The task of achieving data interoperability is complex, requiring careful management and collaboration in order to gain mutual benefit. The programme of work will evolve based upon experience gained, but has started with well defined and focused activities to ensure staged delivery of a complex programme.

The graph below summarizes the main operational parts of the EuroSpec Programme, where the vertical constituents – generally organised as Projects – are interconnected through the horizontal constituents – generally structured as EuroGeographics Expert Groups. The position of each constituent within the Programme is briefly described below, while the details of each activity can be found in their own respective sections of this web site.

The Projects
The Projects are the ‘vertical’ building blocks of the programme, addressing all aspects of a specific domain. They usually integrate work packages on user requirements, specifications, services architecture, business and legal issues, as well as prototyping and testing, in order to bring the intended product or service as close as possible to its operational implementation and the users’ expectations. A number of EuroSpec projects are now at different stages of progress, others will be added as appropriate to answer other well identified requirements.

With 50% funding under the eContent programme, the EuroRoadS project began in March 2004. This key project within EuroSpec will advance the creation of a standardised, seamless pan-European digital road data infrastructure. The consortium includes NMCAs, National Road Authorities, private industry and academic research, and will deliver common road data specifications, a working prototype of a service based on distributed information sources, and a plan for the pan-European implementation and exploitation of the infrastructure. (more)

Built on the back of the Swiss metadata system, further developments continued on the EuroGeographics metadata portal, EuroMapFinder. Version 1 of the service was launched in June 2005, as an information service based on a central metadata database, remotely updated. A unique national node connected to the EuroMapFinder service proves and test the feasibility of a fully distributed architecture, based on international standards and exchange protocols, which implementation is the goal of EuroMapFinder version 2, to be developed from the end of 2005 on. (more)

Reference Information Specifications for Europe (RISE), funded by the 6th Framework Programme, will be a core project under EuroSpec. Using the Water Framework Directive as an example application, the project team will develop specifications for the water and elevation data themes, and guidelines for repeatable capabilities for the development of harmonised European information product specifications. The project is due to start in summer/autumn 2005, and is the first joint project of EuroGeographics with OGC-Europe. (more)

EuroGeoNames is a proposal for a project that will initiate steps towards a distributed network of multi-lingual geographical names. The project partners currently analyse members’ existing geographic names databases, assess the market for such information to define a solid business case and prepare for a the second phase of the project to be fully defined by the autumn 2005, for an expected kick-off mid 2006. (more)

Edge-matching at borders is an issue for all pan-European products. This could potentially be resolved through the creation of a definitive national boundaries database. During 2004, two workshops were held to discuss such a project’s value and scope, and it was agreed to launch EuroBoundaries in 2005. (more)

The Expert Groups
The Expert Groups are the ‘horizontal’ constituents of the programme, addressing issues common to the different projects, providing a framework for the projects to develop in consistency with each other and with the general policies and strategies. The Expert Groups, potentially composed of experts from all EuroGeographics member NMCAs, are the cement that holds together the programme constituents towards achieving the common goal of interoperability. In particular the Expert Groups have a key role into linking together:

  • all the various EuroSpec activities,
  • all the EuroGeographics members,
  • and the EuroSpec programme with the external world.

Legal and Commercial
The group addresses issues of common interest such as the impact of the directive on Public Sector Information, or privacy implications relating to personal information and pricing and licensing. The main work includes the maintenance of project agreements for product creation and distribution, and development of guidelines and strategy for business interoperability of distributed databases. (more)

Information and Data Specifications (IDS)
Newly created in 2005 to implement the EuroSpec strategy, this group will develop harmonised specifications for pan-European and cross-border reference information. This comprises feature and attribute catalogue, data modelling, exchange formats and products specifications. (more)

Distributed Services Architecture (DSA)
Created in parallel to the IDS group, this DSA group will design the architecture and functionalities for the EuroSpec services to provide pan-European and cross-border users with the seamless reference information and services they need, from the distributed national data sources. (more)

While the Expert Groups in general are defined as ‘horizontal’ constituents of EuroSpec, because of their cementing role, the Expert Group on Quality is even ‘more horizontal’ as its remit applies to all the other Expert Groups as well. Quality permeates the whole programme, and its significance is highly recognised within the EuroSpec strategy. (more)

The group pursues its activities surrounding quality management, data quality, quality assurance and standards. The group also researches and publishes best practices in reports based on benchmarking on various topics in a different NMCA every year. (more)

The group continues to work closely with EUREF. In partnership with JRC of the EC, a workshop was held on defining the vertical reference system, the next step towards a unified coordinate system for Europe. The group has also updated the online coordinate reference system service and will continue to do so, adding more information and functionalities. (more)

Cadastre and Land Registry
Also initiated in 2005, this group is addressing the issues specific to Cadastre and Land Registration. To date this ExG has set up three working groups in order to assess three families of issues, and define and plan any further work that would be required. The three working groups are: Vision, Cadastral Parcels, and Information Resources. (more)

Research potentially supports all items of the EuroSpec, either specific (for the projects) or of general interest. No Expert Group has been formally set up on research, but a joint research action plan is being elaborated with EuroSDR to identify the EuroSpec main research requirements and interdependencies, and act upon them.