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Study on policy issues relating to geographic information (GI) in Europe

The European Commission, DG XIII, has published an invitation to tender for a study on policy issues relating to geographic information (GI) in Europe. Encouraging the development and use of European information content is one of the objectives of the proposed INFO2000 progra...

The European Commission, DG XIII, has published an invitation to tender for a study on policy issues relating to geographic information (GI) in Europe. Encouraging the development and use of European information content is one of the objectives of the proposed INFO2000 programme, approved by the Commission on 30 June 1995. Actions under this programme include the development of a common policy on access to, and exploitation of, public sector information, steps to maximize public sector contribution to the information society by improving access to public sector information, and the definition of a practical approach to trading multimedia rights across the Community. A major debate is already under way, on a global basis, concerning national and international policies relating to information, its use and potential abuse. Major data policy issues now under discussion include threats to personal privacy, copyright/IPR, security, availability, accessibility, pricing, quality, liability and abuse of monopolistic control of information. These issues need to be examined also from the point of view of the increasing use of geographic information. Geographic information (GI) and related technology will bring many benefits to society as well as certain risks. Integrated policies are needed in Europe, across all Member States, across information industry sectors and across disciplines, in order to reduce the risks while not impeding the promotion of GI to achieve substantial benefits. In particular, broad agreement on data policy is needed among all actors in the European geographic information sector. Policy on data pricing, especially from public bodies, varies across Europe. The proposal to create a minimum set of geographic information base data for the whole of Europe has opponents and proponents, as does the discussion surrounding possible creation of freely available public domain geographic information to help stimulate the market and for educational use. Clarifying these issues will remove the uncertainty for all parties currently involved in the collection, dissemination and exchange of geographic data, permitting market growth for geographic information in both the private and public use sectors. The object of this study will be to examine, within the context of European geographic information, the issues of data privacy, copyright, liability and security and protection of data, data quality, monopoly positions, pricing policy, minimum EC-wide base data and public domain data. Further issues specific to geographic information may be identified and clarified. Based on the results of the study, structures and methods can be proposed to create enhanced awareness of the issues and stronger interdisciplinary consultation on resolving the issues. The tender documents, including the detailed specifications, may be obtained by written request indicating the name and address of the requesting organization, from: European Commission Directorate-General XIII/E Contract Management Jean Monnet Building (B4/41) L-2920 Luxembourg Fax +352-430134079 Completed tenders should be submitted to the same address.

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