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Geographical Data

The INSPIRE Directive introduced special requirements concerning geographical data about the environment or things that affect the environment. This kind of information is also called 'spatial data', and covers information which refers directly or indirectly to specific locations or geographical areas. Examples include datasets about river quality, soil quality, flooding, conservation areas or locations of industrial activities.

The INSPIRE Directive requires European member states to make this kind of information available and provide networks for accessing it. There is a staged timetable for doing this, to allow more time to make old data sets available in the required format.

In the UK, a series of Regulations (below) give effect to the main legal requirements. Data is being made available through UK Location Infrastructure on Data.gov.uk. The website allows you to find datasets and search for information concerning a particular area.

The Regulations give you the right to complain, for example if you think information has been incorrectly withheld, if you believe the authority has not met the required standards. The Information Commissioner's Office website gives more details of the kinds of things you can complain about, and how to do this. If you are not satisfied with the authority's response you can complain to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Legislation

Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE)

The INSPIRE Regulations 2009

INSPIRE (Scotland) Regulations 2009 (SSI 2009 No 440)

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