Good Practice documents
The development of INSPIRE foresaw the creation of an initial set of legally-binding Implementing Rules (IRs) and Technical Guidelines (TGs). As technology evolved since INSPIRE’s creation and as experience is being gained through the implementation process, the need for new TGs emerged (e.g. for download services for observations and coverages), alongside a range of related tools that can maximise the benefits of the implementation process. These were developed in 2015 and 2016 under dedicated actions under the Maintenance and Implementation Work Programme.
At the same time, in the Thematic Clusters discussion forums, good practices for specific implementation issues (e.g. how to create persistent identifiers), opportunities offered by emerging technologies and standards (e.g. Vector Tiles, OGC SensorThings API) or extensions/profiles for specific application domains are being shared and discussed. Also, work in Member States, by solution providers or in research projects often yield interesting results that implementers in other Member States could benefit from.
At least three types of good practice can already be observed:
- Good practice related to INSPIRE implementation, where practitioners are extending and evolving the key elements of INSPIRE to support their communities’ needs, such as extended data models.
- Good practice related to tools and techniques useful for INSPIRE implementation which may not fully cover all requirements but that can help link INSPIRE with other initiatives, including the use of different encodings to share INSPIRE-related data.
- Good practice related to technologies that build on top of INSPIRE, but go beyond the requirements of the IRs and TGs in order to improve the usability / usefulness of the infrastructure (e.g. by sharing spatial data on the web).
In order to promote such good practices to the wider INSPIRE implementation community, a light-weight procedure was defined for proposing, documenting, reviewing and publishing such good practices. The procedure also defined how to further develop, where appropriate, a good practice into a TG. This procedure does not replace, but rather builds on existing resources to support the INSPIRE community while providing documented evidence and a defined link between current implementation practices & needs and the MIG.
Procedure for proposing & endorsing good practices
The procedure includes the following six steps:
- Step 1Initiation
The procedure is initiated by a group of practitioners that would like to promote a specific implementation solution that can be beneficial for INSPIRE, as defined above. They are provided with a template o describe in "good practice fiche" the nature of the solution, the benefits it has or should provide and a reference to a detailed description of the solution, as well as a number of other "metadata". Where possible, the fiche also includes evidence that the solution has been put into practice, ideally in more than one context (either more than one domain or more than one country), and that the solution has received broader support, by referring to online discussion or documentation of the activity in an appropriate publicly available resource (e.g. GitHub, Thematic Clusters platform)
- Step 2Submission as good practice candidate
The implementation solution is submitted to the MIG-T for endorsement as a good practice candidate. For this step, implementation evidence and community support can still be limited. If endorsed, the solution is listed on the INSPIRE Knowledge Base as a candidate good practice. The MIG-T may also ask for further clarification or improvements of the good practice or reject the good practice, e.g. because it is out of scope, not relevant (for INSPIRE implementation) or not deemed a good implementation practice
- Step 3Outreach
The proponents host a webinar to explain the main features and expected benefits of the good practice solution and reflect any pertinent feedback from stakeholders in the good practice.
- Step 4Submission
The implementation solution is submitted to the MIG for endorsement as a good practice. For endorsement at this stage, it is crucial to demonstrate evidence that the solution has been put into practice, ideally in more than one context (either more than one domain or more than one country), and that the solution has received broad community support.
- Step 5Legal scrutiny
Following endorsement by the MIG, a rapid assessment of the Good Practice is performed by the European Commission in order to ensure the alignment of the technical provisions with the legal framework. Feedback is provided to the MIG and the proposers, which confirms the proposed approach or suggests modifications.
- Step 6Feedback
The good practice repository will feature a user feedback function to collect detailed feedback (for improvement), but also indications on where the good practice is already used in practice. This would give implementers an idea of which good practices are particularly relevant and widely adopted.
This ‘INSPIRE incubator’ process allows all of the community to both keep abreast of technical developments relevant to INSPIRE implementation and its widespread use and to allow good practice to be introduced in a formal way for Member State and Commission consideration. In some cases, if agreed by the MIG, widely adopted good practices could also lead to the development of new or extension of existing TGs.