Cadastral parcels data theme within INSPIRE.

Blog Post created by fgil on Jan 14, 2015

The INSPIRE directive. Overview

Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishes an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Union (EC, 2007). It came into force on 15 May 2007 and its full implementation is required by 2019.

It has been known since then as INSPIRE Directive, and aims to establish an infrastructure for spatial information to support European Union environmental policies, and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment.

The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe is based on infrastructures for spatial information established and operated by the 28 sovereign Member States of the European Union. All the spatial data that is part of INSPIRE comes via the organisations responsible in the Member States and this EU-wide SDI is developed in a decentralised way, building on the SDIs and related activities established and maintained by the Member States (Craglia, 2014). In Figure 29, a group of seven INSPIRE competencies are listed and classified in three ranks (very low / low; average; and high / very high), illustrating the involvement levels in INSPIRE by the European Geo-ICT companies private sector (Cipriano, et al., 2013).

Figure 29 - INSPIRE competencies (Cipriano, et al., 2013)

The six principal objectives of INSPIRE are:

  • Data should be collected once and maintained at the level where this can be done most effectively;
  • It should be possible to combine seamlessly spatial information from different sources across Europe and share it between many users and applications;
  • It should be possible for information collected at one level to be shared between all the different levels, e.g. detailed for detailed investigations, general for strategic purposes;
  • Geographic information needed for good governance at all levels should be abundant and widely available under conditions that do not restrain its extensive use;
  • It should be easy to discover which geographic information is available, fits the needs for a particular use and under which conditions it can be acquired and used;
  • Geographic data should become easy to understand and interpret because it can be visualized within the appropriate context and selected in a user-friendly way.


According to (Craglia, 2014), the prime purpose of INSPIRE is to support environmental policy, and overcome barriers affecting the availability and accessibility of relevant data. These barriers include: inconsistencies in spatial data collection; lack or incomplete documentation of available spatial data; lack of compatibility among spatial datasets that cannot, therefore, be combined with others; incompatible SDI initiatives in the Member States that often function only in isolation; cultural, institutional, financial and legal barriers preventing or delaying the sharing of existing spatial data.The key elements of the INSPIRE Directive to overcome these barriers include (Craglia, 2014):


  • Metadata to describe existing information resources so that they can be more easily found and accessed;
  • Harmonisation of key spatial data themes needed to support environmental policies in the Union;
  • Agreements on network services and technologies to allow discovery, view, download of information resources, and access to related services;
  • Policy agreements on sharing and access, including licensing and charging;
  • Coordination and monitoring mechanisms.


Figure 30 - Knowledge of INSPIRE (Cipriano, et al., 2013)


Moreover, in Figure 30, according to (Cipriano, et al., 2013) a group of eight knowledge of INSPIRE categories are listed and classified in three ranks (very low / low; average; and high / very high) illustrating the awareness levels in INSPIRE by the European Geo-ICT companies private sector (Cipriano, et al., 2013).Therefore, INSPIRE is based on the infrastructures for spatial information established and operated by all Member States of the European Union. It addresses 34 spatial data themes (EC, 2008), divided in three annexes: annex I (9 themes, including cadastral parcels) and annex II (4 themes) mainly comprising reference data; and annex III (21 themes - thematic data). Their key components are specified through technical implementing rules.Furthermore, according to the report “INSPIRE Public Consultation 2014” (Joint Research Centre, 2014) where were presented the findings of the public consultation on INSPIRE organised by the European Commission in December 2013-February 2014, there was an almost unanimous view across all participants in the previously referred consultation that the objectives of INSPIRE of making spatial data and services more easily shared and used are still as pertinent as ever.In what concerns, the INSPIRE Directive in Portugal, it can be found a concise overview at “INSPIRE implementation in Portugal: the operational approach” (Reis, et al., 2012), “The role of R&D projects in the implementation of the INSPIRE directive in Portugal” (Reis, 2012) and “Monitoring and Reporting INSPIRE Directive in Portugal” (Reis, et al., 2013).The main reference about INSPIRE Directive in Portugal is the Decree-Law n. º 180/2009 (MAOTDR, 2009), of August 7, 2009, to which I make a brief reference in the following points. In summary, it:


  • Review the national spatial data infrastructure - National System for Geographic Information (SNIG);
  • Transpose the INSPIRE Directive into national law; and
  • Establishes rules for the creation of spatial data infrastructures in Portugal

According to (Geirinhas, et al., 2011), on 2011, the Portuguese strategy for INSPIRE implementation relied in four major vectors:


  • Organization: a major effort was placed in the creation of contact networks of public authorities, as the collaboration and joint involvement of national public authorities is considered a critical for the process success. The transposition enabled the identification of stakeholders’ contact points and the mandatory appointment of Metadata Managers;
  • Contents: Mainly focused on metadata through the creation of the National Metadata Profile and the development of a metadata production and editing tool – MIG Editor –made freely available to all. Moreover, IGP developed geowebservices for some of its spatial data that are available through SNIG;
  • Capacity Building: Training actions in relevant areas such as metadata and geowebservices have been undertaken - training actions have been organised for approximately 262 metadata managers and a training plan has been set up on geowebservices;
  • Dissemination: Performed through the INSPIRE-PT website, the contact point’s networks of public authorities and several public sessions organised in various locations around the country during recent years. It contributed to raise awareness on the INSPIRE concept and principles, spread information, disseminate developments already achieved within European SDI projects in which Portugal is participating and share knowledge associated to best practices.

Cadastral parcels data theme

In INSPIRE Directive Annex I, theme 6 the cadastral parcels are referred as areas defined by cadastral registers or equivalent (EC, 2011) (EC, 2009).

According to (Salzmann & Ernst, 2008) the cadastral parcel will be a core spatial data theme in the European SDI through the INSPIRE-directive.

In Figure 31, according to (Seifert, 2012) is presented the INSPIRE UML data model for cadastral parcels.

Figure 31 - INSPIRE UML data model for cadastral parcels (Seifert, 2012)

Moreover, in the INSPIRE context, cadastral parcels focus on the geographical part of cadastral data (e. g. they are only considered in INSPIRE scope if they are available as vector data) and will be mainly used as locators for geo-information in general, including environmental data. As much as possible, in the INSPIRE context, cadastral parcels should be forming a partition of national territory. Rights and owners are out of the INSPIRE scope, but buildings, land use, and addresses are considered in other INSPIRE themes.

The benefits of Cadastral Information for themes in INSPIRE Annexes II and III were specified by a joint working group consisting of members of the Permanent Committee on Cadastre (PCC) and EuroGeographics (Knowledge Exchange Network on Cadastre and Land Registry) (PCC; EuroGeographics, 2011)

Finally, as stated by (Martín-Varés & Salzmann, 2009) at the same time the ubiquitous presence of cadastres and land registries throughout Europe warrants the maintenance at the national level of the cadastral parcel and is at the basis of making the cadastral parcel a sustainable core element within the European spatial data infrastructure.

The arguments above are integrated and consolidated in the EuroGeographics vision on geospatial reference data presented in Figure 32.

Figure 32 - The EuroGeographics vision on geospatial reference data (Jakobsson, 2012)

PS: This text is extracted from my Master's Thesis in GIS and Science (published at http://hdl.handle.net/10362/13786) Dissertation's State of Art Chapter 2.


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