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[CSL] E-Government Bulletin, 28 May 2008: Geospatial Data Directive; Social Networking and Policy Participation in Europe; Setback for Shared Services.


Joanne Roberts <[log in to unmask]>


Interdisciplinary academic study of Cyber Society <[log in to unmask]>


Thu, 29 May 2008 07:46:14 +0100





text/plain (633 lines)

From: Dan Jellinek [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: 28 May 2008 15:50
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: E-Government Bulletin, 28 May 2008: Geospatial Data Directive;
Social Networking and Policy Participation in Europe; Setback for Shared

- ISSUE 264, 28 May 2008.

- A Headstar Publication
http://www.headstar.com .

IN THIS ISSUE: Geospatial Data Directive; Social Networking and Policy
Participation; Setback for Shared Services.

Please forward this free service to others so they can subscribe - full
details at the end.
We never pass on email addresses.

++Special Notice: Designing for all: an inclusive approach to web,
print and electronic publishing
- A practical, one-day training course and document clinic
- Tuesday 24 June, Central London

Trainer: Katie Grant, former publications manager, Disability Rights

'Designing for all' is a practical seminar designed to introduce
organisations to the importance of designing accessible, easy to read
information for a range of different audiences including older people,
people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first

It will help you assess current design and content of information -
please bring examples to our document clinic - and follow an inclusive
model to improve accessibility across your communications mix.

The course will be of interest to anyone who is involved in the design
and delivery of information in print, electronic and web formats
including web content managers; content teams; marketing and
communications officers; and publications staff. To book a place see:

[Special notice ends].

++Issue 264 Contents.

01: Geospatial Data Directive Breeds Host Of Challenges
- Implementation issues for European 'INSPIRE' law.

02: Social Networking To Boost European Policy Participation
- Online debate forms core of experiment with citizen involvement.

03: Multi-Million Pound Setback For Shared Services Project
- Department of Transport costs could outweigh savings.

News in Brief:
04: Care Delay - longer wait for records service; 05: PM Tube - Video
question time; 06: Quiet Please - Defra maps noise.

Section Two: Special Focus, Part I - The 'INSPIRE' Directive On Spatial
07: Licence to Inspire? UK public bodies could be in for a shock in 12
months' time when a wide-ranging European law on harmonising and sharing
geospatial data comes into full force. Dan Jellinek reports.

Section Three: Special Focus, Part II - The 'INSPIRE' Directive On
Spatial Data.
08: Evolution, not Revolution: The leading European official in charge
of implementing and developing the directive, Max Craglia, offers words
of wisdom and advice to E-Government Bulletin conference- goers.

[Contents ends].

++Special Notice: Shared Services In The Public Sector
- 4 June 2008, New Connaught Rooms, Central London
http://www.headstar-events.com/shared-services08 .

With a dual focus on improving public services and enhancing efficiency,
Shared Services is a vital policy area for public sector bodies of all
sizes. The sharing of both back-office and front-line services between
different public sector bodies, and between public and private sector
bodies, can create economies of scale and pool valuable expertise and

Building on our high level online summit in March, our June conference
aims to provide insights into the benefits and challenges of sharing
systems and services; to identify good practice; and to provide a forum
to share experience amongst those involved with planning shared

Places cost 295 Pounds plus VAT for public sector and 395 plus VAT for
private sector, to register please visit the website:
http://www.headstar-events.com/shared-services08 .

And for information about sponsoring or exhibiting please email Will
Knox on:
[log in to unmask] or call him on 01273 267974.

[Special Notice ends].

++Section One: News.

+01: Geospatial Data Directive Breeds Host Of Challenges.

The protection of intellectual property; costs of gathering and
releasing information; and data standardisation are among major
challenges faced by UK public bodies in implementing the European
Directive on harmonisation of spatial data, delegates heard at this
month's Headstar conference 'Geographical Information Systems
(GIS) in the public sector'.

INSPIRE was passed in 2007 but is due to come into full force in the UK
in May 2009. It is designed to facilitate the sharing of spatial data
between public sector bodies and improve public access to any digitised
information relating to location such as maps, and addresses,
particularly where it relates to environmental policies and issues.

