[geo-discuss] Fw: Re: Fw: INSPIRE Democratic Process 1/2006

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 25 11:30:46 UTC 2006

I had an very interesting discussion the other week, with someone who's worked closely with, but relatively neutral to, the Commission and various National Mapping Agencies.

I raised the concerns discussed here and by Chris Corbin's diligent communication; The legislative process has been far from transparent, and that ambiguity over the nature of public access and recoup of costs could lead to a dreadful situation like the expensive licensing in the UK.

He felt that in practical terms, this was unlikely. National governments are committed to the spirit of open and free access to geodata. Their main concern is not costs, but security. There is a need to review the nature and level of detail in layers released to the public. For example, detailed data on dykes in the Netherlands could expose vulnerabilities and potential terrorism targets. Which I must admit does seem a valid concern. Yet, security concerns are the favorite obstructionist tactic of governments everywhere, so there's a danger of intentional or unintentional delay in public release.  

[ As an aside, security concerns are the reason map making is a licensable activity in many countries -- governments need assurances that the level of data released in not threatening. I thought this was interesting in light of projects like OpenStreetMap. The level of detail generated, and potentially generated, by OSM would probably not trigger any alarms. Still it would be good to know more about the specifics, if anyone was aware. ]

There is another piece of legislation, or perhaps a treaty, among countries containing watersheds of the Danube and Rhine, covering a number facets including environment, commerce, and mapping. (Sorry, I don't recall the name of this agreement -- any ideas? Maybe related to http://europeandcis.undp.org/WaterWiki/index.php/Convention_on_the_Protection_and_Use_of_Transboundary_Watercourses_and_International_Lakes). Apparently, a portion of the treaty says that each country must publicly share it's mapping data, in a common specification. This may only apply to areas adjacent to the rivers, but perhaps will form the basis of further public disclosure as stipulated by Inspire.

So a bit of hearsay. Is there anything here that can be verified? 

In any case, assurances that INSPIRE is not really a problem is not enough, and actions to increase pressure for open public geo data and open governmental processes are definitely needed. It would be especially interesting to hear perspectives directly from the NMAs.


----- Original Message ----
From: Jo Walsh <jo at frot.org>
To: geo-discuss at lists.okfn.org
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 2:10:45 PM
Subject: [geo-discuss] Fw: Re: Fw: INSPIRE Democratic Process 1/2006

I really want to help out with this if i can;
Benjamin has an INSPIRE action plan, but is just too busy working on
software patents at the moment to press forward with it.
I've had a migraine for the last week, and really need to get some
non-screen-time for at least couple of days.
I could do with a reality checkpoint on 'what is to be done', here.

----- Forwarded message from Benjamin Henrion <bh at udev.org> -----

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 15:03:48 +0100
From: Benjamin Henrion <bh at udev.org>
To: Jo Walsh <jo at frot.org>

Jo Walsh <jo at frot.org> [060124]:
> dear benjamin, i guess you know all this forwarded below anyway.
> i'm sorry if i overwhelmed you with a spike of enthusiasm when you
> were last talking abotu INSPIRE, public petitions, etc, that may have
> seemed - probably was - over the top.
> As i have slipped from being in the set of people trying to do something about
> INSPIRE, to being in the set of people who were once trying to do
> something about INSPIRE and now feel a terrible guilt at not having
> pushed harder earlier, i still wonder if there's any way i can help.
> what i *can* do: 
> - help get the word out; email everyone who signed the open geodata
>   manifesto, and get them to send a petition to all their friends and
>   colleagues
> - cory already agreed to put something in boingboing about it
> - i can try and get a short headsup piece into directions magazine
> - the http://www.openrightsgroup.org.uk/ are interested, perhaps they
>   already talked to you in a loop which quite rightfully does not
>   concern me, and they would help get the word out too, and try and get
>   mainstream press for a last-ditch awareness effort.
> Remember that digital mapping is kind of trendy now, and a lot more
> people seem to care where it goes than could have been said a year or
> two years ago.
> May the force be with you, and hope that one day soon we'll meet IRL again,

What to do:

1. Setup a petition for rejection if "No public domain data inside"
2. Setup a campaign website ALSA Nosftwarepatents.com with testimonies
of GEO SMEs and academics saying that they are ampered by lack of geo data
3. Critical analysis of Amendments
4. Procedure questions (no amemdments possible in second reading as far
as I know)
5. Try to get some interviews with the pro-side (NMAs) to know if they
backed the Council agreement, or if they did lobbying; try also to
interview the CEC.

I am fully emplyed by FFII now, but my priorities are on the swpat topic

I was looking for a server to host publicgeodata.org/eu, but none of my
friends gave me. A friend of mine is giving me a shell on a machine

What can be really quick is to setup a mediawiki + static frontend like
I did for http://nopeatents.eu.org. The CSS design can be really
flexible with Mediawiki.

> ----- Forwarded message from Christopher Corbin <corbinceh at ntlworld.com> -----
> Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 13:01:43 +0000
> Subject: INSPIRE Democratic Process 1/2006
> From: Christopher Corbin <corbinceh at ntlworld.com>
> To: EGIP <european-gi-policy at jrc.it>
> The stage is now set for the second reading of the proposed INSPIRE
> Directive following the 2703rd Council Meeting, Agriculture and Fisheries
> that was held in Brussels on the 23 January 2006 which adopted the Councils
> common position on the proposed INSPIRE Directive following the first
> reading.
> Page 23 of the draft minutes refers and can be downloaded from:
> http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/agricult/88099.pdf
> Towards the end of 2005 the Council also agreed to improving the openness
> and transparency in the Council.  Details can be downloaded from:
> http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/misc/87778.pdf
> Over the next six months the Council would welcome feedback on whether they
> are achieving this increased openness and transparency.  The second reading
> of the proposed INSPIRE Directive would be a good process to monitor as
> during the first reading the European parliament and European Commission
> were far more open and transparent than the Council.
> The Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting held on the 23rd January 2006
> also adopted improved Transparency with respect to access to documents.
> Chris
> Chris (Corbin)
> Brighton
> Sussex
> England
> Telephone: +44 (0) 1273 553110
> email: corbinceh at ntlworld.com
> EGIP Archive:  http://www.ec-gis.org/egip/
> ----- End forwarded message -----
> -- 
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Benjamin Henrion <bh at udev.org>
<<<                   European Community Patent will bring            >>>
<<<                     Software patents by the backdoor              >>>
<<<                      http://wiki.ffii.org/ComPatEn                >>>

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