Implementation of INSPIRE Directive on Road Infrastructure in Portugal

Implementation of INSPIRE Directive on Road Infrastructure in Portugal


I Soares, P Matos Martins, Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa, PT


The problems with quality of the geographic information constitute an obstacle to its use and obtainment. In order to solve these problems, the EU established a legal framework for the creation of a European spatial information infrastructure.


On the 15th May 2007 entered in force the Directive 2007/2/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council, which establish an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community - INSPIRE. The Directive aims to provide the users with integrated spatial information services. These services should allow the users to identify and access, locally and globally, to spatial or geographical information from a wide range of sources, in an interoperable way for a variety of uses. The Directive was created with the purpose of making harmonized and high quality geographic information readily available for formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating Community policies. In addition, the Directive should help citizen to access spatial information, whether local, regional, national or international.

This paper describes the work done during a scholarship at the Portuguese road administration, at InIR ? Instituto Rodoviário Nacional, the state authority responsible for the management and regulation the national road network and concessionaries in Portugal. The scholarship allowed on the one hand to study the framework of the implementation of INSPIRE to the road infrastructure, in particular the institutional component of the regulator (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), on the other hand, allowed the development of a pilot project for the creation of an application to view, through a web service, road geographic information structured according to INSPIRE specifications.
The monitoring of the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive allowed the understanding of the most important gaps in this process, namely the lack of standardization in the provision of information by the concessionaires, and the unfamiliarity with the INSPIRE Directive. First, it was developed an analysis to point the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, in order to evaluate the strategic position of the Institute in the implementation of the INSPIRE directive. Afterwards, it was prepared a set of proposals for action, in order to facilitate the implementation of the specifications and guidelines of the INSPIRE Directive.

The methodology addressed during the development of the pilot project, was divided in different stages. The first stage was to conduct a survey with all the relevant information for the topic, available in the Institute. Then a sample, containing all the highways was selected from the national road network. The structure of the road network consists on a set of links (the central line of roads), connected by (road) nodes. In addition to geographic feature, the network is also composed by thematic elements, such as the attributes and properties of the network. According to the INSPIRE data specifications the network properties are: the number of lanes, roads? width, form of way, functional road class, form of road node, national road code and European road code.

Also accordingly, these properties were represented through linear referencing. This method allows the storage of "information" through the relative positions along the linear elements. This is essential to ensure the non-duplication of information as well as the unnecessary segmentation of the network elements. Then, it was necessary to correct the topology of the network, to create routes (used to project the properties of the network) and calibrate these routes. Using a set of tools from ArcInfo GIS it was possible to create the event tables for subsequent projection of the properties on the routes. With the help of the INSPIRE data specifications and technical documents, produced by the project EuroRoads, it was also possible to prepare a map with all the road geographic information and structure it correctly.

By using ArcGIS Server software, a web mapping service was established, in accordance with the INSPIRE technical provisions, followed by the creation of a web map application that allows users to view interoperable geographic information over the internet (URL: This web application allows the visualization of data related to the road infrastructure, but also data related with EuroRoads standards and other transport related data, such as capacity, % of Heavy Vehicles, AADT and other traffic related variables.

As future prospects, in terms of research we intend to make a comparative analyses between the INSPIRE Directive (DG Envo) and the standardization systems developed by the transport sector, such as CEN Transmodel (GD Move), in order to identify their common aspects and their potential for interoperability and/or harmonization.


Association for European Transport