Many different open information sources currently exist for protecting the environment in Europe, mainly focused on Natura 2000 network, and areas where environmental protection and activities like tourism need to be balanced. Managing these data and integrating them for supporting decision makers and for novel uses is a challanging task. The SmartOpenData project (2013-1015) aims to define mechanisms for acquiring, adapting and using Open Data provided by existing sources for environment protection in European protected areas. Through target pilots in these areas, the project will harmonise metadata, improve spatial data fusion and visualisation and publish the resulting information according to user requirements and Linked Open Data principles to provide new opportunities for use. This paper provides an introduction to the SmartOpenData with a specific focus on the motivation, goals, and technical focus of the project, and outlines the architecture of the approach taken by SmartOpenData.