Brief description: Lead Scientist at European Commission Joint Research Centre. Founding Member Vespucci Initiative for the Advancement of Geographic Information Science (

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About me

Lead Scientist at the Digital Economy Unit, European Commission, Joint Research Centre. The Unit focuses on understanding digital transformations, anticipating trends and identifying opportunities for growth and innovation in the interest of European citizens. Within the Unit, I am responsible for projects on the Space Data Economy and the Value of Earth Observation.

In 2015-16, I led the  MYGEOSS project, and  supported  the Copernicus programme in identifying the opportunities and barriers to the exploitation of open data and Earth Observation for innovation, growth, and environmental monitoring.

My research addresses three main themes: (i) the socio-economic impact of open data and interoperability of systems in public administrations, (ii) enabling multi-disciplinary interoperability to address global scientific questions, and (iii) the transformative impacts in society of integrating data from multiple sources, including public and private sectors, citizens and sensors in the Big Data paradigm. With reference to (i), I am a member of the team coordinating the implementation of the INSPIRE Directive, aimed at creating and infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe. In the team, I was responsible for the development of the INSPIRE Implementing Rules for Metadata, and for research on the socio-economic impact of spatial data infrastructures and INSPIRE. With reference to (ii), I have been the Technical Coordinator of the FP7 EuroGEOSS research project (2009-12) focusing on multi-disciplinary interoperability in three thematic areas: Drought, Biodiversity/Protected Areas, and Forestry. I was then Scientific Coordinator of the FP7 GEO Weather, Ocean, Water project (GEOWOW, 2012-14) which extended the approaches developed in EuroGEOSS to these other three thematic areas. With reference to (iii), I led projects on citizen science in for environmental management and urban quality of life, using Digital Earth as the metaphor to develop interoperability across multiple sources and provide more dynamic understanding of complex physical and social processes. I coordinate a new project to understand the digital transformation of society with a particular focus on the implications for governance and inclusion, and  represent JRC in the Big Data Task Force of the European Statistical System.


Member of Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Programme Board, and co-chair GEO initiative GEOSS-EVOLVE. Co-chair of GEOSS Infrastructure Implementation Board (until 2015), member of the Science & Technology Committee, GEOSS Data Sharing Task Force (2007-11).


Co- founder and Chief editor of the International Journal of Spatial Data Infrastructures Research ( (until 2014), and co- founder of the Vespucci Initiative for the Advancement of Geographic Information Science (


In his Previous Life:




Senior Lecturer in Information Management, Dept. Town & Regional Planning, University of Sheffield. PI of one the ESRC e-social science pilot projects. Director of the Sheffield Centre for Geographic Information and Spatial Analysis, and of EC-funded Geographic Information Network in Europe. Editor for the Extended Impact Assessment of the INSPIRE initiative of the EC (2003-04). Chair of European Special Interest Group of the AGI.




Lecturer in GIS and Information Management, Dept. Town & Regional Planning, University of Sheffield and Co-ordinator of the European Science Foundation’s GISDATA scientific programme. I was also Director of the EC-funded Project on Methods for Access to Data and Metadata in Europe.


Even before that:




Urban and Regional planner with the United Nations’ Department for Technical Cooperation and Development, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Max has a degree in Civil Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, a MPhil in Urban & Regional Planning , University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in GIS and Planning, University of Sheffield.




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