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8th EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting Minutes

In this article, you can find the minutes of the 8th Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting (Autumn 2022).

8th EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting Minutes

7th and 29th November 2022, Remote Zoom meeting

List of Participants: See Annex I

The main aims of the 8th meeting of the European Commission (EC) Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) were to update members about the latest developments in the European Marine Observation and Data network (EMODnet), including the final stages of EMODnet centralisation, and to collect feedback from MKEG members on EMODnet status, recommendations for future development for EMODnet services, EMODnet for Business and other activities, and other related projects and initiatives such as the EC Ocean Observing: Sharing Responsibility initiative, the EU-China EMOD-PACE project and the EDITO-Infra project and wider European Digital Twin Ocean developments.

To optimise interaction and engagement with EMODnet, the 8th MKEG meeting was held in two sessions: The first session was held on Monday 7th November 2022 (half day, afternoon), held jointly with the 17th EMODnet Steering Committee (SC) meeting, and also attended by the EMODnet Technical Working Group. The joint session was chaired by Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC) (Head of the EMODnet Secretariat). This enabled MKEG members to hear the latest EMODnet thematic developments presented by EMODnet Coordinators, and interact directly with EMODnet SC and Technical Working Group (TWG) members (see full participants list in Annex I). This was followed by a closed MKEG session on Tuesday 29th November (half day, morning), restricted to MKEG members, EC DG MARE and the EMODnet Secretariat and invited EMODnet experts (see Annex I). The closed session was chaired by Zoi Konstantinou (ZK) (Unit A1 Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment, DG MARE, European Commission).The EMODnet Secretariat served as rapporteurs for all meetings. EMODnet 17th SC Actions are reported separately in the full 17th SC minutes.

Session 1, Monday 7th November 2022

EMODnet Open Session*

*This session was open for members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) and EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG)

  1. Welcome and Updates

Jan-Bart Calewaert (Head of the EMODnet Secretariat) opened the meeting, welcoming all participants and noting that for this meeting, the EMODnet Secretariat, CINEA and EC DG MARE had come together in Brussels, Belgium, with all other participants connecting online to reduce travel and carbon emissions. He recognized that the meeting on 7 November was an open session where the Steering Committee was joined by members of the EMODnet Technical Working Group (TWG) and EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG). He presented the overall meeting agenda, pointing out the importance of the ongoing EMODnet centralisation process, which would see the unification of all EMODnet services from one (central) EMODnet Portal. He noted this is in final stages and the 17th SC would be the last one before centralisation was completed and publicly announced in January 2023.

Zoi Konstantinou (EC DG MARE) welcomed all participants, including the EC MKEG members, noting that MKEG would have a closed session later in November. She explained that EMODnet was in a very crucial phase. By the next Steering Committee (SC) meeting, EMODnet would be centralised. She noted that EMODnet continues to gain momentum on many different fronts and its work and importance are increasing. The goal at DG MARE is to build an increasingly stronger EMODnet.

  1. Centralisation overview: overview on progress, demonstration of new Central Portal functionalities and services, step-wise implementation and communication process with high-level updates from 12th TWG, 21-22 September

EMODnet Central Portal updates

Conor Delaney (EMODnet Secretariat, Technical Coordinator) presented the progress made on the centralisation process (see presentation for details). The objective of centralisation is to provide a single access point for data, data products and data services, including a common map viewer and centralised metadata catalogue. He explained that the first phase of centralisation concerning static content had been completed, building on the migration of EMODnet Central Portal to the Europa domain and the new landing page, launched in 2021. He then explained the upcoming steps, namely that a new centralised Map viewer would be launched online by the end of November 2022. He noted the added value that users would be able to search, discover and visualise data and data products for one grid area on a map, in one common map viewer. He added that for all thematics, it is now possible to filter data, making it possible to subset the top map layer only. In addition, a central metadata catalogue was already implemented, and a central ERDDAP would also be implemented in December 2022.

Thematic Coordinators were invited to review the Central Portal and check static content and links, and to keep VLIZ and EMODnet Secretariat informed of any updates and changes to map layers to maintain an operational and up-to-date EMODnet service. It was noted that the EMODnet Secretariat would send further guidance to thematic Coordinators, explaining the work flow for updating the new EMODnet Central Portal.

