What do we need laws for ?

In Norway we have found that establishing an SDI on a voluntary basis have worked well. We have had no need so far to establish a legal framework, in the form of new legislation or changes to existing legislation. The government regulates its own activities and other stakeholders have voluntarily joined in, seeing the advantages for themselves. For Europe a different approach is used by the European Union. An SDI is being established with the use of a legal framework, the INSPIRE directive with supplementing regulations. As a supplement for the needs of the private sector, EU has the PSI (re-use) directive. It is interesting to compare these approaches by analysing the need and use of a legal framework for establishing an SDI. It is also interesting to look at what happens when a voluntary solution is about to be replaced by a law reform. Laws and regulations are tools for a purpose and not an end in itself. The question is whether a regulatory approach helps in a way that other tools cannot, It is also a general experience that legislation meant to initiate a fairly large reform in a certain area, needs vigorous follow up for a long time in order to work as expected. The role of the public sector is important in the discussion of how to establish and SDI. In this context, one cannot avoid the issue of funding and the discussion on whether the moving around of money between public organisations serves a purpose. In a global perspective it is interesting to consider how these two approaches, legislation or cooperation will work in other places. There are places where establishing data and services that will work in a modem technological environment are more important than an SDI, because an SDI needs data and data services like a road network needs the roads and the road signs. It is also a consideration that some of the ambitions of an SDI as they have been defined up to now, should be reconsidered when considering the tools for implementing an SDI.

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Aslesen Laila


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