Skip to main content
Maritime Forum

5th Steering Committee Meeting of the European Atlas of the Seas

The Atlas represents 14% of page views on the DGMARE

Meeting location: Remote meeting via webex

Date and time: Thursday 07/05/2020 from 10:00 until 12:30

List of Actions

SC #







Action 1

Investigate the possibility to change the scale of a map using the zoom functionality

Summer 2020



Action 2

Work with the communication team at DG MARE to reach journalists, news outlets and media

Next SC meeting

EMODnet Secretariat and DG MARE


Action 3

Check for new fisheries datasets regarding catches to add in the Atlas

Next SC meeting

EMODnet Secretariat and Bilbomatica


Action 4

Follow up with Fabienne Jacq and Mercator Ocean to integrate maps from the CMEMS Ocean State Report

Next SC meeting

EMODnet Secretariat


Action 5

Follow up with EEA and DG ENV to consider ingesting more MSFD layers and other layers relevant for environment

Next SC meeting

EMODnet Secretariat


Action 6

Investigate how to better organize and categorize information regarding the predefined maps

Next SC meeting

EMODnet Secretariat and Bilbomatica


Action 7

Explore possibilities to generate more feedback from users

Next SC meeting

EMODnet Secretariat


Action 4

Make a small guidance document on how to embed the atlas and send it to media outlets

Initially 30 November 2019

EMODnet Secretariat

Ongoing - Expected by next SC meeting


Action 5

Involve DG RTD in collaboration with Eurocean


EMODnet Secretariat



Action 6

Implementation of Atlas V6 (with content, feature, management and communication improvements)

15 December 2019

EMODnet secretariat / Bilbomatica






Action 7

Investigate and report on the required resources for a caching system

30 November 2019




Action 11

Liaise with EASME to explore possible synergies and suggestions for the creation of news maps based on information about or from EASME projects.

next steering committee meeting

EMODnet Secretariat to contact EASME


Meeting Minutes

  1. Welcome and approval of the agenda - DG MARE & EMODnet Secretariat

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) welcomed the participants. In total, 27 persons had registered to the meeting, which is taking place remotely because of the exceptional circumstances due to the COVID-19. He welcomed the EMODnet Secretariat new technical coordinator, Conor Delaney, for his first Atlas Steering Committee meeting. He also welcomed three participants that are not members of the Steering Committee: Agnès Lavergne and Florence Huron from Nausicaá, as well as Sytze Heteren from EMODnet Geology.

Zoi Konstantinou (DG MARE) welcomed the participants and mentioned that steady progress has been made to achieve the aims of the Atlas. She welcomes feedback and suggestions from the participants.

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) outlined that the last months have been intense but successful regarding the Atlas. He thanked the teams at Bilbomática, DG MARE and the EMODnet Secretariat for continuing to work under the difficult circumstance of the COVID-19, remotely and in different locations and for insuring uninterrupted service.

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) presented the list of actions from the previous meetings (meeting document 1), more especially:

  • Action 5, from the SC4 : Involve DG RTD in collaboration with Eurocean.

→ A new map has been added in collaboration with EurOcean on European Marine Installations showing the extensive network of marine research infrastructure in Europe but there is scope for more maps to be added based on the info-bases of EurOcean.

  • Action 11, from the SC3 : Liaise with EASME to explore possible synergies and suggestions for the creation of news maps based on information about or from EASME projects.

→ Secretariat has been in touch with EASME, but further action is required to consider if new content from EASME project could be added if appropriate.

  1. Technical developments : Atlas v6 – Bilbomática

Natalia Orio (Bilbomática) presented a brief overview of the work done since the last six months (meeting document 2).

Josu Laso (Bilbomática) gave a presentation about the new functions and features that will be implemented in the Atlas version 6, to be released in the coming months (meeting document 2). He also gave a live demonstration of the new print tool in the staging environment and presented an animated solution for long titles of Story maps. Bilbomática would like to receive feedback on this. Chantal Vanhove (DG MARE) mentioned her support to the moving titles as solution for long story map titles.

New functions and features in the Atlas V6

  • The integration of some Maps of the week (or Story maps) in the Atlas;
  • The setting of advanced features;
  • The implementation of a new print module;
  • More space for accompanying texts to predefined maps with information on EU policies;
  • The integration of a mind map (or Atlas overview) in the Atlas;
  • The improvement of the legends;
  • Professional translation in 24 languages.
  • New interactive help
  • Status information on maps : existing story map, indications of new map a unavailable map

An interactive help will be implemented showing the basic functions of the Atlas as well as the V6 new features. Iñigo Malillos (Bilbomática) showed what it will look like (meeting document 2).

