THE EUROPEAN LOCATION FRAMEWORK – FROM NATIONAL TO EUROPEAN
Keywords: GSDI, ELF, Harmonisation of Spatial Data, Interoperable Services, INSPIRE in Practice
Abstract. The European Location Framework (ELF) means a technical infrastructure which will deliver authoritative, interoperable geospatial reference data from all over Europe for analysing and understanding information connected to places and features. The ELF has been developed and set up through the ELF Project, which has been realized by a consortium of partners (public, private and academic organisations) since March 2013. Their number increased from thirty to forty in the year 2016, together with a project extension from 36 to 44 months. The project is co-funded by the European Commission’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and will end in October 2016. In broad terms, the ELF Project will deliver a unique gateway to the authoritative reference geospatial information for Europe (harmonised pan-European maps, geographic and land information) sourced from the National Mapping and Cadastral Authorities (NMCAs) around Europe and including transparent licensing. This will be provided as an online ELF web service that will deliver an up-to-date topographic base map and also as view & download services for access to the ELF datasets. To develop and build up the ELF, NMCAs are accompanied and collaborate with several research & academia institutes, a standardisation body, system integrators, software developers and application providers. The harmonisation is in progress developing and triggering a number of geo-tools like edge-matching, generalisation, transformation and others. ELF will provide also some centralised tools like Geo Locator for searching location based on geographical names, addresses and administrative units, and GeoProduct Finder for discovering the available web-services and licensing them. ELF combines national reference geo-information through the ELF platform. ELF web services will be offered to users and application developers through open source (OSKARI) and proprietary (ArcGIS Online) cloud platforms. Recently, 29 NMCAs plus the EuroGeographics – their pan-European umbrella association, contribute to the ELF through an enrichment of data coverage. As a result, over 20 European countries will be covered with the ELF topo Base Map in 2016. Most countries will contribute also with other harmonized thematic data for viewing or down-loading. To overcome the heterogeneity of data resources and diversity of languages in tens of European countries, ELF builds on the existing INSPIRE rules and its own coordination and interoperability measures. ELF realisation empowers the implementation of INSPIRE in Europe and it complements related activities of European NMCAs, e.g. Czech Office for Surveying, Mapping and Cadastre (CUZK), which provides a large portfolio of spatial data/services and contributes significantly to the NSDI of Czech Republic. CUZK is also responsible for the Base Register of Territorial Identification, Addresses and Real Estates (RUIAN) – an important pillar of Czech e-Government. CUZK became an early-bird in implementing INSPIRE and it provides to the ELF a number of compliant datasets and web services. CUZK and the Polish NMCA (GUGiK) collaborate in the Central-European ELF Pilot (cluster) and test various cross-border prototypes. The presentation combines the national and crossborder view and experiences of CUZK and the European perspective of EuroGeographics.