Access to high quality data is essential in order to better understand the environmental and health impact of noise in an increasingly urbanised world. This paper analyses how recent developments of spatial data infrastructures in Europe can significantly improve the utilization of data and streamline reporting on a pan-European scale. The Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community (INSPIRE), and Environmental Noise Directive (END) described in this manuscript provide principles for data management that, once applied, would lead to a better understanding of the state of environmental noise. Furthermore, shared, harmonised and easily discoverable environmental spatial data, required by the INSPIRE, would also support the data collection needed for the assessment and development of strategic noise maps. Action plans designed by the EU Member States to reduce noise and mitigate related effects can be shared to the public through already established nodes of the European spatial data infrastructure. Finally, data flows regarding reporting on the state of environment and END implementation to the European level can benefit by applying a decentralised e-reporting service oriented infrastructure. This would allow reported data to be maintained, frequently updated and enable pooling of information from/to other relevant and interrelated domains such as air quality, transportation, human health, population, marine environment or biodiversity. We describe those processes and provide a use case in which noise data from two neighbouring European countries are mapped to common data specifications, defined by INSPIRE, thus ensuring interoperability and harmonisation.
Keywords: Environmental Noise Directive; INSPIRE; e-reporting; noise data; spatial data infrastructure.