Project overview

The impact on the Brittany coast (France) following the Amoco Cadiz oil spill on 16 March 1978.
The impact on the Brittany coast (France) following the Amoco Cadiz oil spill on 16 March 1978. ©

Natural phenomena do not respect national boundaries. Political decisions and challenges resulting from natural disasters are also trans-boundary concerns. However, the spatial data for the prevention of and protection from such events are provided in different formats using a range of systems in the various European countries.

The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe (INSPIRE) directive hopes to unify spatial data from many European organisations by developing a European Spatial Data Infrastructure (ESDI). The HUMBOLDT project will help provide a framework for this harmonisation and facilitate service integration.

HUMBOLDT is funded by the European Commission under the Sixth Framework Programme for research in the areas of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) — now renamed Kopernikus. This represents a concerted effort to bring data and information providers together with users, so they can better understand each other and make environmental and security-related information available to the people who need it. HUMBOLDT, a four year project which began in October 2006, brings together 28 partners from 14 countries and will help meet the goals of Kopernikus. For example

  • Sustainable urban management in order to improve the socio-economic conditions of cities
  • The management of protected areas of regional parks
  • Oil/Contaminants spill crisis impact and management
  • The development of a European Risk Atlas — detailing risks and vulnerability, including severe weather phenomena that cause natural hazards like floods

The objective of HUMBOLDT is to enable organisations to document and publish their spatial information in a consistent way. The tools and processes developed will assist in the implementation of the ESDI, supporting but not limited to, the realisation of the European Directive INSPIRE in GMES-related applications.

The HUMBOLDT strategy

The HUMBOLDT strategy includes

  • An analysis and evaluation of the current methods/ tools for geo data and metadata management
  • The specification of software architectures based on user requirements
  • An analysis of the steps necessary to harmonise data and metadata
  • The development of a framework and a variety of tools to be integrated into the ESDI
  • The development of scenarios in which the different components are applied and tested under realistic conditions

Cooperation with several other EDSI related projects has also been established. This ensures information exchange and reuse of expertise.