FOR NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION SYSTEMS
AND TOOLS FOR DATA HARVESTING AT EU LEVEL
Final products of the project
Below the final report with annexes. Annex K contains all country fiches as a separate document (go to “Country fiches” to download the individual country fiches).
The annexes J and I containing the Guidance and the Feasibilty Study are also available as a seperate download.
For years the European Commission has been promoting the development of openly accessible environmental information at all levels. The Directive 2003/4/EC on Access to Environmental Information, and the European Spatial Data Infrastructure Directive INSPIRE-2007/2/EC set the legal framework on the subject.
The number of systems, tools, databases, and repositories, as result of this active promotion is substantial. These systems have however been developed for specific uses and purposes. This means, they differ appreciably in anticipated use, type of user addressed, complexity, connectivity, usability, completeness, quality, and other aspects. In addition, the legal obligation to report and monitor throughout the full environmental domain is showing a scattered landscape of different environmental management information systems linked to specifications of the regulatory framework. Since these information systems are intended for common use to support the environmental acquis, aligning these data would be a major benefit.
The challenge is to retrieve information on environmental data scattered about different locations and systems, and to assess examples of best practice of active dissemination of environmental information. And also to explore, develop and test tools for data harvesting and data mining in an effective way to collect environmental data and information.
..exerpts from the final report..
The results of the study can be used to reach a certain impact on the objectives set out. However, what is needed goes beyond what is concluded. For an effective approach, tailoring the actions is required as follow up to the recommendations proposed. Consider the cultural, political and physical conditions exist. Common understanding is crucial. This means having a common picture on targets, contemplating the notion that technology is not a real barrier, showing the willingness to share, assuring transparency (show & explain), building trust & faith to work together successfully is needed.
Show it to the world: disseminate the results, raise awareness and ensure it is and can be used. Enforce it through collaborating and supporting each other and, above all, including the human factor when exposing the work. To keep it simple, start with the quick wins, use standards, provide the proper tooling and facilities, gain knowledge, build capacity and share successes.
Data and information exchange will be a natural response to stimulate the data economy and to create a competitive advantage. This is already reflected in Europe’s Digital Agenda part of the Digital Single Market. Put more emphasis on digital transformation in the Member States, as it is an incentive for active dissemination. Since technology is available and its implementation is possible, this is not a problem. Data policy, competence and capacity are the most important instruments to move on.
Based on the evaluation of the EIS and the examples of good practices that were found, guidance is provided to develop a new EIS or to improve an existing EIS regarding governance, content, usability and sharing was developed to ensure active dissemination of environmental information effectively. The main recommendations can be found in the guidance document .
Harvesting for reporting
Future use for e-Reporting is the road ahead. First experiences are positive, but it also shows that, besides the technology, there are conditions to be set to make it really successful.
- EIS should be well structured and machine readable.
- e-Reporting should contain the data that is used to report.
- INSPIRE data should be connected to the directives for which e-Reporting is to be carried out.
- Provide domain-specific platforms to accelerate harmonisation of data.
- Accelerate the use of standards by setting up vocabularies, thesauri and the like.
- Explore the use of linked data to publish environmental data as SPARQL endpoints.
- Explore the use of text mining software to harvest from numerous sources.
- Explore the use of semantic tags for the information published on EIS and EU portals