Action 1: All thematic Coordinators to keep VLIZ and the EMODnet Secretariat informed, through JIRA, of any changes made to map layers so that it can be ensured that the map viewer is well maintained and functional at all times (Thematic Coordinators, ongoing)

Action 2: Distribute guidance explaining the work flow for updating the new Central Portal to the Thematic Coordinators (EMODnet Secretariat, 30 November 2022)

A Communication Plan related to the centralisation process was presented to the SC on 8 November (see 17th SC day 2 minutes below for details).

  1. Updates from EMODnet 7 thematics & Data Ingestion
    1. Thematic updates

All coordinators presented the status on the work done since the last Steering Committee (SC), with a focus on the workplan and deliverables status of each thematic and data ingestion.

EMODnet Bathymetry: EMODnet Bathymetry

Thierry Schmitt (SHOM) presented the progress made on tasks and deliverables (see the presentation for details). He highlighted that for the Digital Terrain Model (DTM) centralisation, work had reached the final stages of putting regional DTMs together and providing a full grid DTM. An updated DTM was also in finalisation and would be communicated in collaboration with the EMODnet Secretariat. EMODnet Bathymetry actively worked with data providers to receive more data and information on areas where conventional datasets from acoustic surveys are lacking. Referring to data gaps, he suggested that European Union (EU) funded scientific research projects were already providing some important data to EMODnet and this could be made more systematic. He also explained that deep sea waters remain poorly mapped and have not been the subject of systematic survey.

EMODnet Human Activities: (verbal updates)

Alessandro Pititto (Cogea) presented the updates and new products from EMODnet Human Activities. He mentioned that new datasets on global protected areas are now available and progress was being made with the Maritime Spatial Planning datasets, specifically the National Member States’ Maritime Spatial Plans. Additionally, he reported a new use case recently published on the EMODnet Central Portal from Frontex, describing the organisation’s use of the EMODnet vessel density maps. He noted that EMODnet Human Activities were exploring data from other regions, including vessel density data and maps in South Korea, based on a recent paper released.

EMODnet Biology: EMODnet Biology

Joana Beja (VLIZ) presented the updates and deliverables (see the presentation for details). She showed EMODnet Biology data coverage figures by sub-themes and geographical regions. The animal classes for which the least data is currently available include reptiles, mammals and angiosperms. The main geographical areas for which data gaps remain are the Black Sea, Arctic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea (especially the southern part). She explained that these data gaps are mostly related to data sharing barriers rather than monitoring efforts in these sea basins. It was also mentioned that biological data is more difficult to obtain than data in the other thematics. She noted that EMODnet Biology is actively looking into sourcing data on birds and marine mammal migration routes, and that in April 2023, at least one data product will be produced on bird migration routes and influence from human activities on their routes.

It was underlined that whilst biological data has historically been shared less, there is a global trend towards biodiversity data sharing, thanks in part to global initiatives such as the UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties, and EU policy including the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. It was suggested that the European Commission DG Environment and the European Environmental Agency could help fill some data gaps in the Mediterranean Sea basin.

EMODnet Physics: EMODnet Physics

Patrick Gorringe (SMHI) presented updates and the status of deliverables and milestones. He discussed progress made on data and geographic coverage, barriers to accessing missing data and what can be done to ensure data are ingested (see the presentation for details). In general, there is a good data flow from public operational ocean initiatives/projects (EuroGOOS members, ICES, NODC). He noted that EMODnet Physics was actively working to increase the offer of river flow and underwater noise, and sourcing data from diverse sources e.g., citizen science. EMODnet Physics had also recently promoted EMODnet at a workshop on ERDDAP, building on the EMODnet Physics ERDDAP and considering the new EMODnet Central Portal ERDDAP, to be launched by January 2023.

EMODnet Chemistry: EMODnet Chemistry

Alessandra Giorgetti (OGS) presented the updates and stated that the first interim report of the current contract had been completed, showing good progress (see the presentation for details). EMODnet Chemistry has worked with data providers to increase the number of CDI datasets made available. EMODnet Chemistry has continued to provide support to the Regional Sea Conventions and is currently working in close collaboration with OSPAR who requested data and information on contaminants for regional assessments. Discussions will be held on how to extend this work to data about eutrophication. National authorities also utilise EMODnet Chemistry contaminants data, together with wider EMODnet Chemistry parameters e.g., eutrophication and marine litter, for Member States reporting for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). It was suggested that EMODnet could become the platform to collect data on all MSFD descriptors. For this, EMODnet would need to continue evolving, leveraging the thematic and data ingestion’s wide network of data providers and users and working closely with SeaDataNet that provides essential data management underpinning many of the EMODnet thematic activities.

EMODnet Geology: EMODnet Geology

Henry Vallius (GTK) presented the progress made and provided information on new and updated data received (see presentation for details). He pointed out that there has been an increase in data quality and resolution. In addition to its core work in European sea-basins, EMODnet Geology is working with partners and wider stakeholders on data sharing in the Caspian Sea, for which many data gaps exist, and the Caribbean Sea. There is ongoing discussion to offer a training course/conference on EMODnet Geology for Caribbean Sea stakeholders. He noted that in the next phase of work, EMODnet Geology will be working on sourcing and filling data gaps, including data on seabed erosion. He also pointed out that EMODnet Geology is actively searching for and sourcing new data. Henry Vallius noted that there is a collaboration with the EuroGeoSurvey project where data related to coastal zones is planned to be ingested.

EMODnet Seabed Habitats: EMODnet Seabed Habitats

Helen Lillis (JNCC) presented progress made (see presentation for details). She noted that whilst data gaps remain in some European countries, the biggest data gaps are in the new regions of the Caribbean and Caspian Seas. She emphasized that finding data in the Caspian Sea is challenging (e.g., language barrier, not much data). It was highlighted that in the Caribbean it would be important to have dialogue with other existing initiatives, to optimise the data sharing opportunities in the region. It was noted that EMODnet Biology offers an online course on reformatting data before submission, which could also be useful for EMODnet Seabed Habitats users and wider stakeholder community.

    1. Discussion on EMODnet thematics

All participants agreed on the need to keep proactively looking for and developing new use cases, and develop these together with the EMODnet Secretariat, to be shared on the EMODnet Central Portal.

Regarding data gaps, it was highlighted that challenges exist for all thematics in terms of filling data gaps. Thematics should continue proactively searching for data providers, particularly in areas where data gaps occur. It was agreed this is not an easy task when in some cases it is not clear if data exist but are not made openly available, or if there are real data gaps. Exploring more diverse sources of marine and human activities data e.g., industry, civil society, citizen science, was deemed important in filling remaining gaps in coverage, parameters and resolution.

It was mentioned that it would be interesting to get insight on how the cooperation between SeaDataNet and EMODnet can further evolve in the future. Jan-Bart Calewaert pointed out that a targeted assessment coordinated by the EMODnet Secretariat is planned in the coming months to address this question. This will take the form of a survey distributed to the SeaDataNet and wider marine data community, with some in-depth interviews, to be conducted in late 2022 and early 2023.

    1. Updates from Data Ingestion

EMODnet Data Ingestion: EMODnet Data Ingestion

Dick Schaap (MARIS) presented the progress made on data submissions (see presentation for details). He noted that recently Data Ingestion has put a focus on exploring opportunities for data sharing from stakeholders involved in coastal and offshore licensing. An initial inventory has been produced consisting of 16 countries and 77 stakeholders. EMODnet Data Ingestion, as well as all thematics, are also looking into increasing the data flow into EMODnet from operational marine monitoring stations, noting that in some cases there is some overlap with public sector research-driven ocean observatories, and a need to align and interoperate data services.

It was highlighted that data ingestion into EMODnet could be increased from publicly funded European projects e.g., funded under the Horizon Europe programme or the EU Mission: Restore our Ocean and Waters. Many EU funding calls now explicitly mention EMODnet for marine data ingestion and there are many cases where this is actively happening, often through proactive dialogue from EMODnet Secretariat, Coordinators and partners. However, there are many other projects where the data are not streamlined for EMODnet ingestion which is a missed opportunity. With a growing number and scale of marine projects under the Horizon Europe programme and Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters it was noted timely to do a more systematic assessment of EMODnet data ingestion opportunities and to connect with these projects from the beginning to ensure that the data is ingested in EMODnet. It was underlined that EMODnet Data Ingestion already provides important guidance to data providers. In the future this could be further promoted and tailored to specific audiences to increase the uptake e.g., EU research projects, private sector, etc.