Dr Gesche Schmid, an adviser to the Local Government Association, said
data standardisation is currently inconsistent between councils; and
licensing systems also differ between public sector bodies and hinder
data sharing.

The directive specifies that charges to access data should not exceed
the cost of collection and should not create an obstacle to sharing. 
Where possible, data access should be free of charge. However, in a
country where the main national mapping agency Ordnance Survey sells its
data to recoup costs; the use of free (for now) Google mapping tools are
on the rise; and a range of other public and private sector and open
source online mapping systems are available, creating and policing a
single licensing and use system is likely to prove challenging,
delegates heard.

The detail of a UK data sharing plan has not yet been drawn up, but
there will certainly be a wide variety of online access points for
INSPIRE-released information including a central EU 'geoportal'; a
UK-specific geoportal, and a range of other government and commercial

NOTE: For further reporting from the conference see Section Two, this

+02: Social Networking To Boost European Policy Participation.

An online social networking platform designed to involve more 
European citizens, particularly young people, in shaping public policy 
was launched last week as part of a two-year European Commission-
funded research project.

The platform (
http://www.ideal-debate.eu )
is designed to encourage citizens to debate the implications of global 
warming, with the results set to feed into a draft policy on the issue
be drawn up later in the year by the European Parliament's Temporary 
Committee on Climate Change.

As well as discussion forums and document and video exchange, 
features of the online tool include the ability to track the activities
other users with a 'follow them' facility. Anyone can register to read 
content, although people cannot post to the debate anonymously and 
there is a strong authentication process to confirm the identity of key 
stakeholders or experts such as senior politicians or scientists.

Debate on the site will take place in English and in the mother tongues 
of the three regional governments which are the main partners in the 
project: Tuscany in Italy, Poitou-Charentes in France and Catalonia in 
Spain. The experiment forms part of a wider, two-year research 
project, 'IDEAL-EU' (
http://www.ideal-eu.net ),
launched in January this year by the three regions with 550,000 euros 
of European Commission funding. The project has two main 
objectives: to improve citizen involvement with the creation of EU 
legislation and to integrate e-participation into the administrative 
process at regional level.

The social networking trial will be followed in November by a 'pan-
European electronic town meeting on climate change' involving three 
physical meetings of around 150 invited citizens each in the partner 
regions and a series of virtual meetings online. Each will involve 
facilitated discussion and electronic voting using handsets in the 
physical meetings and internet voting in the virtual meetings.

The outcomes will be fed to the European Parliament and used by the 
three regions to explore the possibilities for greater integration of 
online participation tools in their administrative processes.

+03: Multi-Million Pound Setback For Shared Services Project.

A shared services programme being implemented by the Department of 
Transport (DoT) to improve efficiency and save as much as 57 million 
pounds is now expected to cost the department around 80 million 
pounds, according to a new report from the National Audit Office (
http://fastlink.headstar.com/dot1 ).

The programme, launched in 2005 after an 11-month review, has seen 
back-office services such as human resources, finance and payroll for 
the department and its agencies relocated to a shared services centre in


The project's costs were initially estimated at 55 million pounds with 
gross savings predicted of 112 million, resulting in a net saving of 57 
million pounds. But current estimates suggest the final costs will be as

much as 120 million pounds while the estimated savings have shrunk 
to about 40 million in the period to 2015, the report finds. This would 
result in a net loss to the DoT of as much as 80 million pounds

The report finds that the department's programme board failed to 
provide adequate control, resulting in less standardisation for the 
shared services than was required. With some of the agencies ill-
prepared for the changes there were also delays in implementation, and 
some agencies have still not yet begun to use the centre.

Rather than putting the contract out to competitive tender, the 
department opted to take advantage of an existing IT contract with 
IBM to save time, but failed to specify the requirements accurately. By 
March 2008 the Department had paid more than 72 million pound to 
contractors, with 54 million going to IBM. The contract with IBM is 
currently being renegotiated.