Oskar Esparza (Bilbomática) gave a presentation about three deployment methods to production environment (meeting document 2): the CISCO VPN with a token number (i.e. how the current deployment is done), the Asset Manager API browser (new way the EC is working on at the moment) and the Ass Manager API REST (for advanced developers to do more customizations).

Conor Delaney (EMODnet Secretariat) mentioned that the term “new function” is more appropriate and familiar than “new functionality” for the target users of the Atlas. He also asked who will activate the advance features in the Atlas?

Natalia Orio (Bilbomática) replied that all the Atlas users will be able to activate the advanced features if they need/want them.

Tim Collart (EMODnet Secretariat) explained that the advanced features were envisaged to make sure the Atlas is fit for purpose for teachers, as a way to label or customize the maps to use in their lessons.

Conor Delaney (EMODnet Secretariat) suggested that the scale of the map in the print tool could also be changeable in the map itself (from the zoom) and not just by using the drop-down menu.

  • Action 1: Investigate the possibility to change the scale of a map using the zoom functionality.
  1. Monitoring performance - EMODnet Secretariat

Tim Collart (EMODnet Secretariat) outlined the monitoring performance of the web services as well as the web traffic (meeting document 3). The monitoring guarantee a good quality of service for users. Bilbomática has developed a monitoring tool and a dashboard, which is planned to be further developed.

It is envisaged that the data providers will receive notifications by emails if there are issues with their web services. Another idea to improve the user experience is to automatically indicate when a layer is not responsive.

Regarding the statistics, the number of users is growing (4203 visits in April 2020). The Atlas represents 14% of page views on the DGMARE (which is the second biggest section).

Bert De Meester (DG MARE) mentioned that it is great to see the progress and the peak in the number of visits correlated with the publication of an article in a news outlet. This means the Atlas is a useful tool for journalists. He outlined that it is good to focus on teachers and students as they are core users but we can have good opportunity in reaching journalists as well, even if they require a different level of information. He will be happy to help to reach journalists.

  • Action 2: Work with the communication team at DG MARE to reach journalists, news outlets and media.
  1. Content development - DG MARE/Secretariat/Bilbomática

Zoi Konstantinou (DG MARE) reported that a lot of effort was put in place since the beginning of 2020 to have professional translation of the Atlas in the 24 official EU languages, to make the Atlas a powerful tool in ocean literacy and mass communication. About 20 translations were received out of 24. A formal communication campaign will take place in due time. The professional translation is a great vehicle to establish more collaborations in ocean literacy and an active role in the ocean literacy platform (Eu4Ocean).

Sheila Garcia (Bilbomática) presented the actual data providers of the Atlas, as well as new map requests, map updates and the new request form (meeting document 4).

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) highlighted the collaboration with EurOcean and DG RTD for new maps and asked Nicolas Segebarth (DG RTD) to think at any related projects that could be relevant to display in the Atlas.

Nicolas Segebarth (DG RTD) was curious to know if we have data on the localisation of the catches.

Zoi Konstantinou (DG MARE) replied that this is the kind of data we try to put in EMODnet and the Atlas. The localisation of the catches is data that exist but is not publicly available. Fisheries data are a big discussion and a lot of information are not publicly available. We make our best to convince people to open their data.

Tim Lemmens (DG MARE) mentioned that they are dealing with catch data available in Eurostat, e.g. Time series per year and per FAO areas, fisheries control data. Some fisheries layers are available from the EMODnet Human activities portal, but the EMODnet Secretariat will verify if more can be made available in the Atlas.

Natalia Orio (Bilbomática) mentioned that in the Atlas, the data “Catches by fishing zones” is based on Eurostat data from 1991 to 2016. We should check for any new datasets.

  • Action 3: Check for new datasets regarding catches to add in the Atlas.

Fabienne Jacq (DG DEFIS) informed that Copernicus Marine has high-level maps accessible in the Ocean State Report that could be interesting for the Atlas. These maps concern trends in ocean climate, ocean monitoring indicators, trends in storm surges, water temperature, etc.

  • Action 4: Follow up with Fabienne Jacq and Mercator Ocean to integrate maps from the CMEMS Ocean State Report.

David Connor (DG ENV) asked if EEA was a data provider. He also found that the content regarding the environment is weak and could be improved. Finally, he mentioned the confusion on the kind of maps displayed in certain predefined maps (e.g. Nature vs Environment) which are not always understandable.

