INSPIRE Thematic Clusters

Statistical Cluster meeting @ the INSPIRE Conference


Dear all,

First of all a big thank you for showing up at the Statistical Cluster meeting held last Thursday at the INSPIRE Conference. Below you will find a summary of our fruitful discussions :)

I. Population Distribution data provision:

The main topic was the Population Distribution (demography) data model which - as was agreed during the meeting - is in its current state not feasible for data providers nor is it useful for data users. The main problem with the model is the presence of only one featureType (StatisticalDistrubution), which forces data providers to store multiple values (for different statistical units AND different classification elements) in a single feature. The geometry of this feature is a polygon covering the whole area of dissemination (e.g. a country), which causes even more confusion.

The discussion focused on ongoing and planned research activities, which may solve this issue. The possible solutions are as follows:

1.) Table Joining Services: researched by Statistics Netherlands, a solution that allows on-the-fly merging of a geometry service with a flat data table:


- geometry service for statistical units,

- table with statistical data.


- WMS,

- WFS,

- WCS (to be confirmed).


- solves the problem of the PD model having no geometry,

- provides a useful form of PD data visualization.


- TJS output model is basically statistical units model + a statistical value for each feature. It does not comply with the PD model,

- no support for multi-dimensional data (needs to be "flattened" to a table to enable processing),

- performance issues occur for population grids.

2.) Web Coverage Services: a research idea by Kathi Schleidt and Peter Baumann to use WCS for PD data provision.

There could be a possibility to build an alternative output model for PD data via WCS that could respect the implementing rules (IRs) for PD (a mapping of such model to PD IRs should be researched).


- WCS can deal easily with multidimensional data (hypercubes), data "slicing" and aggregation on-the-fly possible by querying the service,


- fit to use with population grid data but possibility to use with polygon statistical units to be confirmed.

3.) SDMX: Member States already provide statistical data in a structured data and metadata model (SDMX). An inquiry to JRC needs to be made if SDMX provision could be treated as fulfillment of PD IRs.

It is possible that SDMX already allows data aggregation on-the-fly (to be confirmed by Eurostat).

Data provision for the 2021 Population and Housing Census is currently researched within the GEOSTAT3 project - an SDMX grid is being designed, which can be easily transformed into a WCS if needed.

II. Implementing rules and change proposals:

JRC is collecting change proposals for the Implementing Rules until September 15th. Proposals can be submitted via National Contact Points. 

PD implementing rules have been discussed during the meeting and it was agreed to submit change proposals either concrete or just to signal a need for changing the model in the future (as time is needed for further research).

A separate topic with PD implementing rules will be posted for quick discussion on what to submit til the end of the week. General proposals are:

- ask JRC if providing SDMX data could be considered as fulfilling the PD implementing rules,

- StatisticalValue has a mandatory "comment" field in the IRs - check if it's the same in the model in Technical Guidelines and file a proposal to change it to voidable,

- suggest that there is ongoing researched on TJS for PD data provision, which may create a need to alter model in the future,

- suggest that there is a need to finance research for a new PD model that would be feasible for data providers and useful for users.


Please let me know in the comments if I missed or misunderstood something and I will correct it in the summary. Once again thank you for showing up and I encourage you to continue our discussions on the cluster.


Statistical Cluster

Statistical Cluster

Join this group if you would like to share knowledge or ask questions regarding the INSPIRE implementation of Statistical Units [SU], Population Distribution (Demography) [PD] or Human Health and Safety [HH] data themes.