPA0968">
    <gml:MultiSurface gml:id="Geom.RO.ENV.PS.RONPA0968"/>
  • Iurie MAXIM

    Hi Stephania,

    If still an opinion is needed, I would say: Yes, this is the solution to provide all the information about a site except the geometry and it validates against the PS schema and is fulfiling the current TG requirements.

    Best regards,

    Iurie Maxim


  • Katharina SCHLEIDT

    By Katharina SCHLEIDT

    Hi all,

    I also like the solution, it works and makes all of our lives easier!

    The problem will still be how to differentiate between those users who may have access to the coordinates and those who only get the gml:id, but I think we can only get to where we all want to go on a step-by-step basis.

    However, I think this problem is again wider than just PS - wondering if we shouldn't start a list of candidate problems for the hopefully new technical cluster facilitator - this would be a good candidate (together with the various other bits like the requirement 52 dilemma, sane xlinks, ...)



  • Iurie MAXIM


    It seems that currently the solution to have a service that provides only to some users the geometry is to have two services, one public and another one with autenticated users and/or accessible only from a limited number of IPs.

    In any case if looking at the article 13 of INNS DIR, MS have no obligation to provide  information that may affect the environment trough INSPIRE view or download services at all. This mean that if INSPIRE download services will be used for reporting obligations as well (as it should be actualy the case even if the DIR claims that is not the case), than, MS have no obligation to provide such sensitive data trough INSPIRE Network Services, so MS will need to provide such data trough other means (i.e.: valid GML upload in CDR ONLY the sensitive data).

    Article 13  of INNS DIR:


    By way of derogation from Article 11(1), Member States may limit public access to spatial data sets and services through the services referred to in points (b) to (e) of Article 11(1), or to the e-commerce services referred to in Article 14(3), where such access would adversely affect any of the following:


    (h) the protection of the environment to which such information relates, such as the location of rare species.


    2. The grounds for limiting access, as provided for in paragraph 1, shall be interpreted in a restrictive way, taking into account for the particular case the public interest served by providing this access. In every particular case, the public interest served by disclosure shall be weighed against the interest served by limiting or conditioning the access. Member States may not, by virtue of points (a), (d), (f), (g) and (h) of paragraph 1, limit access to information on emissions into the environment.

    3. Within this framework, and for the purposes of the application of point (f) of paragraph 1, Member States shall ensure that the requirements of Directive 95/46/EC are complied with.


    It would be very good indeed to start such a page to collect links to various discutions with issues that were identified and that are affecting all the data themes, Stefania already started this for PS at, so simmilar it can be done for Cross-themes issues.


  • Stefania MORRONE

    By Stefania MORRONE

    Dear all,

    it is now not possible to include sites without geometry in the new CDDA. Reason behind is that statistics are done mainly on the spatial data and also WDPA excludes sites without spatial geometry, so it is not relevant for CDDA reporting to collect that information.



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