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INSPIRE Directive

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What is INSPIRE?

The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE) Directive aims to create European Union (EU) spatial data infrastructure for EU environmental policies and policies or activities that may have an impact on the environment. The Directive places requirements on public bodies that produce, receive, manage or update spatial datasets that cover all of the land and marine areas over which the State has to create such EU-related spatial data infrastructure. This European spatial data infrastructure will:

  • enable public sector organisations to share environmental spatial information
  • facilitate public access to spatial information across Europe
  • assist in policy-making across boundaries

INSPIRE is based on the infrastructures for spatial information established and operated by EU member states. The Directive has 34 spatial data themes under which datasets are categorised.

The INSPIRE Directive (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 Directive) came into force on 15 May 2007. It is to be implemented in various stages. Full implementation is expected by 2021.

The Directive was transposed into Irish legislation by means of S.I. No. 382/2010 - European Communities (Establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Policy Information in the European Community (INSPIRE)) Regulations 2010 as amended by SI No 280 of 2018.

The quality of spatial data infrastructure depends on its availability, which is collected and linked (geo-referenced) to location. It is then processed and published. In Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency maintains most environmental data (for example, emission measurements, biodiversity observations or environmental quality data).  

The Directive also places a responsibility on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to put in place structures to coordinate the contributions of all with an interest or involvement in infrastructure covered by the Directive. The Minister is also required to provide regular reports to the European Commission.

What type of environmental data does this cover?

The Directive lists 34 different themes under which datasets are categorised. The themes are grouped into annexes. Each theme has a different deadline by which a dataset must be provided to the EU.

How will my organisation implement INSPIRE?

The INSPIRE Directive requires Member States to use common Implementing Rules (IR) in specific areas to ensure spatial data are compatible, usable and can be used seamlessly in cross-border applications.

Information for implementers, including a roadmap to full implementation of the Directive

The key milestones for implementation are set out below.

Milestone Date Description
23 November 2017

Implementation of Commission Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 of 23 November 2010, implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. This is about the interoperability of spatial datasets and services for other Annex I spatial datasets still in use at the date of adoption.

04 April 2018 Implementation of Commission Regulation (EU) No 102/2011 of 4 February 2011 amending Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 implementing Directive 2007/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. This is about the interoperability of spatial datasets and services for other Annex I spatial datasets still in use at the date of adoption.
21 October 2020   Other Annex II and III spatial datasets available in accordance with IRs for Annex II and III.
10 December 2021 All relevant spatial data services that shall be conformant with Annexes VI and (where practicable) VII of Commission Regulation (EU) No 1089/2010 as amended by Regulation (EU) No 1312/2014 of 10 December 2014 (...) as regards interoperability of spatial data services.

Where can I find Ireland’s Inspire data?

Ireland’s INSPIRE data can be found at GeoPortal

GeoPortal is managed by Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi)

Who do I contact about INSPIRE in Ireland?

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is responsible for implementing the INSPIRE Directive in Ireland. The department’s project team holds regular project meetings to assess progress and report to the European Commission. 

For more information, please email: Inspire.IE@housing.gov.ie

Where can I find further information on the entire project?

The European INSPIRE website contains information on the Directive’s technical components and on implementation across Europe.

Monitoring and Reporting indicators for Ireland can be viewed here INSPIRE in your Country > Ireland 

INSPIRE Maintenance and Implementation Group (MIG) has two official expert groups made-up of representatives from each European country:

  • Maintenance and Implementation Group (MIG) - policy
  • Maintenance and Implementation Technical Group (MIG-T) - technical

MIG and MIG-T meet on a regular basis, meeting minutes are available here: