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Maritime Forum

12th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting Spring 2020

bringing it all under one roof


Meeting Venue: Remote Meeting – WebEx

Dates: Tuesday 21 April 2020 (13:30-17:00 CET) – Wednesday 22 April 2020 (9:00-13:00 CET)

Meeting Chairs: Iain Shepherd (DG MARE) & Jan-Bart Calewaert (Head, EMODnet Secretariat)

List of Participants: see Annex I

Actions list







SC members are invited to provide further feedback on meeting Document 1 with recommendations from MKEG and EMODnet next phase directly to DG MARE (ZK)

31 May 2020

EMODnet Steering Committee


EMODnet Secretariat and project coordinators to take part in the European Strategy for data Consultation, open until 31 May 2020

31 May 2020

EMODnet Steering Committee


EMODnet Thematic Coordinators to consider options to track Covid-19 impacts on the marine environment and blue economy

31 May 2020

EMODnet thematic Coordinators


DG MARE to circulate available information regarding migration to the Europa domain

when possible



SC members are invited to send information on all upcoming activities/events to Secretariat

31 May 2020, ongoing

EMODnet Steering Committee


Secretariat to update the events/calendar 2020 with input from SC

Document 3 updated as a living document, update website with ongoing events

EMODnet Secretariat


SC are invited to provide further feedback to the Secretariat on Meeting Document 4 (next steps for strengthening collaboration with CMEMS, RSCs and EU Directives MSFD and MSP)

31 May 2020

EMODnet Steering Committee


EMODnet Thematic Portals to add a link to the general EMODnet Terms of Use and update the Terms of Use on their own website using the main principles and recommended acknowledgements

31 May 2020

EMODnet thematic Coordinators


EMODnet SC are invited to provide further feedback on the EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree agenda

Ongoing (timing depending on decision whether to postpone the physical Conference)

EMODnet Secretariat


DG MARE to take a decision if the Conference will take place in Ostend or as a virtual event

15 May 2020


Decided – main event postponed to Spring 2021


EMODnet Secretariat to see how to integrate a section about MSFD in one of the 8 new EMODnet videos

7 September 2020

EMODnet Secretariat


EMODnet Secretariat to share concept notes from EOOS pilot activities with the EMODnet Steering Committee

15 May 2020

EMODnet Secretariat


EMODnet Secretariat to exchange with EMODnet Physics about map layers in the European Atlas of the Seas

5 May 2020

EMODnet Secretariat

Meeting held 5 May 2020


To clarify the open source status and re-usability/adaption options of the broker for EMOD-PACE after the project

31 May 2020

EMODnet Secretariat

Meeting Minutes

DAY 1, Tuesday 21 April 2020

  1. Welcome & Introduction

Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC), Head of the EMODnet Secretariat, opened the meeting, welcomed all participants and thanked those who had provided their inputs and feedback in advance of the meeting. He noted the exceptional circumstances of Covid-19 which meant that the SC meeting could only take place as a remote online-meeting. JBC reviewed the practical arrangements and guidelines for the remote meeting. The Meeting Agenda was adopted.

  1. Updates from DG MARE
  • DG MARE Vision Objectives & Priorities for next phase of EMODnet

Iain Shepherd (IS) and Zoi Konstantinou (ZK) presented overall updates, and acknowledged that the EMODnet programme has become more embedded in the EU policy and legislative processes, e.g. within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) monitoring indicators and the Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) processes. The cooperation with Copernicus Marine (CMEMS) has become very much embedded, initially with the particular emphasis on EMODnet Physics and Chemistry. Both EMODnet and CMEMS would benefit from continuing, even further deepening of the collaboration.

Regarding European Union Strategies, IS referred to the European Digital Strategy[1] and the Digital Earth[2] as drivers for providing interoperable data, noting that access to data is a priority for researchers. He noted that the future Horizon Europe would include a ‘Mission Ocean’ where access to marine data would also be very important. And for the European Green Deal IS noted the even more ambitious and tougher emission targets which will drive renewable energy requirements from marine sources and hence the need for more data and information to manage human activities at sea. He also noted biodiversity strategies including the “Farm to fork” strategy that included food from the ocean where EMODnet could play a role.

Regarding users, IS noted that EMODnet has good testimonials from users and Associated Partners. He also noted that Wind Europe used EMODnet data to produce their 2050 projections of wind energy in the European Regional Seas. In addition, on an international level, EMODnet is also focusing on cooperation with China through the EMOD-PACE collaborative marine data project. This has provided added-value of EMODnet efforts and impact beyond Europe, both on the diplomatic front, as well as with regard to adopting best practices in data modelling, as well as data interoperability and accessibility. Regarding international initiatives, (IS) also referred to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, in particular the theme on a “Transparent and FAIR, Accessible Ocean” where EMODnet was most relevant and could provide important contributions. Lastly, referring to Covid-19 IS noted that the Blue Economy would be hard hit, in particular the tourism industry but also with wider impacts on maritime industries, e.g., Wind Europe.

The next phase of EMODnet will see the programme move towards a more integrated approach with centralised access to all data resources, with the objective to significantly improve EMODnet as a service provider and maintain and expand the EMODnet user base. In the context of this Steering Committee conceptual discussions are useful as to consider how to best prepare EMODnet for its next phase.

Updates on the Marine Knowledge Expert group – Meeting document 1

DG MARE (ZK) has released a document with updates and recommendations from the MKEG, (Document 1), and invited questions and feedback both during the meeting as well as post-meeting by email. DG MARE also highlighted a Consultation on European Strategy for data, open until 31 May 2020:

  • See table 1 for Action 1 and Action 2
  • General feedback and discussion with Steering Committee

Jun She (JS) provided some thoughts on the impact of COVID-19 and how EMODnet could help with open access marine data to assess impacts of COVID-19. For example, there is a significant decrease in human activities and there may be fast changes and impacts on pollutants, biodiversity etc. (IS) agreed this would be a good approach to see with e.g. Chemistry, Seabed Habitats and Biology if it is possible to detect trends. ZK added that it would be good opportunity to demonstrate the value of open access to marine data and data products.

  • See table 1 for Action 3

In reference to EMOD-PACE, JBC advocated the comparison of vessel density data from pre-COVID-19, during and after. Dick Schaap (DS) noted that the recent All-Atlantic Ocean Forum for the Digital Earth would also be useful in these efforts. DG MARE (IS) referred to the Green Deal package with Horizon 2020 and suggested that the last tranche in 2020 could be put forward to the Twin Ocean or it could come into Mission Ocean in 2021 onwards. Digital Earth is from IT budgets (not RTD) to set up a permanent infrastructure.

  1. General updates from the Secretariat
  • Impact of COVID-19 on EMODnet operations, developments & continuity of service

JBC provided participants with an update of recent staff additions to the Secretariat and ongoing review of the EMODnet Secretariat workplan in view of new vision objectives and developments. An overview of the full EMODnet Secretariat team, their roles and focal points for the main strands of work (governance, monitoring progress, communication, European ocean observation coordination and European Atlas of the Seas) will be provided in June.

  • List of actions from previous meetings (Secretariat & all) – Meeting document 2

JBC provided a review for each of the Actions identified in the 11th Steering Committee meeting, as follows:

  • Action 11: A new MSP Technical Working Group meeting will take place on 23 April 2020, attended the EMODnet Secretariat (JA), DG MARE (ZK; IS) and EMODnet Human Activities (Alessandro Pittito – AP);
  • Action 12: The EMODnet Secretariat has registered all thematic portals;
  • Action 13: EMODnet Contribution to a potential IOC side event (IOC Assembly postponed likely to early next year, 2021);
  • Action 14: Update on EMODnet Open Conference – this is addressed as a separate agenda item later on;
  • Action 15/16: Trust-IT has implemented the update to the visual guidelines but it is noted that with the move towards centralisation, more energy can go into interoperability aspects in the coming months;
  • Action 18: Monthly coordination meetings with VLIZ and EMODnet Secretariat, also open to TWG. Updating TWG Terms of Reference with adjusted timetable indicating that the regular 6 monthly meetings but also the possibility to join monthly remote meetings for technical discussions and updates in between;
  • Action 19 on technical assessment of minimum requirements – will be revisited in view of the new developments;
  • Action 20: Need a good relationship with data providers – how data is being used (linked to upcoming Dashboard). As discussed at 11th SC it would be good to have a central database of data providers and could be discussed how to achieve this in the TWG; and
  • Action 21: EASME to provide feedback on responses received on data protection. JBC invited EASME to update if a formal response was expected.

Juan-Carlos Fernandez-Gomez from EASME (JC) provided a brief overview of the work carried out during Summer-Autumn 2019 to check compliance with data protection. DG MARE and EASME are conducting a review of this in light of the migration of a range of DG MARE websites and portals to the Europa domain and DG MARE/EASME will come back with more information, feedback and instructions when needed and available.

  • See table 1 for Action 4
  • EMODnet activities, events and calendar 2020 – Meeting Document 3

The EMODnet Secretariat is working to make the central portal calendar more intuitive. Other meetings noted by the Steering Committee include the following:

  • IOC Assembly postponed likely to early next year, 2021;
  • MARETECH WS, Vigo, June (likely to be postponed or made remote);
  • Fishing for Data – pre-workshop webinar 20/5/2020;
  • Physics is also co-organising the next European Ferrybox and HF Radar meetings planned for 2nd week November; and
  • CMEMS annual meeting, moved to early Jan 2021.
  • Hack4Oceans normally 22-23 October 2020
  • See table 1 for Action 5 and Action 6
  • Interactions between EMODnet and other initiatives/actors (e.g. MSFD, RSCs, CMEMS) – Meeting Documents 4

The EMODnet Secretariat (KL) provided an overview and highlighted the collaborations with CMEMS and the recent coordination meeting including a call for a thematic meeting on “Coast and land-sea interfaces” bringing in all thematic areas of EMODnet and CMEMS. The main aim would be to develop and maintain coherence with the Regional Sea Conventions, (RSCs) and EU Directives (MSFD and MSP).

DG MARE (ZK), referred to the collaborative workshop “Marine data to support aquaculture in the North Atlantic”: the first of two workshops. DG MARE hopes that this will be the basis for a wider collaboration with a specific focus on different activities. Build on this experience for EMODnet for Business and see how we can collaborate with different sectors of the Blue economy to provide different kind of services. AP referred to EASME setting up a Technical Working Group on MSP with a kick-off meeting on Thursday 23/4.

Antonio Novellino (AN) noted the updates for Document 4, and the EMODnet Secretariat information on impulsive noise maps and using CORA 5.2 in Physics. Physics is also co-organising the next European Ferrybox and HF Radar meetings planned for 2nd week November, and also noted that now there is time to work on the Aquaculture workshop. A list of the services is suggested on how we can use data and products. DG RTD noted relevant to coastal issues: JPI Ocean and JPI Climate also launching the establishment of a Knowledge Hub on sea level rise. KL presented to the JPI Knowledge Hub SLR meeting tomorrow (23 April) and will include inputs for Sea Level Rise data and data products.

  • See table 1 for Action 7
  • EMODnet Terms of Use – Meeting Document 5

EMODnet data is coming from a wide variety of sources and different providers via a range of data repositories, aggregators and assembly centers. The suggested solution was to develop a general EMODnet Terms of Use providing insight in how EMODnet operates, where the data is coming from and how to make use of the services and acknowledge the data providers/services. JBC noted this is now online as a living document. The EMODnet Terms of Use were adopted.

  • See table 1 for Action 8

Agenda Item: 4: Creating a framework for new developments while maintaining the necessary (contractual) requirements under the current phase (All)

JBC provided a general introduction to the agenda item which calls for a new framework. With an increasing demand for blue-green data and access, there is an accompanying need for the technical expertise to harmonise and unlock the collected data and observations to generate products, services and add value.

  • How to prioritise ongoing/planned developments, website updates and harmonisation of the thematic portals – Meeting Document 6 (Summary of feedback from thematic lots will be shared prior/at the meeting)

An open discussion followed based on the supporting discussion document distributed by VLIZ (Meeting Document 7), as well as the feedback and input collated from the thematic Portal (Meeting Document 6). The feedback gauged during the open session showed that there is general support for the new vision objectives, but that there are some concerns in terms of e.g. time resources and demands for technical support and feedback in the coming months. The participants shared ideas and recommendations on how to take it forward. DG MARE emphasized that in the absence of clear Terms of Reference with requirements for the next phase, it is useful to consider possible challenges, but that the points and discussions can only be conceptual at this point.

  • Open discussion on EMODnet Central Portal Gateway framework and next steps – Meeting Document 7

The high level vision and concept proposed in the document received general support and was appreciated to gain a better understanding of the objectives, timeline and general framework. The point was made that before going to any discussion in terms of the integration itself, it is necessary to reach an agreement on what we mean by the terms ‘data’, ‘data products’, and ‘services’. AN noted the importance of being very clear with respect to data ownership. AN reminded that EMODnet Physics for example does not own the data, and are only creating products through EMODnet. AN supported the ‘Shop in Shop’ concept proposed by Dick Schaap (DS) (Bathymetry).

DS presented reflections on the next phase and vision of EMODnet and explained the shop-in-shop concept (see presentation included in Meeting Document 6). DS acknowledged that the EC / DG MARE are owners of the foreground, i.e., products and services, but that a distinction must be made for the data itself - which is not in itself owned by EMODnet. So far, the way the products are served has been defined by the individual thematic assembly groups, which means that an integrated Central Portal should be developed collectively to be successful, and without losing the basic principles and services. The EMODnet thematic lots are accountable for unlocking and harmonizing data and for generating data products but will share the Central Portal to promote and ‘Sell’ these and provide access to thematic data. This will also promote new users and additional traffic- shared traffic- creating a new identity, but retaining their own respective characters.

DG RTD asked how the developments involve CMEMS collaboration “Shouldn't integration of the EMODnet thematic portals consider also integration with CMEMS? DG MARE referred to the European Data Strategy, as Open data are becoming mainstream. There is the need to be aware of what other communities are doing (e.g. SeaDataNet) different to the EMODnet thematic areas, so there could be a shared infrastructure and a common interface. IS reminded that it will be critical to ensure enough visibility to the data providers and to support the sustainability of data creation.

The main focus should be to look at it from a service-orientation perspective and remove barriers to search, retrieval and re-usability of the data. Before moving on with integration of services, it is important to showcase the success achieved over the past 10 years, which should be built upon. At the same time not to forget the central catalogue and services which are already in place and which give an idea of the different components which are shared. In addition, the Chemistry Portal highlighted that users use a lot of the spatial features. Different format services, and customisations were necessary to respond to the needs of the users. This does need to be considered, as the customisation of the services may be important to users to retain as part of the service.

According to DG RTD (NS), the main aim should be to lower the barriers for users to be able to find, access, re-use data and data products (i.e. following the FAIR principles) as much as possible and if this requires integration of the thematic data services than this is worthwhile.

Some EMODnet thematic coordinators expressed concerns about what will happen on the short term within the scope of the current contract, e.g., the development of improved APIs, proposed by the DG MARE in the opening session of this meeting, needs to be clarified in terms of what needs to be done in the scope of the current contract. Based on what DG MARE (ZK) has indicated, JBC concluded that the contracts are what they are and cannot be changed, but nevertheless there are clearly possibilities to reallocate time, even slightly, to focus on those actions which will make sense towards sustaining future actions. DG MARE (ZK) clarified the tender process, and the proposal drafting procedures. She indicated that nothing new is expected from the thematic lots, but that within the current contract there are already clear requirements which are important in view of the future developments and which have not always (or yet) been carried out fully, e.g., ensuring interoperability, machine to machine communication using common standards and appropriate metadata to the level needed, etc. Therefore, as these issues remain pending (in the current contracts), it makes sense to emphasise these efforts which most contribute to the future vision of EMODnet. It is a good idea to invest more time in these issues than in the development of the portals/websites that are going to be discontinued.

Support of the new vision is provided by EMODnet Biology, but JB cautions that the existing users should not be lost, and a safeguard put in place against any ‘Loss of ‘branding’. Clear communication and guidance towards where we are heading is necessary.

For EMODnet Geology (HV), the main concern is the interconnectedness of terrestrial and offshore geology. The coastal data therefore, in particular in terms of geohazards, is a concern. This could be one of the future products which is ‘On a higher level’ so that a geohazards layer is created. This is just an example, but it is clear that we cannot use the supporting engine that is the EGU to the Central Portal. There are technical issues of how the ‘Connection’ can actually be undertaken to be further discussed at the appropriate time.

DG MARE (IS) referred to the recent EMODnet-CMEMS coordination meeting on 20 April noting there were early plans for a meeting with Copernicus on coastal issues which may address the topic raised by HV. IS reminded that one of the outcomes of the Checkpoints was to do things better at the coast. This has been progressed, but also Copernicus has woken up to this, as we had a ‘Gap’, and so we need to try to work out how to be compatible with them, as well as with ‘Digital Earth’, i.e., interoperability efforts will help the overall vision. The centralisation and move to interoperability is a first stage but necessary to ensure EMODnet is ready for integrating with other parts, e.g. Land-Sea and Digital Earth and Digital Ocean/Twin Ocean.

EMODnet Human Activities (AP), shared concerns of other thematic lots in terms of possible demands for time and technical support to underpin future developments but also recognized that the new vision objectives make perfect sense. It has always been clear to them that one day it would develop in this way (a single portal for more consistency and harmonisation). Day to day experience with the live chat for example shows that users have problems, and show that there is a confusion to have EMODnet ‘Spread across several portals’. He added that if we work towards one central map viewer, there will be more consistency but users will lose something. There will be a trade-off: increasing consistency but at a potential loss of customisation. Thierry Schmitt (TS) from EMODnet Bathymetry agreed with AP and would regret to see a loss of customisations, to lose the thematic ‘brand’ as well as the commitment from the thematic teams which are generating the different thematic portals.

IS indicated that the users expect a transparent way to be able to access and use the data and data products. It is not sure exactly how easy this is to achieve yet, but this can be improved upon for sure. He does not anticipate a loss of customisation. The ‘Trade-off’ does not need to happen, it is about adding a layer, and specificities can be considered into the design.

  1. Looking forward: EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree 2020 (Secretariat & all) Meeting Document 8

Key aims and objectives are to celebrate and showcase the progress of EMODnet over the past 10 years, facilitate cross-thematic collaboration as well as interactions with other major initiative in Europe and globally, and to consider how to best prepare for the next development phase of EMODnet to realise the new vision targets. JBC explained that the event was not yet confirmed given the COVID 19 pandemic. A WebEx poll was circulated and out of 14 responses, 7 were in favour of maintaining the current meeting, and 7 that it should be postponed because it was unlikely that themselves or their partners would be in a position to commit their participation under the current circumstances.

  • See table 1 for Action 9 and Action 10

Post-meeting note: the EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree have been postponed to Spring 2021

DAY 2, Wednesday 22 April 2020

  1. External communication and external stakeholders (Secretariat) – Meeting documents 9-10

Andree-Anne Marsan (AAM) presented the latest version of the EMODnet Communication Strategy (Meeting Document 9) and gave an overview of recent and planned communication activities and products. The Communication protocol for promotion of new dataset releases has been updated (see Annex of the updated Communication strategy). The Secretariat needs to be informed at least 1 month before the release of a new dataset to plan the communication actions. The Central Portal will be providing updates and many communication tools will be ready in May 2020 (e.g. the EMODnet 10’ years logo, update of the Data and Products’ Portfolio, a new infographic and 8 new videos will be released during the next two years (May 2020, EMODnet for Science is the first one). It was suggested to have one EMODnet for MSFD video or at least to dedicate sufficient attention to it in one of the videos e.g. EMODnet for Policy / Public sector.

  • See table 1 for Action 11
  • EMODnet Associated Partners and EMODnet for Business – Meeting Document 11

KL provided an outline of Meeting Document 11 which provides a summary of the Associated Partnership Scheme with an important focus on bringing new businesses into the EMODnetwork. There is no cost for Associated Partners for joining and the scheme promotes the sharing of data and the use of data and data products. So far there are 21 Associated Partners and dialogue is ongoing within the International Oil and Gas Producers Association (IOGP) to join as well. A promotional brochure has been updated with testimonials of existing Associated Partners. This will be followed up with a short survey with a focus on what is the added value of the partnership and collect feedback and ideas on how the partnership could be strengthened in the future.

  1. Short update on EMODnet for European ocean observing

JBC reminded the SC about the Ocean Observing Conference (2018) organised by the EMODnet Secretariat and DG MARE which looked upstream of EMODnet to ocean observing activities in Europe and came with a call to action for Member States, regional actors and European Commission to take stock of the current situation and evaluate how the coordination of activities could be strengthen in the future. At the same time, the European Marine Board and EuroGOOS have been working towards fostering the concept of a European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) and in this framework an EOOS Steering Group meeting was held on 17 April 2020 to consider pilot actions to be taken forward. Better coordination of biological observations is considered one of the main priorities. EMODnet could potentially contribute to a proposed pilot action on mapping the ocean observing infrastructure and activities. Another proposed pilot action entailing cost benefit analyses for ocean observing and data collection activities was recommended to be taken forward as a pan-EU RTD project.

