INSPIRE Knowledge Base

INSPIRE Data Specifications


One of the major goals of INSPIRE is to create harmonised spatial data sets that can be used seamlessly in cross-border applications. In order to reach this goal it is necessary to agree on common definitions for the different themes covered by INSPIRE. An approach has been agreed upon between all the INSPIRE stakeholders based on a series of international standards, i.e. the ISO 19100 series of geomatics standards. This common approach should guarantee that spatial data from different themes are defined and described in the same way and therefore can be easily exchanged and used for different purposes. If necessary, existing spatial data can/should be transformed into those agreed specifications for use in cross-border contexts.

This module discusses the scope and objectives of the INSPIRE data specifications. The module discusses the generic conceptual model which is based on the ISO 19100 series of standards in detail and provides examples of UML class diagrams for some of the INSPIRE data themes. The different types of metadata for spatial data sets are discussed as well as the general rules for transforming existing data sets into INSPIRE conformant data sets.

The training material consist of presentations, supporting documents and a weblecture. The module is a self-learning module.


This seminar contains the following modules/parts:

  1. Scope & objectives of INSPIRE data specifications
  2. The modelling framework for INSPIRE data specifications
  3. Development of INSPIRE data specifications
  4. Understanding the implementing rule and guidelines
  5. Data Specification example
Learning outcomes: 

After the training offer, the participant will be able to explain why INSPIRE requires data specifications (interoperability); identify the main elements of the INSPIRE architecture; explain the development process of INSPIRE data specifications; understand the main elements of the INSPIRE modelling framework (generic conceptual model); explain how data specifications have been modelled; read & understand the Technical Guidance documents including UML class diagrams; identify and describe the different levels of metadata (discovery, evaluation, use); and to understand the process of data transformation and start using data transformation tools to transform data into INSPIRE compliant data.

Intended Audience: 

This seminar aims at GI professionals, ICT professionals and managers who need to understand the process of transforming data conform the requirements of the INSPIRE rules and guidelines.


Prior knowledge: no explicit pre-requisites are required. However, participants should have a basic understanding of the INSPIRE directive or Spatial Data Infrastructures (Introduction to INSPIRE).

Training format: 

PDF documents, presentations, Weblecture. The module is a self-learning module.

Expected Workload: 
4 hours

Earlier versions of this training module have been developed within the context of the EnviSDI Summer School on SDI for environmental datasets in 2010 and 2011.


Author: Diederik Tirry, KU Leuven. The material is provided under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (

Training Category: 
1. Context knowledge for INSPIRE