INSPIRE 2017 – How did it succeed?

  • Vodohospodárska_výstavba_Spatineo_Quality_Awards_INSPIRE
    Vodohospodárska výstavba was announced as one of the winners at Spatineo Quality Awards!

We attended once again to THE conference of the year, INSPIRE Conference. But what was so special about it this year? INSPIRE felt like it had one extra layer of warmth and hype around it this year. Successful conferences are hard to manage but INSPIRE was able to go beyond all expectations this year.

Insights from INSPIRE

We had a prime spot this year, as we had teamed up with few partners and new associates. This gave us front row seats to see what was going on. Jaana Mäkelä, Sampo Savolainen and Fabio Bittencourt held presentations and attended workshops, and gained insight from this year’s conference. We already wondered about this year’s topic prior to the conference, it can be read here.

“This year discussions emphasized the impact of SDIs. Are European SDIs open enough so that all potential users can benefit from them? Do SMEs understand the business possibilities that INSPIRE and SDIs provide? What kind of e-Government applications utilize SDIs and INSPIRE services?

The Delft University of Technology have made a study of the openness of SDIs of European countries. They visualized informatively on maps the values of three indicators: readiness, implementation and impact. Small and medium size Geo-ICT companies have developed great innovations based on geospatial technologies and INSPIRE services but these innovations have usually remained national because still in some EU countries access to public spatial data is limited. Also national legislation in many cases hinder the use of the most advanced solutions such as self driving cars or robotic helicopters in e-commerce deliveries. Inspiring e-Government applications related to Smart City development in the City of Hamburg and City of Kielce were presented. The case study of the Finnish City of Hyvinkää showed concrete quantitative benefits that an SDI which is reliable and has rich spatial content can bring to a digital building permission process.” – Jaana Mäkelä


Acknowledging Success

This year we wanted to give something back to the community that has given us so much. Awarding those who have succeeded was the best way to recognize all the effort organizations have implemented into their SDIs. That is why we hosted “Spatineo Quality Awards” this year. lkka, Fabio and Sampo had gathered some of the most successful organizations and sorted out 3 categories in which prizes were given.

“We were very happy to see the positive repercussion that the presentation about “Spatineo Quality Awards for INSPIRE Services” had at the thematic session “INSPIRE thinking out of the box”. Both among national organizations in countries where some awards were given to as well as at the european level, once some members of the INSPIRE MIG-T Representatives group and the European Commission came to us for further clarifications on the basis of how we developed such consistent methodology to find the ones best in class when it comes to Quality of INSPIRE Services. Congratulations once again to the winners!” – Fabio Bittencourt


Parting words

We would like to thank everyone in the INSPIRE Conference organizations for making this all possible, it would have not been possible without you! Also everyone who attended the conference had a key-role in making this event so successful. Our most humble salute to you all! Creating this kind of event each year really rallies the community together, enabling us to drive towards success together!

We hope to see you next year in Antwerp!

Here is what you need to know about “INSPIRE a digital Europe: Thinking out of the box”

INSPIRE a digital Europe: Thinking out of the box. INSPIRE 2017. Kehl-Strasbourg 4-8 September 2017

Theme of INSPIRE 2017

INSPIRE Conference has chosen it’s theme to revolve around this particular phrase: “INSPIRE a digital Europe: Thinking out of the box”.

think out of the box

to think in a different, innovative, or original manner, esp with regard to business practices, products, systems, etc (Collins English Dictionary)

In geospatial context this could mean going to an uncharted territory with your data, leaving boundaries behind and embracing new innovations. At the same time it should mean looking for alternative and better methods and processes for enabling these innovations and tearing down administrative and technical barriers.


Disrupting technologies and new applications

As markets progress towards open data and increasing quality and availability, it is becoming easier and easier for anyone to use your data. This creates an environment where anyone can create a new applications using your data. Innovation flourishes where everyone has equal chance to create something new and spatial data infrastructures offer platforms that paves the way for this innovation. This is more or less what INSPIRE and various Open Data initiatives have promised will happen for that past 10 years. Still it has been a challenge to get tangible benefits from individual INSPIRE implementation or data opening projects.

We need more evidence of the use of INSPIRE data sets, engage with the user community and help them to build their businesses using the excellent data sets made available with the considerable data provider effort since the INSPIRE Directive came into force in 2007. Active user base also means active feedback on the data quality, applicability and availability, leading into better and more accessible data for all. To reach this goal we sometimes need to ease up on our formalism and traditional GIS ways of working with our data, and to simplify some things even if that would feel like killing our precious dataset babies.

New innovations in technology are sometimes disruptive: Creating a whole new playing field with technology that surpasses the old, anyone might find the next generation of spatial data usage. Every minute people around the world are trying to combine new technologies to create something original and fascinating. Right combination of automation, 3D printing and drone-powered automatic flash-delivery making large factories look out-fashioned and expensive by moving manufacturing into urban areas, closer to end-users.