Patrick Gorringe (PG) added that EMODnet Physics is involved in the GOOS asset mapping which could/should be linked to the EOOS pilot actions. AN added that the AtlantOS Deliverable 9.3 (Report on assessment of the performance of AtlantOS observing system) to some extend could contribute to the cost-benefit analyses of ocean observing efforts. DS reminded all that when mapping the observing networks and stations, some thought should also be given to the European Directory of the Ocean Observing Systems (EDIOS), as developed and maintained by SeaDataNet.

  • See table 1 for Action 12
  • Short update on European Atlas of the Seas

Tim Collart (TC) presented an overview of the European Atlas of the Seas with updates on progress made over the past months. He explained that the Atlas has seen a steadily growing user base over the past two years by providing a growing catalogue of maps relying upon web-services from wide range of European data providers. EMODnet provides more than 50% of the services/layers that feed this project. There will be the release of the Atlas Version 6 soon including new features such as map stories (blog post) providing context for specific maps; an advanced mode setting which focuses on ‘Teachers’ but also other people with advanced features that can annotate the maps. A protocol exists for the addition of data products, and is needed to identify up-time or broken links – the monitoring tool in place does not identify all range of services.

The question was raised if in the next phase, there could/should be complete integration of the European Atlas of the Seas with EMODnet services? DGMARE (ZK) responded that the Atlas has specific use for ocean literacy purposes and targets different audiences from EMODnet. Putting them together would dilute the focus of each of them. Atlas will become more dynamic with games, tutorials, etc. AN suggested to arrange a meeting between the Secretariat and EMODnet Physics to verify the status of maps/layers coming from Physics and consider new layers that could be added in the future.

  • See table 1 for Action 13
  1. External projects
  • H2020 pilot Blue-Cloud (added value to EMODnet and European marine data services)

Sara Garavelli (SG) from Trust-IT provided an overview and update of the H2020 ‘Blue-Cloud’ project which started in October 2019 with the overarching aim of federating and piloting innovative marine data, virtual research environments (VREs) and computing services for Marine Research & the Blue Economy. Blue-Cloud is working towards the establishment of a marine-thematic component of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). She reminded that the Blue-Cloud project aims to (i) build and demonstrate a Pilot Blue Cloud by combining distributed marine data resources, computing platforms, and analytical services; (ii) develop services geared to support research to better understand & manage the many aspects of ocean sustainability; (iii) develop and validate a number of demonstrators of relevance for marine societal challenges; and (iv) formulate a roadmap for the expansion and sustainability of the Blue Cloud infrastructure and services. EMODnet is one of 10 leading European marine data infrastructures/initiatives which will be federated by the Blue Cloud together with horizontal e-infrastructures (EUDAT, DIAS, D4Science) at the level of data resources, computing resources and analytical service resources.

SG added that project will build a data discovery and access services through CNR and the first ‘Beta’ release is expected by December 2020. KL highlighted that the Blue Cloud 2030 roadmap will be developed through an open and inclusive process and it will be important that EMODnet partners contribute to this process. The context is European, but it could go further, and be applied through connections with other infrastructures and initiatives beyond Europe. EMODnet partner organisation also contribute to development of several demonstrators (e.g., development of Zoo- and Phyto- plankton EOV products by VLIZ). There will be opportunities in the future to add more demonstrations and pilot studies, as well as the scaling up on those which already exist through the project. DS informed that the analytical processes are adding value, and potentially could be integrated into the future strategy for EMODnet to do more with the data, not just integration. The same applies to Copernicus, so there could be synergies to make added value products and services.

  • GIS platforms for data visualization. Experience from H2020 Atlas and iAtlantic

