This training module has been developed within the context of the NESIS project (

Author: Jaanus Heinlaid, Tieto Estonia (NESIS consortium). The material is provided under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (

The NESIS project is a Thematic Network promoted within the ICT-PSP (Information and Communication Technology - Policy Support Programme) and CIP (Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme) programmes.NESIS aims to assist the European Commission, the EU Member States and other public authorities in their efforts to create a Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) which has been conceived as a collaborative initiative of the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) to establish together with the Member States an integrated and shared EU-wide environmental information system.NESIS aims to help bridging the gap between the ICT domain and the public authorities mandated to create, manage and exchange environmental information. To do this, NESIS focuses on the ICT issues of SEIS by gathering information on what is the e-infrastructure that SEIS will be built upon and by proposing an ICT Roadmap and Technical Guidelines for the implementation of SEIS.
This module is composed by four components:

Module 1: NESIS approach towards SEIS requirements

The first Module introduces to the NESIS process to identify SEIS requirements, based on two complementary top-down and bottom-up visions. The top-down approach grounds on the current European policies and recommendations, i.e. the principles stated in the SEIS Communication. The bottom-up approach results from the collection and the analysis of Good Practices and typical existing business processes as they have evolved over the years. From those principles and from the analysis of processes and Good Practices this part offers then an overview of requirements derived for the ICT implementation of SEIS.

Module 2: SEIS ICT Components

Module two introduces ICT components of SEIS for the implementation of SEIS. It deals in different lessons regarding Metadata, Data Specifications and Network Services, following the taxonomy used in INSPIRE.

The lesson about Metadata discusses options for specifying a set of metadata elements for describing SEIS resources (such as data sets, services, documents, etc), and explores possibilities for encoding (i.e. formatting) these metadata elements. Both common metadata and specific metadata profiles for specific sections of environmental themes and reporting obligations are discussed.

The lesson about Data Specifications analyses approaches to develop a set of streamlined Data Specifications that would cover the needs of specific sections of environmental themes, and more precisely specific reporting obligations and legal instruments that regulate them. A common encoding format and schema language for all Data Specifications is also examined.

Finally, an architecture for SEIS is suggested. It is described at a high level in the third lesson of this module.

Module 3: ICT Services for SEIS: Implementation Options

Module three proposes a preliminary ICT Roadmap for the implementation of SEIS, i.e. it suggests the services it should offer to its users (be they humans or computers). Each lesson is devoted to the description of a service and it is divided in two parts. The first one “Need and general description” describes the choices of NESIS with respect to the high-level ICT solutions for the identified requirements following the taxonomy used in INSPIRE, whilst the second one “Technical options for the implementation” proposes guidelines for implementing what the participating systems of SEIS are expected to provide. Technologies that could be used for implementing these interfaces are also discussed.

Module three describes the services partly based on the state of art of the INSPIRE Directive and its implementing rules.

Module 4: SEIS-specific ICT aspects

Module four integrates the preliminary ICT Roadmap introduced in Module three. In particular, it analyses the aspects that are specific to SEIS with solutions proposed that can be considered to build further on INSPIRE developments. Six topics are taken into account. The first lesson  proposes guidelines for discovering and acquiring environmental data provided voluntarily by organisations not bounded by any potential SEIS related legislation. The following lesson introduces proposal to take into account a wider set of information, namely documents or information products.  The third lesson takes matter further on network service characteristics needed to modernise the way in which information  required in various pieces of environmental legislation (e.g. in reporting obligations) is made available. Finally, the last three lessons are devoted to Data Processing an Semantics, Linking Spatial and Environmental Domains, Streamlining thesauri and other reference data.

Learning outcomes
When completing this module, the learner is expected to be able to provide suitable elements for understanding, commenting and amending, and in perspective implementing, the NESIS proposal for SEIS and -in general- to follow ICT issues of implementing SEIS.
Intended Audience
The targeted audience can be, based on the professional profile/skill of the readers and on the role that they have within their organization, the following categories of learners:
  • Decision makers and managers, who could ignore Technical options for the implementation sections (within Modules three and four)
  • ICT technicians and operators

The only prerequisite required to the learner in order to make a profitably use of ITC Services for SEIS course is the knowledge on INSPIRE methodology and taxonomy.

PDF documents, presentations. The module is a self-learning module.
Expected workload