Since April 2007 changes have been made to correct the programme's 
deficiencies and performance has shown signs of improvement, the 
report finds. Nevertheless, in January 2008 it met only 4 out of 18 
performance indicators.

++News in Brief:

+04: Care Delay: It is now expected to take four years longer than 
anticipated for the full deployment of the NHS electronic patient care 
records service, according to a National Audit Office report on the 
health service's National Programme for IT. The scheme was due for 
completion in 2010 but the report says it may now take until 2015. 
Costs to date have been lower than expected, but this is due to the 
delay in introduction:

+05: PM Tube: UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has launched an 
online 'Ask the PM' video service on the 10 Downing Street YouTube 
channel. Mr Brown said politicians had the chance to question him at 
the weekly PM's Question Time in Parliament and it was time the 
public were also given the opportunity. He pledged to respond to the 
most popular video questions submitted and voted for by YouTube 
users. Questions for the first session must be submitted by 21 June:

+06: Quiet Please: Noise levels in 23 urban areas can be viewed online 
thanks to a new noise mapping service from the Department for 
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Average levels of 
environmental noise are displayed colour-coded by intensity and 
indicate time of day and source including air, rail, road and industry. 
The project was prompted by the EU Environmental Noise Directive 
which requires all member states to produce such maps as a step 
towards the elimination of unnecessary noise pollution. The post-code 
searchable maps also indicate the number of people who are exposed to 
different levels of noise:
http://noisemapping.defra.gov.uk/ .

[Section One ends].

++Special Notice: Building the Perfect Council Website
- Major International Keynote Speaker for 2008
- 16 July, Olympia 2, Central London
http://www.headstar-events.com/council08/ .

We are pleased to present our third annual event on how to create the 
perfect council website: a partnership between E-Government Bulletin 
and the Socitm Insight Programme.

Our keynote speaker this year is international web usability guru Gerry 
McGovern. An authority on creating effective web content, Gerry has 
been described by the Irish Times as one of the world's five leading 
web visionaries (alongside Tim Berners-Lee, Tim O'Reilly, Nicholas 
Negroponte and Vint Cerf).

Elsewhere, the event will draw on the collected wisdom of a decade of 
Socitm's annual 'Better Connected' review of all UK council websites. 
Workshops will cover issues in detail including boosting web service 
take-up. Secure your place today at:

And for companies interested in exhibition spaces please contact Will 
Knox on
[log in to unmask] or phone him on
01273 267974.

[Special notice ends].

++Section Two: Special Focus, Part I
- The 'INSPIRE' Directive On Spatial Data.

+07: Licence To Inspire?
by Dan Jellinek.

A quick show of hands among delegates to this year's Headstar 
conference on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in the Public 
Sector showed that public bodies may be in for a rude awakening in 
around a year's time.

The straw poll was called by Graham Vowles, Principal Consultant at 
national mapping agency Ordnance Survey. Vowles asked how many 
of the event's public sector delegates thought that their organisations 
would be directly affected by the European 'INSPIRE' directive, an 
initiative to create a pan-European infrastructure to share spatial data
any digitised information relating to location such as maps, and 

About half the delegates raised their arms, a proportion which drew a 
wry smile for Vowles and a suggestion that most of the remainder 
would be in for a surprise when they came to appreciate the range and 
scope of the directive.

"INSPIRE covers all spatial data held by or on behalf of a public 
authority, including bodies of all sizes," Vowles said. The data covers 
includes some 34 cited areas from addresses to transport networks, and 
agricultural facilities to geological information, he said.

"Most public bodies will be covered, as its scope is very wide. I would 
suggest the first thing you need to do when you get back to the office
check what information you hold."

INSPIRE - which stands for 'Infrastructure for Spatial Information in 
Europe' - was passed in 2007 and is due to come into full force in the 
UK in May 2009. It is designed to both facilitate data sharing between 
public sector bodies and to improve public access to spatial 

The directive is focused specifically on assisting the development of 
environmental policy but is seen as important to a wide range of public 
service areas including sustainable development, transport accessibility

and emergency planning. As well as setting technical standards, 
elements of INSPIRE will include the creation of metadata catalogues 
and portals to allow users to see what information is available; the 
offering of data to view and download online; and to create licensing 
arrangements that allow data to be shared, accessed and used.

