Work continues on data integration

UN-GGIM: Europe’s working group on data integration is chaired by Germany and has 20 participating organisations from 17 Member States.

It was responsible for UN-GGIM: Europe’s first deliverable, a report on priority user needs by the working group on data integration, which was adopted at the 2015 Plenary.

This showed how evidence-based decision making can benefit from geospatial data when combined with other statistical information. It also found that growing demand for data analysis across user-defined geographical areas is driving the need for a geocoded point-based reference system.

The report recommends that all countries in Europe work together to create a geocoded spatial reference framework for statistics which uses consistent unique identifiers to reference relevant information. In total it contains five recommendations:

  • That Member States in Europe support the development of a European Spatial Data Strategy based on comprehensive National Spatial Data Strategies. This includes an obligation to geocode all administrative data records at unit level and to use geospatial information that is already available, rather than creating their own datasets.
  • That Member States initiate a process to increase the number of national authoritative geospatial datasets to better meet stakeholders requirements.
  • That Member States consider the requirements of National Statistical Institutes to provide geospatial information for following trends and changes in the environment.
  • That Member States promote the use of geospatial workflows and technology as key to advancing the integration of geospatial and thematic information.
  • That Member States promote the use of geospatial workflows and technology, in particular for the Census 2021.

During the past year, the working group on data integration has focused on reviewing current European interoperability networks and best practice guidance for interactions between international organisations. In addition, it is investigating potential side effects from data combinations, including an examination of governance methodology for dealing with those in multi-sourced spatial data and applications. Its findings are due later in 2016.

The working group is also providing Europe’s contribution to the global process on developing a framework for monitoring SDG indicators by acting as the link with the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs). Its role includes ensuring IAEG-SDG’s working group on geospatial information has access to existing work in Europe, helping to develop methodologies and approaches, and making these available to the European authorities responsible for monitoring.