Box-in effect

Geospatial information is sensitive. Records of movement and location are carefully shared data, that should be given out to authorised parties only. To address that, many governments have placed sensitive rules on geospatial data. Lack of coordination and cooperation effectively makes it harder to utilize data in different places. INSPIRE was created to harmonize the administrative boundaries. When the rules are the same everywhere, it is easier to apply one great innovation everywhere.

EULF (European Union Location Framework) is a good example of harmonizing and breaking administrative boundaries. EULF, that was created with INSPIRE standards, helps national mapping agencies to provide data together with the private sector. Companies can acquire data from all different public road authorities with same data specifications now. The pilot is underway in Norway and Sweden as of now, but it is expected to integrate to whole EU in the near future.

These administrative boundaries can be seen as a box that limits innovation. When someone sees a way to move the box or operate outside of it (within limitations of law) new ways to use spatial data can be discovered.

Added value comes from breaking boundaries

Digital revolution has broken boundaries and merged industries together, as we progress towards a mature spatial data society. We don’t need to worry about getting lost anymore, we can rest assure that emergency personnel locate us accurately and we get precise information about environment first hand.

When we can rely on all of these factors working as intended, we can make progress in other matters. That is where the added value resides. Spatial data works at it’s finest when getting information is quick and effortless. Breaking the boundaries between industries helps consumers to find and use data from different sources more easily. If I want to check algae levels of a lake and get directions there at the same time it requires cooperation between data infrastructures.


Thinking outside the box is the future

Developing and implementing new strategies is the only way to penetrate markets and segments these days. It requires tremendous amount of knowledge and innovation to find these small fragments of new strategy and put them together. This is what INSPIRE 2017 drives us towards.

One of the most interesting recent discussions has been the “What if…” -sessions: Last year’s INSPIRE conference included a session called “Well, I wouldn’t start from here – What if we didn’t have INSPIRE” by John Dixon of Defra (see video from part 1 and part 2) and there was a very interesting session called “INSPIRE What if…” at the OGC meeting at Delft in March 2017. This re-thinking process will now continue at this year’s INSPIRE Conference with the session “INSPIRE – What if…? – Conference edition” on Friday morning by Michael Lutz et al.INSPIRE 2017 showcases strategies how to think outside the box, as it is the most efficient way to progress. Don’t limit yourself into a certain way of thinking, but expand into other possibilities.

Spatineo eagerly waits to hear what innovations and ground breaking discoveries our fellow spatial data experts have found this year and look forward to see how we can contribute to what is to come. Remember to attend INSPIRE 2017 for all of this!

More info about Spatineo’s INSPIRE compliance can be discovered here!

An amazing FIG conference with land surveyors

What a blast! Last week FIG Working Week 2017 was hosted here in Helsinki and Spatineo was there exhibiting with Sito & Pointscene. The whole event was organized masterfully and all the visitors were enthusiastic professionals eager to share knowledge and learn from others. We could have not asked for a better conference and audience! What went on and what was learned during the week?


Professionals from all around the globe

We were stationed at the entrance of the Winter Garden which gave us a chance to greet every visitor walking inside. A chance to talk to almost all of the guests enabled us to make a deep analysis of the visitors. Young and old, experienced and still learning, public and private. People from many different cultures. And that was the best of it! More variety in the audience, the more views and perspectives.


Our intake on FIG

So Spatineo was at FIG Working Week sharing a stand with two other Finnish companies, Sitowise & Pointscene. Our synergies worked well together and we managed to have an outstanding teamwork among us.

From Spatineo we had three representatives at FIG. Our Sales Director Jaana Mäkelä, Area Sales Manager Fabio Bittencourt and Marketing Coordinator Luukas Raatikainen. All three of them experienced FIG Working Week for the first time and here are some of their thoughts about the conference:

Jaana: The conference was a great opportunity to meet old and new colleagues from all continents. Even if my background is in land surveying I have somehow missed all previous FIG events. What a pity, I would say now. The high level plenaries and sessions gave a good possibility to update own knowledge for example about the future developments of 3D Cadastre and positioning.


Fabio: It was an incredible opportunity to meet professionals from all over the world, from several types of organisations, governmental and private ones, business and academic people, from countries in different stages of development of their national SDIs as well as we could also meet some of our existing customers!


Luukas: The atmosphere was the one thing that surprised me the most. I had no expectations but in my mind I saw conference full of too staid businessmen, and that image turned out to be so wrong. Since the openings of the conference, visitors were enthusiastic to meet and chat with everyone around them. There was literally not a single dull moment with the surveyors there! The atmosphere was eventually kind and welcoming. People were eager to hear your stories and they shared what they had experienced. I would love to attend upcoming FIG events in the future!

Parting Words

We thank the whole FIG team for managing and organising FIG 2017 in Helsinki, and for giving us the chance to learn so much more, not only from the sessions but also from surveyors themselves! The conference was a success and we wish to participate to FIG Working Week events in the future as well.