KL shared updates from the H2020 Atlas and iAtlantic projects and their relevance to EMODnet. The ATLAS project will soon be completed in July 2020 while the four year iAtlantic project still have some tome to go ending in June 2023. The iAtlantic project has a dedicated work package on Open Data and Open Science, actively promoting the FAIR data principles and open access with particular attention to streamline data flow from the research community to EMODnet. The project addresses the known risk of ‘losing’ research data before it is published providing tools to mitigate the problems. TC provided insights in the work being undertaken on a dedicated Geonode, a spatial data infrastructure with a user-friendly interface designed for use by Scientists to share their data, and also to show to others what the project is producing in a nice and visual way. There is a significant element of capacity building in this project which ultimately assists scientists to incorporate the use of data infrastructures more in their workflows. In addition, the visualisation services give a very good leverage to make available all of the data that has been generated and provide a clear overview which is necessary for an optimal flow of data towards EMODnet data ingestion and, if desirable, the European Atlas of the Seas. JBC added that these large transatlantic projects allow us to promote EMODnet principles and values and to have a large visibility among scientists in Europe and beyond. Geonodes provide external communities with a tool to share data and easily consider data products for ingestion into EMODnet and the European Atlas of the Seas. Such projects also allow to investigate more closely the existing barriers for dataflow from research projects and scientific data collection to open data repositories, and from these to EMODnet.

  • Updates from Steering Committee with regards to related projects

DS highlighted that the EMODnet Ingestion Facility does not only collaborate with H2020 Atlas, but also with others European projects such as Jerico and Eurofleets - not necessarily to provide data storage, but to optimize the data flow process and to promote data management and sharing best practices.

  1. EMODnet for Global Strategy: increasing collaboration at global level
  • EMOD-PACE – EU-China Marine Data Collaboration EMODnet-NMDIS

An outline of the operational aspects of the project and progress update was provided by the Deputy EMOD-PACE Coordinator Julie Auerbach (JA). Good collaboration has been established with NMDIS since the start of the project and in the time since the beginning of April, NMDIS have returned to office, so the pace has even further increased. There are efforts being invested heavily in communication, establishing which datasets can be shared in order to achieve the objectives of the project which is key to progressing forward. Several strands of work already show tangible results. The development of a shared EMODnet-NMDIS web portals is a priority.

DG MARE (IS) shared that contact could only be established between NMDIS and EMPOD-PACE partners once the project was fully approved at EU side, but was pleased to see that the collaboration with Chinese colleagues is evolving well. It is the first marine data bilateral cooperation arrangements between Europe and another region/country and if it works well it could be replicated in further co-operations e.g. with U.S. or with Canada.

According to EMOD-PACE Scientific Coordinator Jun She (JS), NMDIS has shown to be very dedicated to support the collaboration. However, it is important to keep in mind that from the China side the interests might be different than from the European side. For example, for work on ocean circulation modelling our interest is mostly in regional sea reanalysis models whilst China prefers global reanalysis.

JBC highlighted that some concerns were raised in relation to the EMOD-PACE ‘data broker’ software tool to be developed as part of the data interoperability work. The broker is to allow access to EMODnet data and product as well as data/products from the Chinese side. He enquired whether the data broker will be developed as fully open source (so it can be reused, modified, and customized by the EC or other EMODnet entities) free of restrictions on use after the end of the project. DS replied that the data broker will be based on work done in the framework of the Ocean Data Interoperability Platform (ODIP) project and in the Blue cloud project, but further developed from a metadata broker to a full data broker in EMOD-PACE. The broker would contain one part which is customized for the EMOD-PACE project (and therefore open) and another part which is already exists from past developments which is not fully opened. DS indicated that this will be discussed later on during the project and possible consider to make it open source as part of the github. JBC indicated that there is a general expectation that the data, products and tools developed/implement in EMODnet are fully ‘open’ in line with its philosophy and mission. It is an underlining principle for all the services and tools we develop: they have to be open and fully reusable. This needs to be clarified in the framework of the project and it is better to clarify at the onset to avoid issues later on.

  • See table 1 for Action 14
  • EMODnet contribution to IODE, the Ocean information hub and Ocean Decade

JBC informed participants about the recently started IOC Ocean Infohub Project funded by the Flemish government aiming to (i) establish and anchor a network of regional and thematic nodes that will contribute to the transfer of marine technology (TMT) by enhancing shared scientific and technical capacities to render a wide range of data and information products and services; (ii) develop a proof-of-concept for an underlying Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS); and (iii) architecture to enable scalable development of the global Ocean Infohub and interoperability with local, regional and thematic data and information infrastructures. As such it is to build the foundations for a totally new IOC ocean data and information system. The EMODnet Secretariat is involved as member of the Steering Group and is envisaged to work together with the EurOcean Foundation and other European partners to develop the European node for the series of regional hubs. A few other EMODnet partner organisations (e.g., VLIZ, SMHI) are also contributing to the project. This is important to ensure that what we do in EMODnet is taken up fully by the UN Ocean Decade initiative. EMODnet Physics via Patrick Gorringe (PG) are happy to assist in any way useful to support the IODE Ocean Info Hub. Physics has been asked if we can provide a portal for the Arctic, similar to what has been done for the Southern Ocean Observing System (

