Coordinated collection of regional statistical data on EU-level is a core element of the European Statistical Programme (ESP). National Statistical Authorities deliver data according to a common reference frame, which is then compiled and published by Eurostat. Conventional statistical data on a regional level thus exists as time series and has a long history of collection, however for geospatial statistical data there is no such mandate for Eurostat. Activities related to the collection of Geostatistical Data on a pan-European level are therefore stronger linked to individual projects (as e.g. Geostat) or are conducted in relation to a specific topic and for a specific analysis purpose. The study analyses the existing legal framework of the EU and the progress that has been achieved in coordinating the collection of geostatistical data in the past 20 years.
The methodology of the study is based on a combination of expert interviews, literature review and analysis of legal documents on EU-level. Existing legal frameworks (e.g. INSPIRE directive), less formalised agreements between member states as well as activities of international organisations such as the OECD were analysed.
The study shows, that some progress could be already achieved in relation to coherent structuring of geodata sets (e.g. common metadata structures, common classification of datasets). Coherent databases with comparable sets of geospatial data across Member States and accessible to the general public however are yet to be developed on a pan-European scale. At the same time there is considerable demand for such datasets in the EU policy process, e.g. for Territorial Impact Assessments or Territorial Foresight methodologies in the EU policy impact assessment activities. The study shows the demand for as well as the possibilities provided by such geostatistical datasets as a basis for those activities.