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) replied that we have connections with EEA and that Irene Del Barrio is a member of the Steering Committee (not present at the meeting today). Regarding the environmental content, it is a concern. We work with EMODnet data as much as possible and we are working with Copernicus Marine for data but there is room for improvement.

Tim Collart (EMODnet Secretariat) explained the history around the predefined maps. There was a decision to combine map layers into different categories linked to EU directives. The categorization and keywords for layers in the predefined maps can be re-evaluated.

David Connor (DG ENV) outlined that the content in the Atlas is not relevant regarding some directives. There is the MSFD marine and regions maps available, which are more relevant than the large marine ecosystems map. There has been substantial developments on WISE-MARINE and an MSFD report data will be released in June.

  • Action 5: Follow up with EEA and DG ENV about MSFD layers and other layers relevant for environment.

Conor Delaney (EMODnet Secretariat) proposed a ‘Dive Deeper Section’ which could link to the marine atlases from Member States and DG ENV, e.g. WISE-MARINE, Ireland’s marine atlas, OSPAR, ESA.

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) mentioned the participation of EMODnet in WG DYKE and TG Data and that the Secretariat will follow up the WISE-MARINE developments and relevance for EMODnet and the Atlas.

Zoi Konstantinou (DG MARE) mentioned the importance to put more info about MSFD. The information about WISE-MARINE should be first distributed into EMODnet and then part could be transferred into the Atlas. We need to keep in mind the different audiences and the different scopes. We have not removed any layers for the moment, but we are planning to work with teachers and their feedback will determine how to follow up on some maps. She finally mentioned that potentially the predefined maps should not be the first tab visible in the Atlas and be careful not to put too many map layers under predefined map.

  • Action 6: Investigate how to better organize and categorize the information regarding the predefined maps.
  1. Future vision – DG MARE/ Bilbomática

Zoi Konstantinou (DG MARE) presented the main aspects of the upcoming strategy with the Atlas. Effort will be mostly put in creating connections to make the Atlas a useful tool for ocean literacy. This will be achieved through a strong collaboration with the ocean literacy platform (EU4Ocean) launched by DG MARE and its activities, like the youth ambassadors and the network of EU Blue Schools. This strategy will also be achieved at a national level with Nausicaá and Escola Azul through workshops for teachers and feedback received. With the COVID-19, we have to reconsider how the interactions will take place and have more virtual workshops and activities.

Chantal Vanhove (DG MARE) presented an overview of the ongoing developments (Atlas V6 and translation) and ideas for additional features to enhance the Atlas, mostly focused on education (meeting document 9):

  • Make your own map
  • Create your own story
  • Make your poster

These ideas will be presented to the working groups of teachers for feedback. It is important to have a common vision on how we want to evolve. The Secretariat and DGMARE will evaluate with the technical team what can be done under the current contract.

Albert Telletxea (Bilbomática) presented the next steps and a roadmap (meeting document 10) regarding:

  • The revamp of the monitoring tool, with a back-end content management system for the owners of the layers.
  • The translations: Some of them will be automated. A disclaimer will inform the users.
  • The new education community functions: Make your map, Create a quiz, Make your own poster.
  1. Communication and Education – EMODnet Secretariat / Nausicaá

All the efforts done to improve the Atlas are wasted if we do not reach out to our target audiences across all EU countries and increase the usage of the Atlas. Andrée-Anne Marsan (EMODnet Secretariat) presented an overview of the communication actions since the last SC meeting and the new communication plan for 2019-2021 (Meeting documents 5,6 and 7), which focus on education and ocean literacy.

Agnès Lavergne (Nausicaá) presented the tangible achievements of the collaboration between Nausicaá and the EMODnet Secretariat (European Atlas of the Seas) (meeting document 8). Ideas of new map layers and questions from users were presented. The partnership with Nausicaá is an important and valuable collaboration as they have direct contact and feedback from young people and teachers.

Ideas of new map layers

  • EEZ and high seas boundaries
  • Satellite monitoring of phytoplankton
  • Circulation of marine currents
  • Deep-sea exploration areas
  • Plastic pollutions
  • Animals routes migrations
  • Sea surface temperature
  • Seafood stock status
  • Salinity of ocean surface waters

Tim Collart (EMODnet Secretariat) mentioned that most of the maps ideas from Nausicaá could be implemented using EMODnet, Copernicus Marine and EEA data. Most of the feedback and questions from users received by Nausicaá overlap with the strategy of development of the Atlas and the new advanced features (e.g. the possibility to customize maps, create your own quiz, etc.). It is good to hear that this is what teachers are looking for.

