Technological developments and an increasing awareness of the importance of geospatial data have created extraordinary amounts of this rich digital content. Such data assets, however, lack adequate dissemination and accessibility measures. Although the intelligent and effective use of GI comes through engaged and knowledgeable user-domains, these frequently coalesce in disparate virtual communities tied to e-government initiatives, programmes and projects.

As such, GI is typically clustered by application segments and its reuse is often not foreseen. Such issues impact on the real ability to access geospatial data and lead to the costly, unnecessary duplication of resources. In contrast, the recent INSPIRE Directive has recognised that the value of GI can be maximised through semantically well-defined metadata and its reuse supported through the widespread implementation of SDIs.