8 May 2019

Completion of Open ELS project & next steps

European Commission funding for the Open ELS Project concluded on 30 April 2019 after two years of work. Without the engagement of all our project partners, and the skills and experiences of all our colleagues involved in the project activities, we would not have been able to achieve the project outcomes planned in our proposal. These play an important role in demonstrating the value of authoritative open geospatial data.

Open ELS test services were launched at Geospatial World Forum, in Amsterdam, and can be accessed via the Open ELS user interface, implemented during the project by ThinkWhere, a Scottish geospatial services company appointed following an open tender. We have already had very positive feedback on this user interface and available services from attendees at the Geospatial World Forum in Amsterdam at the beginning of April. You can try it for yourself by registering at: https://www.euro-geo-opendata.eu.

Open ELS outcomes

The Open ELS project has achieved what it set out to deliver in our project proposal, including a survey of small and medium sized enterprises (SME), and the identification of Open ELS use cases; An appraisal of the potential economic and social benefits of open data from authoritative sources, carried out on our behalf by Deloitte.; A policy and legal framework for Open ELS that allows us to use members’ open data for Open ELS and defines the terms and conditions for use and re-use of this data; Guidelines for edge-matching and a policy for cross-border harmonisation for our members; and compliance with the Metadata Quality Assurance (MQA) tool of the European Data (EDP) Portal. The Open ELS services metadata are now being harvested by the EDP.

Lessons learnt

In carrying out this work we have, together, learned a lot. We now have a better understanding of the complexity and challenges to set up open geospatial data services, what is required and how to do so; and there is a better understanding about the challenges of creating an operational service – with wider recognition that we need more than a technical solution, and we have a better understanding of the gaps remaining, to inform the way forward.

Bid for CEF Funding

You will be aware that EuroGeographics, on your behalf, bid for EU funding to continue the Open ELS work. We have now been informed this bid has not been successful. Whilst we are very proud of what we have achieved together, not only through these projects, but also through past projects part-funded by the EU, feedback from the European Commission reflects our belief that we have delivered as much as possible through funded projects and we must now grasp the opportunity to adapt our activities and strategy to meet the challenges of our changing landscape. More information on this will be presented in Leuven.

Next steps

We also expect many opportunities to be created for members through the PSI Open Data Directive for High Value Datasets and the Commission’s expected move towards accessing more data directly from official national sources. We encourage you to ensure you are involved in developing the rules governing high value data at both national and EU level, through your national representatives. EuroGeographics is committed to supporting you and will be as involved as practicably possible in the development of policies and rules concerning NMCA data.

Under the direction of the Management Board we are reviewing, renewing and reviving our strategy to ensure that we, and our members, remain relevant in an ever-changing environment. In doing so, our representation and relationships will help further define EuroGeographics as a facilitator for your data and the high value it represents to the public good. We will bring a revised strategy for approval at the October General Assembly.

Head Office Changes

With the completion of the Open ELS Project, and with the ending of EC funding, there are a number of changes to the ELS team at EuroGeographics Head Office. Saulius Urbanas completed his contract the end of April; Helen Kaestner will conclude her contract at the end of May, and Abigail Page at the end of June. Jari Reini has already concluded his secondment and returned to NLS Finland.

I would also like to inform you that Dominik Kopczewski’s secondment to EuroGeographics as Policy Development Manager has also come to an end and he has returned to Head Office of Geodesy and Cartography, Poland.

I know you will join us in wishing them well for the future and in thanking them for their commitment and invaluable contribution to the success of the Open ELS Project.