The EMODnet Data Ingestion portal will be centralised and migrated into the EMODnet Central Portal in 2023.

Action 3: Map European projects from the Horizon Programme and Mission Ocean with which connections should be made for data ingestion (EMODnet Secretariat, 31 March 2023)

  1. EMODnet for Business: Key takeaways from Offshore Renewable Energy events 2022 & discussion on 2023 focus areas/sectors

EMODnet for Business updates

Kate Larkin (Deputy Head of the EMODnet Secretariat) presented an update on the EMODnet for Business workshops on marine data for the offshore renewable energy sector that took place in September and October 2022. The Secretariat and all Coordinators were mobilised with many active contributions demonstrating the latest EMODnet thematic services, Data Ingestion and the evolution towards full unification in early 2023. The key objectives of the workshops were to increase awareness and use of EMODnet services by all stakeholders involved in the offshore renewable energy sector, spanning the private sector to national authorities and more. Use cases and testimonials were provided by external stakeholders already using EMODnet data and data products for their offshore renewable energy and Maritime Spatial Planning requirements. Interactive dialogue enabled discussions on data requirements, data gaps and data sharing. She pointed out preliminary key messages from the workshops (see presentation for details) and explained that the two workshop reports will be published by the end of 2022 on the EC Maritime Forum. Lastly, it was underlined that the EMODnet for Business workshop next year will focus on the coastal tourism sector.

The EMODnet SC, TWG and EC MKEG were invited to provide input and suggestions on upcoming events and Conferences led by the private sector, or with a strong industry component, where the EMODnet Secretariat or wider EMOD-network could attend and further promote EMODnet service use and data sharing opportunities.

  1. EMODnet Partnerships
    1. EMODnet EU Partnerships

EMODnet EU Partnerships

Kate Larkin gave an update on EMODnet’s key EU Partnerships. She focused on the collaboration of EMODnet with Copernicus Marine Service (see presentation for details). She highlighted the outcomes of the Joint Workshop on Coastal Issues that took place on 20 September 2022 and mentioned the Copernicus Biodiversity in Coastal Ecosystems Workshop which EMODnet Biology and Seabed Habitats attended in October 2022. Kate explained that an EMODnet-Copernicus coordination meeting would take place on 12 December 2022 with the EMODnet Secretariat, Mercator Ocean International and EC (DG MARE and DG Defis). Post-meeting note: the EMODnet-Copernicus meeting has been postponed no 2 February 2023.

She also updated the SC that EMODnet was an active contributor to the JPI Oceans Knowledge Hub on Sea Level Rise since its initiation in 2020. The EMODnet Secretariat and wider experts e.g., EMODnet Physics attended the first JPI Oceans Sea Level Rise Conference on 17-18 October 2022.



Zoi Konstantinou gave an overview of the European Digital Twin Ocean (DTO). The EC DG MARE will attend a European Digital Twin project workshop at the EuroGEO workshop in Athens on 7-8 December 2022.

Frederic Leclerq then gave a presentation on the EDITO Infra project that is further upgrading the EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service data infrastructure required to underpin the Digital Twin Ocean. It was noted there would be a kick-off meeting for this in December 2022.

    1. EMODnet Global Partnerships

EMODnet Global partnerships

Jan-Bart Calewaert presented the updates on the EMOD-PACE (EU-China) project, the EU-Canada Ocean Partnership Forum, EMODnet4OceanDecade and the United Nations Ocean Decade Data Coordination Platform (see presentation for details). He explained that the EMOD-PACE project and its counterpart project in China CEMDnet are coming to an end. This completes two years of marine data science diplomacy with many concrete outputs, including an EMOD-PACE map viewer with added value data and data products, some of which include data from the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS), China, amongst others.

