Last year, Steven Ramage (OGC) and I wrote an article for Directions Magazine on the practical legal challenges associated with implementing directives and policies creating national spatial data infrastructures (SDI's). Prof Arup Dasgupta, from Geospatial Media, summarized the issues much more succintly in a recently published editorial titled 'Acts and Actions' in Geospatial World Weekly (October 4, 2011):
"Many countries have enacted laws to enable the use of geospatial technology in governance. However, these Acts and Orders have to be followed up by action to actually realise the application of this technology in the intended areas. The NSDI was established by an executive order in the USA in 1994 and further amended in 2003. Similarly, the Indian NSDI was mandated in June 2006 by the Union Cabinet through an executive order. A European Union directive in 2007 established the INSPIRE project to realise an SDI for Europe. While many activities have been initiated and some have come to fruition, these laws have not always resulted in action in terms of realisation of an SDI which substantially meets all the envisaged geospatial data requirements of government, industry and its citizens. In many cases, these Acts have not taken into account the possible clash with extant laws. Thus, policies regarding access to modern geospatial data, individual privacy, surveillance and tracking, to name a few, often seem to be at loggerheads with these Acts. These clashes have resulted in the slow growth and tardy action in the realisation of SDIs. The action needed is to bring existing policies and laws in line with the new Acts so that we can then see some real action. "