The availability of timely, accessible and well documented data plays a central role in the process of digital transformation in our societies and businesses. Considering this, the European Commission has established an ambitious agenda that aims to leverage on the favourable technological and political context and build a society that is empowered by data-driven innovation. Within this context, geospatial data remains critically important for many businesses and public services. The process of establishing Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) in response to the legal provisions of the European Union INSPIRE Directive has a long history. While INSPIRE focuses mainly on ’unlocking’ data from the public sector, there is need to address emerging technological trends, and consider the role of other actors such as the private sector and citizen science initiatives. The objective of this paper, given those bounding conditions is twofold. Firstly, we position SDI-related developments in Europe within the broader context of the current political and technological scenery. In doing so, we pay particular attention to relevant technological developments and emerging trends that we see as enablers for the evolution of European SDIs. Secondly, we propose a high level concept of a pan-European (geo)data space with a 10-year horizon in mind. We do this by considering today’s technology while trying to adopt an evolutionary approach with developments that are incremental to contemporary SDIs.
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