From CERCO to MEGRIN to EuroGeographics

EuroGeographics is acknowledged as the voice of European National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities.

The Association can trace its origins back more than 30 years with the creation of the Comitée Européen des Responsables de la Cartographie Officielle (CERCO) as a forum for sharing, discussing and resolving common problems. In 1993 a subsidiary, the Multi-purpose European Ground Related Information Network (MEGRIN) was established to manage pan-European projects including the development of web-based metadata services and integrated geographic databases.

Merger of MEGRIN and CERCO

It soon became clear that merging MEGRIN and CERCO would improve communications, team working and efficiency which led to the creation of a heavyweight consortium with more political influence within Europe than any other geospatial organisation – EuroGeographics. Formed in September 2000 by 37 countries, the Association today has 63 members who between them invest around €1.5 billion every year in the development of geographic reference data and whose expertise and advice is sought across the world.

A change of status and a change of address

In 2011, a change in status – from a French non-profit association to an AISBL under Belgian law – complemented EuroGeographics’ move from Paris to Brussels, the heart of European policy and decision-making and consolidated its position as the European voice for geographic information.

Timeline and key achievements

1990: The horizontal reference system (ETRS89) defined with EUREF was officially born and later adopted as a standard by the European Commission.

1993: Delivery of first product, Seamless Administrative Boundaries of Europe (SABE), the predecessor of EuroBoundaryMap.

1997: The Quality Knowledge Exchange Network was established under its original name the Expert Group on Quality.

2000: Merger of MEGRIN and CERCO creates EuroGeographics, the membership association for the European National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities.

2003: Map projections for Europe agreed with EUREF and adopted by the European Commission.

2007: Results from the successful completion of the EuroRoadS and Reference Information Specifications for Europe (RISE) projects used to implement INSPIRE.

2008: Our national elevation data product, EuroDEM completed in record time to provide a digital representation of ground surface topography.

2009: The EuroGeoNames project (2006-2009) is completed as a prototype implementation for an INSPIRE service. This work has been significantly improved designing the GeoLocator service during the European Location Framework project (2013-2016) and continues in the development and publication of a Regional Gazetteer under the umbrella of the Open European Location Services (Open ELS ) Project (2017-2019). The background information has been compiled in the conference paper submitted to the 11th UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names.

2010: Becoming an AISBL under Belgian law and moving our head office to Brussels places us at the centre of European policy and decision making.

2011: A partnership agreement with the European Environment Agency means we are facilitating access to members’ data for emergency and crisis response via the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.

2011: The ESDIN Project, co-ordinated by EuroGeographics and supported by funding from the European Commission, helps prepare data for the INSPIRE Directive and the first steps towards European location services from official national sources.

2013: Our 1:1 million scale topographic dataset, EuroGlobalMap is available free of charge for any use under a new open data licence.

2013: Successful applications for full membership from the State Authority for Geospatial Information, Albania and the State Committee on Property, the Republic of Belarus mean that EuroGeographics covers the whole of geographical Europe.

2013: EuroGeographics, the PCC, EULIS, ELRA and CLGE sign an agreement on a Common Vision for cooperation on cadastre and land registry.

2013: More than 70 MEPS visit our Maps for the Future event in the European Parliament which highlighted the benefits of the European Location Framework.

2014: Members play a key role in establishing UN-GGIM: Europe for which EuroGeographics provides the secretariat.

2015: We sign a contract to provide European geographic information and related services to the European Commission through Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

2015: We announce a closer working relationship with EuroSDR which provides a framework for European spatial data research and development.

2015: We took our Maps for Europe exhibition to the European Commission demonstrating how geospatial information from official sources can be used to help deliver EU priorities.

2016: Together with 15 of our members, we help deliver the European Location Framework (ELF) Project which provides a solid foundation on which to build future European location services.

2017: Launch of the Open European Location Services (Open ELS) Project, which is co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility.

2017: Members unanimously approve our renewed strategy setting out a vision for a society empowered by their authoritative geospatial services.