As part of the process of transposing the law into a national context, 
EU member states are charged with drawing up and implementing 
frameworks to facilitate data sharing.

In the UK this process is being led by the Department for Environment, 
Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), where a core project team of three 
officials has been set up to collaborate with a wider working group of 
15 key stakeholders including the Ministry of Defence, the Met Office 
and local government.

David Lee, leader of the Defra INSPIRE project team, told the 
conference that consultation would start shortly on a more permanent 
UK INSPIRE governance structure which will be responsible for 
monitoring implementation and submitting three-yearly progress 
reports to the European Commission.

The major challenges and crunch areas of implementation are likely to 
involve money and security: working out a robust system of licensing 
for information use that will protect intellectual property where 
appropriate but allow easy access to information. The directive 
specifies that charges to access data should not exceed the cost of 
collection and should not create an obstacle to sharing. Where possible,

data access should be free of charge. However, in a country where the 
main national mapping agency Ordnance Survey sells its data to 
recoup costs; the use of free (for now) Google mapping tools are on the 
rise; and a range of other public and private sector and open source 
online mapping systems are available, sorting out a single licensing 
and use system is certainly going to be challenging.

Graham Vowles of Ordnance Survey told delegates that, since 
INSPIRE is not supposed to impact on intellectual property rights, any 
licensing system is likely to have to be monitored and policed.

"The big challenge is to come up with a set of licences specifying how 
public bodies will share the data, and I think over time we will also 
need to implement some capability to enforce those licences," he said.

The detail of a UK data sharing plan has not yet been drawn up, but 
there will certainly be a wide variety of online access points for 
INSPIRE-released information including a central EU 'geoportal'; a 
UK-specific geoportal, and a range of other government and 
commercial websites. The UK geoportal will include searchable 
database of sources and people will expect to be able to click straight 
through to the data itself wherever possible.

Local councils will be key players in the implementation of INSPIRE, 
since a large amount of the data they hold - some estimate as much as 
80 per cent - is linked to location.

Dr Gesche Schmid, a consultant with Atkins Geospatial currently on 
secondment to the Local Government Association to advise on 
INSPIRE, said the cost to councils of implementing the directive are 
currently "very difficult to assess because we don't know the 
implementation rules yet."

The publication of metadata is inconsistent; data standardisation is 
inconsistent; and licensing currently differs between public sector 
bodies and hinders data sharing, Schmidt said. She is currently helping 
to draw up an INSPIRE impact assessment for local government on 
behalf of the LGA and the Improvement and Development Agency.

David Lee from Defra said his department was also looking at the issue 
of cost assessment but it was hard to calculate the more intangible 
potential benefits of INSPIRE. "These often accrue outside an 
organisation, such as environmental benefits that might arise from 
easier access to information."

But whatever the assessments, inaction is not an option, Lee said. "We 
have a Directive - it is going to have to happen - and it is going to 
force more collaboration on people."

NOTE: Presentations from 'GIS in the public sector' can be viewed 
online at:
http://www.headstar-events.com/gis08/programme.php .

[Section Two ends].

++Sponsored Notice: Bluesky National Mapping Centre.

Bluesky is a UK based company specialising in aerial imaging and 
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Bluesky's national mapping centre provides digital mapping, site 
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archives of historic imagery, both vertical and oblique, dating back to 
the 1940s. Images can be accessed online at:

For further information contact Bluesky International on
01530 518518
[log in to unmask]
or see:
http://www.bluesky-world.com .

[Sponsored notice ends].

++Section Three: Special Focus, Part II
- The 'INSPIRE' Directive On Spatial Data.

+08: Evolution, Not Revolution.

The recent Headstar conference on Geographical information systems 
(GIS) in the public sector was subtitled 'countdown to INSPIRE', in 
reference to the imminent implementation of the European Directive of 
that name. The directive will harmonise spatial data across the EU to 
support environmental policies, and is due to come into full force in 
UK law in May 2009.

