Technical output:
The objective of ‘technical interoperability’ is addressed through two main work areas, i.e. harmonised specifications and a common service architecture.

Information and data specifications
Under the programme, a set of specifications will be developed.

These specifications for pan-European products and services, will be primarily based on an analysis of the customer and market needs. These will need to be balanced with current national standards and specifications and other European and international developments (such as INSPIRE, CEN, ISO or OGC). The primary focus will be on meeting the requirements of users where we can already see a clear demand. This includes in priority many areas of EC policy, such as the Water Framework and Noise Directives, GMES and Galileo; and other commercial users, for example in the road transport, asset management and geo-marketing sectors.

The EuroSpec specifications will be developed in two levels:
The first general level will comprise definitions, rules and guidelines for all EuroGeographics products and services, defined as profiles of ISO/CEN standards. This level will be developed in close relationship of the work going on in INSPIRE and CEN.

The second level will be the information and data product specifications for the individual EuroGeographics products and services, that will comprise:

  • Common feature catalogues based on ISO 19110 feature cataloguing methodology
    Feature catalogues will be based on existing catalogues such as, for topographic features, the FACC data dictionary, and national feature catalogues. They will be developed for Base Reference Information as well as for Derived or Associated Reference Information;
  • Common EuroSpec schema documented in UML (as described by ISO TR 19103);
    the starting point of Topographic schema will be a GiMoDig global schema.
  • Common Quality Model, including minimum content specifications, quality requirements, conformance levels;
  • Distributed product specifications will be developed based on ISO 19131 Data product specifications. Distributed product specifications will be developed for EuroGlobalMap, EuroRegionalMap and other products based on common schemas.

Distributed services architecture
Technical developments, e.g. web feature serving, development of open standards, make it increasingly possible and realistic to integrate distributed data. In parallel, many of the NMCAs are re-engineering their databases and developing new delivery mechanisms which also facilitate greater interoperability.

EuroSpec will define and implement a distributed services architecture, allowing data to be accessed and maintained by numerous sources yet delivered through a unified system. The development of a distributed services architecture will involve researching, defining, creating and testing a prototype system for the maintenance of, and access to, harmonized reference information.

Data will be captured once and maintained at the national level by each member, and then transformed through a number of services to agreed European specifications. The designed architecture will funnel the distributed network of NMCAs through a EuroSpec portal or server through which customers will be able to access this up-to-date, harmonised pan-European reference information.

The design will build on previous successful work, and in particular on a distributed services architecture project - GiMoDig - led by the Finnish Geodetic Institute. The project has developed a model whereby location data is maintained by multiple NMCAs at national level, yet delivered seamlessly to mobile users through a common interface using real-time integration and generalisation.

Metadata Information about the different datasets held by our members is already available in the EuroMapFinder service. Phase two of the metadata service will be managed within the EuroSpec programme. It will gradually develop into a fully distributed service connected to our members’ national nodes and other metadata services across Europe.

Coordinate Reference Systems of use in Europe are available through a single portal maintained by BKG of Germany, already with some coordinate transformation parameters and tools. This CRS system will also evolve towards more extensive information and functionalities.

Business output: towards business interoperability
The core business output from the EuroSpec project will be a consistent pricing and licensing framework allowing access to, and use of, harmonised pan-European and cross-border data. This framework will take the needs of users into consideration while also recognising the need to respect the pricing models, intellectual property and legislation of each member country/state.
Feedback from the market, both end users and value added resellers, indicates that the EuroGeographics pricing and licensing policy should (ideally) meet the following requirements:

  • The policy should be simple, transparent, flexible and easy to maintain;
  • EuroGeographics pricing & licensing policy will be compliant with relevant European and national law;
  • Any source material provided by the NMCAs to EuroGeographics will remain the intellectual property of the respective NMCA;
  • Pricing and licensing levels should be appropriate to the intended use of the information;
  • Consistent conditions should apply between products available from EuroGeographics and for similar products available from the NMCAs;
  • Pricing levels should reflect the market ability to pay and the quality of the data;
  • Pricing discounts should apply for multi-user licences and licences taken out over the long term.