Initiative: SEIS

The concept of a shared environmental information system (SEIS) has been introduced by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and the European Commission (EC). The underlying principles were published by the EC as Communication in 2008, and are as follows:

  1. information should be managed as close as possible to its source;
  2. information should be collected once, and shared with others for many purposes;
  3. information should be readily available to public authorities and enable them to easily fulfill their legal reporting obligations;
  4. information should be readily accessible to end-users, primarily public authorities at all levels from local to European, to enable them to assess in a timely fashion the state of the environment and the effectiveness of their policies, and to design new policy;
  5. information should also be accessible to enable end-users, both public authorities and citizens, to make comparisons at the appropriate geographical scale (e.g. countries, cities, catchment areas) and to participate meaningfully in the development and implementation of environmental policy;
  6. information should be fully available to the general public, after due consideration of the appropriate level of aggregation and subject to appropriate confidentiality constraints, and at national level in the relevant national language(s); and
  7. information sharing and processing should be supported through common, free open-source software tools.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have an essential role to play in the context of Environmental systems as they provide the necessary support in terms of tools, systems and protocols to establish a dynamic environmental space of collaboration in a more and more sophisticated digital world. Core challenges are not only related to providing seamless environmental data access to public authorities, businesses and the public at large, but also to allowing for interoperable environmental services based on Web technologies, and stimulating new market opportunities. ICT for environmental collaboration is widely recognized as a major step for addressing complex management issues including adaptation to climate change and sustainable management of urban environment.

Environmental services infrastructures should follow the SEIS principles by enabling end-users to participate in environmental decision making processes through the planned environmental services infrastructure. Open source technologies can support the easy creation of new environmental models by coupling existing services to compositions, and to publish these models in domain-specific scenario websites which enable both, the general public and the environmental experts, to interact with the models and integrate them into decision-making processes.

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