The official leading the INSPIRE process across Europe is Dr Max 
Craglia of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability at the 
European Commission's Joint Research Centre. Dr Craglia was kind 
enough to send our conference a message of support which also sets 
out the basic components of INSPIRE, and E-Government Bulletin 
readers may be interested to read this letter in full, as reproduced 

Dear Delegate,

Welcome to 'GIS in the public Sector: the countdown to INSPIRE' 
conference. I would have liked to welcome you in person but the day 
of the conference coincides with an important milestone in the 
INSPIRE implementation process: the meeting of the Regulatory 
Committee, which represents the member states, to express its opinion 
on the first implementing rule of INSPIRE, that on metadata.

The INSPIRE Directive (2007/2/EC) was adopted in March 2007 and 
came into force on 15 May 2007. The Directive creates the legal 
framework for the establishment of a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) 
in Europe to support environmental policies and policies that affect the

environment. This infrastructure has five main components:

1. Metadata to document the wealth of information resources already 
existing in
Europe, and make them more visible and searchable by users;

2. Agreements, technical specifications, and services to increase the 
interoperability of spatial data sets and services related to the 34
themes identified in the Annexes of the Directive;

3. Network services to make it possible to discover, view, download 
data sets and services, transform them on the basis of the
referred to in point 2) above, and invoke additional spatial data 
services to process them;

4. Protocols for data and service sharing;

5. Protocols for monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the 

Each of these five components requires the development of technical 
measures (the 'implementing rules') necessary to ensure the coherent 
implementation of the infrastructure across Europe. These rules are 
being developed with an open and participative process involving 
stakeholders in the member states and at community levels (and always 
open for all those wishing to take part!)

Because there will be several such implementing rules, the process will 
take several years as detailed in the INSPIRE Roadmap1. Therefore, 
do not expect a big bang in 2009, but a series of incremental steps over

a ten year period. Evolution rather than revolution.

There is however an important milestone in 2009 for the member 
states: the transposition of the Directive into national legislation. In

general, European Directives define the agreement reached by the 
member states and the European Parliament on the objectives to 
achieve. How to achieve these objectives is left to the member states 
through national legislation (the transposition).

In the context of INSPIRE, the Directive envisages that the European 
SDI will be built on the ones established and operated by the Member 
States, Therefore, each Member State has to define (by 15 May 2009) 
through national legislation how it will achieve the objectives of the 
Directive, and give details of its SDI.

Some Member States already have national and/or regional SDIs. 
Others need to develop their strategy further and put in place the 
necessary technical, legal, and organisational measures, including the 
division of responsibilities between national and sub-national levels of

governments. As an example, several member states are discussing 
whether to have a national metadata catalogue or federated catalogues 
at regional level, and how each solution could interface with the local 
and European levels. This seemingly technical discussion on the 
architecture of the SDI is instead part of an important reflection that 
needs to take into account the institutional arrangement in each 
member state, as well as an analysis of who is responsible for the 
collection and maintenance of the datasets related to the annexes of the


With so much happening, this conference is both timely and necessary 
to ensure that the awareness about the Directive is spread as widely as 
possible. It is also an opportunity for the participating organisations
the public sector to consider the type and functionality of the SDI they

would need to support their own activities, and the contribution they 
can make to the debates at regional and national level in the run up to 
the national legislation.

On behalf of the INSPIRE team, I wish you a very successful and 
productive meeting.

Yours Sincerely,
Max Craglia.

[Section Three ends].



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- Copyright 2008 Headstar Ltd.
Regular circulation or reproduction of the bulletin by third parties is
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ISSN 1476-6310


Editor - Dan Jellinek.
Reporter: Majeed Saleh.
Associate Editors - Derek Parkinson, Mel Poluck.
Marketing and Sales Team - Claire Clinton, Jo Knell, Will Knox.

[Issue 264 ends].

Distributed through Cyber-Society-Live [CSL]: CSL is a moderated discussion
list made up of people who are interested in the interdisciplinary academic
study of Cyber Society in all its manifestations.To join the list please visit:

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