INSPIRE (European Spatial Data Infrastucture)

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For the WMF Grants Inspire campaign, please see Grants:Inspire

please use the discussion page for discussion and this page for write texts out - you'd know it from Wikipedia

The Proposed European Commission Directive on European Spatial Data Infrastucture (INSPIRE) is endangered to put more intellectual property rights on geographica data in the European Union.

See and

Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia chapters, and Wikipedians obvoiously should be interested in changing the European Directive to free Geographic Data.

Activities with geodata in Wikimedia projects[edit]

There are projects at least in German (WikiProject Georeferenzierung) and English (WikiProject Geographical coordinates) Wikipedias to assign geographical coordinates to Wikipedia articles. As of February 2007, more than 109,372 articles on the English Wikipedia and 69,989 articles on the German Wikipedia already have coordinates (reference: de:Wikipedia:WikiProjekt Georeferenzierung/Wikipedia-World/en. Because it's Open Content you can use the data for creating maps and localised search services for instance (see [1] and [2])

There are plans to also create full maps (up to now there are only points) in the Wikimaps project but this has not been started because of software issues and because geographical data is not available.

How to summarize arguments out of it[edit]

  • Wikipedia shows how large geographical databases can be build up with little costs and how they are reused quickly - if they are publically available as public domain or under free licenses that allow any usage
  • All data has to be recollected by volunteers because the data collected by experts in not available! Wikipedia shows that public and free services are successful!

What can be done[edit]

In General[edit]


  • Commercial copyright and licensing of geodata risks suppressing innovation, leading to less job creation and less economic activity for Europeans in next-generation location services built on GALILEO
  • Geodata is a public good and has many use cases not addressed by the market - allowing citizens to find recycling facilities, disabled access facilities, etc. It actually is more expensive to distributed data than to give it away
  • The aims of INSPIRE and related programs are to facilitate sharing of data between member states, especially in order to respond to environmental emergencies and to model sustainable alternatives. There are huge translation and taxonomy problems involved. The quickest way to resolve these is to put the data into the public domain.
  • INSPIRE has been designed without consultation of the broader academic, freelance research and business interests which depend heavily on how much European citizens have to pay for the geographic information collected on their behalf.
  • Images are always more convincing than textual arguments. See for instance this image and say "this can be created and used by everyone like Wikipedia is created and used by everyone - if the data is available!" - it's more convinving than than talking about "services that could be created with free geodata" - don't use techspeak! Try to convince you grandma, not your nerd friends!

Specific help[edit]

  • Write short testimonials from Wikimedia for
  • do more widespread, popular oriented publicity for publicgeodata soon.
    • Take this out of the English-speaking, UK-oriented medium more
    • Take this into paper press - Le Monde, Financial Times etc.
  • Write press releases, examples, try to get into the "mainstream" media (Wikimedia Foundation and chapters can help but you are needed to provide convincing texts and images to publish!
  • PR and rewriting advice, to help get the message across in different ways, is always appreciated

Discussions on how to do lobbying in this case[edit]