Agnès Lavergne (Nausicaá) highlighted that the Atlas is an interesting tool to show problem resolutions and that it is important to have the perspectives of teachers. She also mentioned a regional country partnership and the possibility to promote the Atlas in a new handbook. Finally, she wondered how we could generate more feedback from users.

Natalia Orio (Bilbomática) mentioned the feedback form accessible in the Atlas and that we should think of a way to promote this section. Regarding the Atlas functionalities and features, she invited Nausicaá to provide a list of proposals/ideas.

  • Action 7: Explore possibilities to generate more feedback from users.
  1. Any other business and/or particular feedback?

No further comments.

  1. Next meeting time and location

Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) outlined that a 2-hour Steering Committee meeting is often too short and does not provide enough opportunities to exchange and collect feedback. Next meeting should allocate at least 2h30 up to 3 hours for presentations and discussion on progress and next steps. We aim for a physical meeting if possible (or remote meeting if necessary) in September or October 2020. He thanked all the participants for their time and interest and thanked the Bilbomática team as well as colleagues from Nausicaá for their invaluable contributions, looking forward to further collaboration.

Chantal Vanhove and Zoi Konstantinou (DG MARE) thanked the EMODnet Secretariat for organizing and running the meeting, as well as everybody for the work done. They reiterated that feedback is important and asked the participants to contact them any time for suggestions and feedback.

End of Meeting

Annex 1 – List of participants




Chantal Vanhove


Chantal [dot] Vanhoveatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Chantal[dot]Vanhove[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Zoi Konstantinou


Zoi [dot] KONSTANTINOUatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Zoi[dot]KONSTANTINOU[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Grigore Rischitor


Grigore [dot] RISCHITORatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Grigore[dot]RISCHITOR[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Stanislova Jonusas


Stanislovas [dot] JONUSASatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Stanislovas[dot]JONUSAS[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Tim Lemmens


Tim [dot] LEMMENSatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Tim[dot]LEMMENS[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Alexandru Chiric


Alexandru [dot] CHIRICatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Alexandru[dot]CHIRIC[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Andy Kontoudakis


andy [dot] kontoudakisatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (andy[dot]kontoudakis[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Bert De Meester


Bert [dot] DE-MEESTERatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Bert[dot]DE-MEESTER[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Nicolas Segebarth


nicolas [dot] segebarthatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (nicolas[dot]segebarth[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Fabienne Jacq


fabienne [dot] jacqatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (fabienne[dot]jacq[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

David Connor


David [dot] CONNORatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (David[dot]CONNOR[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Juan Carlos Fernández


juan-carlos [dot] fernandez-gomezatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (juan-carlos[dot]fernandez-gomez[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Fernando Nieto


Fernando [dot] NIETO-CONDEatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (Fernando[dot]NIETO-CONDE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

Alberto Telletxea


atelletxeaatbilbomatica [dot] es (atelletxea[at]bilbomatica[dot]es)

Natalia Orio Moreno



Oskar Esparza


oesparzaatbilbomatica [dot] es (oesparza[at]bilbomatica[dot]es)

Josu Laso


jolasoatbilbomatica [dot] es (jolaso[at]bilbomatica[dot]es)

Sheila Garcia


sheila [dot] garciaatbilbomatica [dot] es (sheila[dot]garcia[at]bilbomatica[dot]es)

Iñigo Malillos


imalillosatbilbomatica [dot] es (imalillos[at]bilbomatica[dot]es)

Jan-Bart Calewaert

EMODnet Secretariat

janbart [dot] calewaertatemodnet [dot] eu (janbart[dot]calewaert[at]emodnet[dot]eu)

Conor Delaney

EMODnet Secretariat

conor [dot] delaneyatemodnet [dot] eu (conor[dot]delaney[at]emodnet[dot]eu)

Tim Collart

EMODnet Secretariat

tim [dot] collartatemodnet [dot] eu (tim[dot]collart[at]emodnet[dot]eu)

Andrée-Anne Marsan

EMODnet Secretariat

andree-anne [dot] marsanatemodnet [dot] eu (andree-anne[dot]marsan[at]emodnet[dot]eu)

Sytze Heteren

EMODnet Geology

sytze [dot] vanheterenattno [dot] nl (sytze[dot]vanheteren[at]tno[dot]nl)

Agnès Lavergne


agnes [dot] lavergneatnausicaa [dot] fr (agnes[dot]lavergne[at]nausicaa[dot]fr)

Florence Huron


florence [dot] huronatnausicaa [dot] fr (florence[dot]huron[at]nausicaa[dot]fr)