Frequently asked questions about OpenELS

Aims, organisation and funding


What is the Open European Location Services (ELS) project?

Open ELS is developing pan-European and cross-border open data services using authoritative geospatial information, and designing an associated business model. In doing so, it aims to improve the availability and interoperability of open geospatial information from the public authorities responsible for mapping, cadastre and land registries.


Who is delivering Open ELS?

EuroGeographics, an independent, international, not-for-profit membership association for European National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities, is coordinating the two-year initiative. It is working with partners from member organisations in Norway, The Netherlands, Great Britain, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Germany.

Read more about the Project Partners


What is the aim of the Open ELS Project?

Open ELS aims to provide European open data services to maximise the:

  • Use of authoritative geospatial information by providing certainty about what is free, what is charged for and under what terms and conditions.
  • Benefits of open geospatial information from official national sources by making it easy to find, access and re-use.
  • Contribution of public authorities responsible for mapping, cadastre and land registries in delivering user-focused open data for European Location Services.

The Project is a core component of a wider vision for operational European Location Services. These will provide European geospatial data services from official national sources.


How is the Open ELS Project funded?

The Open ELS Project is co-financed by the European Union Connecting Europe Facility. It has a total budget of €2.4 million and receives 50 per cent funding from the European Commission with the remainder being met by the Project partners.


What will the Open ELS Project deliver?

The Open ELS Project will deliver the following:

  • Open ELS data policy
  • Open ELS Standard License and terms of use
  • Open ELS help desk
  • Open ELS business model and operational plan
  • Open ELS Data Provider agreement
  • Three prototyped use cases
  • Report on compliance with the MQA applied by the European Data Portal
  • Open ELS linked to European Data Portal
  • Implementation of eTranslation
  • Final Open ELS platform

You can check on progress here…


What are European location services and what is the relationship with Open ELS ?

EuroGeographics facilitates access to official, authoritative geospatial data from its members, Europe’s National Mapping, Cadastre and Land Registry Authorities. We do this by producing pan-European products and, together with our members, we are committed to further developing European location services  as a fundamental resource to help tackle important issues as well as critical applications required for the public good.

We believe there are many benefits for users and for society in having a single access point for international users of harmonised, pan-European, authoritative geospatial information and services. The Open European Location Services (Open ELS) project demonstrates this potential.


Why is the Open ELS Project developing a data policy?

One of the key aims of the Open ELS Project is to provide certainty about what open data from official sources is free, what is charged for and under what terms and conditions. The Open ELS Data Policy aims to provide clarity about data defined as open for the purposes of the project. It complements the national activities of NMCAs and respects their national policy, legislative and business requirements


Do organisations have to make all their data open to take part in the Open ELS Project?

No, the Open ELS Project uses only members’ information that is already available as open data. The Project is not demanding that members make other data open – we respect their national policy, legislative and business requirements.


How is the Open ELS Project data policy being developed?

The Open ELS Project open data policy and licensing framework was developed using the results of our recent survey on open data already available from official national sources across geographical Europe. The research, which concluded in November 2017, includes information from 46 institutions in 32 European countries


How does the Open ELS Project define open data?

There is no universally agreed definition for open data. For the purposes of the Open ELS Project, however open data is defined as: Data from official national sources available free of charge under an open licence that are free to access and made available to the public without any restriction that impedes reuse.

Coverage, data supply and specifications


How can I supply data to the Project?

Data is being supplied by the European National Mapping, Cadastral and Land Registry Authorities. The project activities include capacity building and developing an engagement plan for improving coverage. More information can be found by logging into the EuroGeographics website and visiting European Location Services.

Please contact Saulius Urbanas for further information.



How will data from the Project be licensed?

Open ELS services will complement the national activities of members and will respect national policy, legislative and business requirements. The delivery of an open data policy, standard licence and terms of use are key milestones and are developed in the project.


Will data provided by the Project meet the INSPIRE specifications?

Yes, the Project partners will deliver a streamlined process for data and metadata production to ensure compliance with INSPIRE specifications and improve overall quality.


Will the Open ELS Project connect with any other open data initiatives?

Open ELS will be linked to European Data Portal using the gold book and harvesting guidance.


Who can supply data to the Project?

Content and coverage is key. All members of EuroGeographics are encouraged to provide their open data to the project. In doing so, they will demonstrate their contribution to delivering user-focused geospatial data for European Location Services.


How can access the Open ELS test services?

The Open European Location Services (ELS) Project customer interface provides access to the test services developed in the project.

The services available include:

  • Open EuroGlobalMap, topographic data from 45 countries and territories
  • An open cadastral index map
  • An open regional gazetteer service
  • And, demonstrations of open web feature test services for addresses and buildings.