Governance of national spatial data infrastructures in Europe

Joep Crompvoets, Glenn Vancauwenberghe, Serene Ho, Ian Masser, Walter Timo de Vries


The effective development and implementation of spatial data infrastructures (SDIs) requires governance in order to avoid gaps, duplications, contradictions and missed opportunities in the implementation of different SDI components. Appropriate governance instruments should be established to coordinate the activities and contributions of different stakeholders. This article reviews the governance of national SDIs in Europe before, during and after the adoption of the European INSPIRE Directive, which aimed to establish an infrastructure for spatial information in the European community. The analysis is based on a governance instruments approach as introduced by public administration researchers to analyse coordination and governance in the public sector. The study shows that the instruments-based approach is a useful tool for analysing governance in the context of SDIs and contributes to a better understanding of SDI governance. Evidence was found for the adoption and use of each of six sets of governance instruments in the governance of national SDIs in Europe: collective decision-making structures, strategic management, allocation of tasks and responsibilities, creation of markets, inter-organizational culture and knowledge management, and regulation and formalization of the infrastructure.


Spatial Data Infrastructures; Governance; Europe; Governance instruments; INSPIRE

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