Tag Archive for 'Spain'

Us & them

BEV shopsWhile others are offering an API or are working on even free access to public geodata, we are releasing a new portal with 5 different shop versions for public tax funded geodata.

Let alone that the world record attempt for using the smallest possible font size in an unlucky Cheetah UI rip-off isn’t quite state of the art in the year 2008. Especially not in times were public agencies are asked (by law!) to fulfill basic WAI requirements.

Difusión pública de la información geográfica

Escudo de EspañaLast week an interesting email dropped in my inbox. It links to a decree of the Spanish Ministry of Public Works (Ministerio de Fomento) about the Spanish geodata policy.

One paragraph of the decree is obviously talking about the INSPIRE directive, guaranteeing free public access to basically nothing more than metadata and pretty overview thumbnails of available public geodata.

While most European national mapping agencies stop at that point by just implementing catalog services and pretty map thumbnails, the Spanish government goes further: although I’m afraid my Spanish is not good enough to interpret legal documents 100% correctly, I think the email author is right saying the document talks about free access and (non-commercial, attribution) use of Spanish public geodata.

Artículo 3. Servicios de acceso, análisis y procesamiento en línea y distribución.

3. La descarga por medios telemáticos en línea, utilizando los servicios de información geográfica habilitados por el CNIG, para uso no comercial realizada por el usuario de la información geográfica producida por el IGN, será gratuita.

Artículo 7. Uso libre y gratuito.

La licencia de uso libre y gratuito será única y tendrá el siguiente alcance:

a) Exclusivamente para usos no comerciales.

b) Su concesión llevará implícito el compromiso de citar al Instituto Geográfico Nacional como autor y propietario de la información.

This is a MAJOR step for European geodata policy and it’ll be interesting to see if other governments will follow the excellent Spanish example.

The JRC recently published the report “Socio-Economic Impact of SDI” (62 pages pdf), clearly emphasizing the benefits of free public geodata:

8.2 Political and social impact

The socio-political impact areas of IDEC, in line with the objectives of the INSPIRE programme, affect a broad array of users, especially those linked to the public sector and to serving the general public (e.g. public administration, public services, and universities), such that the entire community benefits from access to information and spatial data. Nevertheless, this is an ongoing process that demands a change in mentality towards a culture of shared data, in which the contributions of each party enrich the whole and can be shared by all. Freeing this information will ultimately enable everyone to prosper from general social and economic development.

So there is hope that one day European taxpayers can freely access and use the products created with their own tax money.


After more than 2 years suffering without real holidays I spent the last 3 weeks in

It was so good to see all the people again who I know from my ERASMUS year there in Madrid. Unfortunately the one week I spent in Madrid passed by way too fast. It’s a pity that I couldn’t meet everyone like I thought. I just have to visit Madrid más a menudo :-)
Because the weather in Madrid during Jul/Aug is horrible (hot like in hell) I went up to the north, to Galicia.

Cabo de FinisterreWHAT AN AMAZING PROVINCE! The atlantic offers wonderful deserted beaches, it’s not as hot like in the rest of Spain, you find a beautiful undulating green landscape between lovely historic cities. Somehow Galicia has a kind of mystic atmosphere. Maybe it’s produced by all the historic buildings up there, the feeling of the celtic roots of that part of Spain, or because you’ll find the end of the world in Galicia. It’s simply wonderful, highly recommended and for sure I’ll go there again.

ICC 2005 La CoruñaThe third week I spent at the International Cartographic Conference in La Coruña. Highly interesting too see what’s going on around the world and where we are standing in Austria. Well, after negotiations concerning geodata policy have stopped here and there is no hope that the responsible parties will come to an agreement without having pressure from EU/INSPIRE or our government (which obviously is not interested in geodata policy), you come to the conclusion that Austria is still a developing country regarding NSDIs. Attending a few international presentations about NSDIs, I saw that we are at least 5 years behind the development of most (european) countries. Especially the initiatives in Spain surprised me and I was pretty impressed how things are working there. But in general is the ICA too academic and has therefore a too scientific approach for me.