The EMODnet Secretariat and several EMODnet partner organisations also contribute to the IOC/IODE Inter-sessional Working Group which is working to propose a Strategy on Ocean Data and Information Stewardship for the UN Ocean Decade (IWG-SODIS). A Terms of Reference is currently being refined outlining the aims and scope of the Working Group. The main objectives are to: (i) investigate the future scope of scientific data and information stewardship activities of the Decade; (ii) Prepare a proposed Ocean Data and Information Stewardship Strategy including a work plan, timetable, and required resources for consideration and inclusion in the preparatory process and the Science Plan of the Decade; and (iii) identify a group of subject matter experts that may continue providing advice and expertise on scientific data stewardship during the operational phase of the UN decade. The Secretariat will keep the Steering Committee informed about future developments.

  • EMODnet contribution to the UN2030 Agenda and the UN Ocean Conference

At the upcoming meeting on International Ocean Governance Forum, a message will be provided related to the progress and new developments of EMODnet in the framework of the UN Ocean Decade. It was highlighted that there is potential for a European joint approach e.g. with Copernicus on Marine SDG 14 and others e.g. SDG 13; concept papers on each theme; voluntary commitments.

  • EMODnet global activities by thematic project (all lots)

No other comments

  1. EMODnet Governance – Steering Committee & Technical Working Group
  • Updated Terms of Reference of the EMODnet Steering Committee and Technical Working Group: objectives set up, composition and operations - Meeting Documents 13

JBC referred to the updated Terms of Reference of both SC and TWG clarifying better the complementarity of both groups while recognising there is still some overlap between the SC and the TWG in terms of membership and scope. The TWG is created out of the SC for technical matters and there is now a more operational framework in place to stimulate exchanges and interactions between technical and operational experts to drive progress. This entails follow up on actions using Jira and regular meetings every 6 months with opportunity for monthly remote conference calls. He reminded members to provide information about any changes in membership/nominations to keep the mailing lists up to date.

Any other business - No comments

  1. Next Steering Committee Meeting: format, date and location (Secretariat & all)

JBC raised that a decision needs to be taken to conclude if it is more opportune to have a SC before the partners meetings or afterwards to collect updates. DG MARE (ZK) concluded that the decision can wait until early May when there is a decision on the Jamboree.

Post-meeting note: The EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree has been postponed until late Spring 2021. A proposal for the next SC meeting will be communicated by the Secretariat.

  1. Summary of actions and wrap up

JBC and ZK thanked all participants for their valuable contributions and concluded the meeting indicating that the minutes would be prepared and distributed as soon as available. All the documents, presentations and the minutes will be made available via the Maritime Forum once finalised.


Annex I: List of Participants

EMODnet Thematic portal




Thierry Schmitt


Dick Schaap


Corine Lochet


Sissy Iona

HCMR, coordinator of the EMODnet Data Ingestion Facility


Henry Vallius


Bjarni Pjetursson


Seabed Habitats

Mickäel Vasquez Eleonora Manca


Natalie Askew


Eleonora Manca



Alessandra Giorgetti


Dick Schaap



Joana Beja



Antonio Novellino


Dick Schaap


Patrick Gorringe


Human Activities

Alessandro Pititto


Luigi Falco


Data Ingestion

Dick Schaap


Central Portal

Joana Beja


Lennert Tyberghein


Bart Vanhoorne


EMODnet Secretariat

Jan-Bart Calewaert

EMODnet Secretariat

Kate Larkin

EMODnet Secretariat

Andrée-Anne Marsan

EMODnet Secretariat

Julie Auerbach

EMODnet Secretariat

Xiaoyu Fang

EMODnet Secretariat

Conor Delaney

EMODnet Secretariat

Tim Collart

EMODnet Secretariat

Baltic Checkpoint / EMOD-PACE

Jun She



Rita Lecci



Sara Garavelli



Iain Shepherd


Zoi Konstantinou


Grigore Rischitor



Juan Carlos Fernández Gomez


Lucie Pautet



Nicolas Segebarth