In Europe a major recent development has been the entering in force of the INSPIRE Directive in May 2007, establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe to support Community environmental policies, and policies or activities which may have an impact on the environment.
INSPIRE is based on the infrastructures for spatial information established and operated by the 27 Member States of the European Union. The Directive addresses 34 spatial data themes needed for environmental applications, with key components specified through technical implementing rules. This makes INSPIRE a unique example of a legislative “regional” approach.
Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 March 2007 establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) was published in the official Journal on the 25th April 2007. The INSPIRE Directive entered into force on the 15th May 2007
To ensure that the spatial data infrastructures of the Member States are compatible and usable in a Community and transboundary context, the Directive requires that common Implementing Rules (IR) are adopted in a number of specific areas (Metadata, Data Specifications, Network Services, Data and Service Sharing and Monitoring and Reporting). These IRs are adopted as Commission Decisions or Regulations, and are binding in their entirety. The Commission is assisted in the process of adopting such rules by a regulatory committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a representative of the Commission (this is known as the Comitology procedure).