Looking ahead at upcoming international initiatives in 2023, he stated that EMODnet plans to actively participate in the International Ocean Data Conference (IODC-II) in March 2023 with contributions on the EMOD-PACE / CEMDnet project and the EMODnet centralisation process. He encouraged all EMODnet Coordinators to consider submitting abstracts to further increase the number and diversity of EMODnet contributions to this meeting. He also underlined the increasing collaboration between EMODnet and the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange" (IODE) of the "Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission" (IOC) of UNESCO through the IODE Ocean InfoHub Project.

Action 4: Submit multiple EMODnet inputs including a joint abstract on EMODnet centralization for the International Ocean Data Conference (IODC-II) by 1 December 2022 (EMODnet Secretariat, VLIZ, All)

It was mentioned that the outcome of the EU-Canada Ocean Partnership forum held by DG MARE with experts from Canada was positive, with many opportunities and users identified for collaboration. A report on the Forum will be openly circulated before the end of 2022.

Jan-Bart Calewaert presented the EMODnet contribution to activities of the UN Ocean Decade Data Coordination Group (UN OD DCC). He explained that a meeting took place in June last year and another meeting was planned in November 2022 to discuss future plans and further develop the UN OD DCC Strategy.

  1. European Ocean Observing: Update on EC Ocean Observation initiative (EC DG MARE) & EMODnet activities and contribution to wider fora

EMODnet EC Ocean Observation updates

Kate Larkin provided updates on the EMODnet Secretariat activities supporting the European Ocean Observing initiative (see presentation for details). She referred to two concept notes that had been tabled at the 16th SC meeting, namely on Tasks that firstly assessed the added benefit of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints (2015-2018) through stakeholder consultation, and secondly assessed the levels of national coordination in ocean observation and marine data.

The EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoint activity has included an online interactive workshop in October 2022 with Sea basin Checkpoint coordinators, to receive initial feedback and to plan for a wider survey and invitation only online workshop taking place in January 2023 to bring together the wider EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoint community and selected external experts e.g., EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG), representatives of the European Ocean Observing System (EOOS), key EU projects working in this domain e.g., EuroSea and representatives of other methodology used to assess marine data adequacy e.g., Copernicus Marine Service. A report with key recommendations will be delivered in March 2023.

A desk study in 2022 has assessed the current status of national coordination in ocean observation and marine data across Member States and Associated countries. A report on Task 5.2 will be delivered by the end of 2022 which also lays out the plans for a targeted assessment in this area, to be carried out in 2023.

  1. Concluding remarks

Jan-Bart Calewaert closed the open session of the EMODnet 17th SC meeting and thanked all participants. He noted that the 17th SC closed session would continue the next day for SC members only. And the 8th Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) would have a closed session, with further presentations on EMODnet, EMOD-PACE and more on 29 November 2022.

Session 2, Tuesday 29th November 2022

09.00-12.00: EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Closed session


Zoi Konstantinou (ZK, EC DG MARE A1) welcomed all EC MKEG experts to the second session of the 7th MKEG meeting, noting this was a closed session for MKEG members only, chaired by the EC DG MARE, with reporting by the EMODnet Secretariat. She referred to discussions that had already taken place at the Open Session of the EMODnet 17th Steering Committee on 7th November 2022, noting that this Closed Session offered a chance for further discussion on the following EMODnet and related activities:

  • Discussion on EMODnet services, final steps towards integration of EMODnet portals and plans for external communication in 2023, including EMODnet flagship events;
  • Updates on EMOD-PACE data collaboration with China;
  • Feedback and discussion on the EU Ocean Observation initiative progress, on the challenges and opportunities and on links with the European Ocean Observing Community;
  • Updates and discussion on the European Digital Twin Ocean developments and the EDITO-Infra project;
  • Discussion on the future structure and responsibilities of the MKEG;
  • Any Other Business.

Discussion on input from EMODnet Thematic groups and on the progress of the integration of EMODnet portals: Questions; Considerations; Suggestions; Other Feedback

ZK stressed that the focus for EMODnet over the past few months had been centralisation, with a huge effort to ensure that all data and data products were made available in the appropriate manner and with all the necessary information. In January 2023 the new Central Portal will fully launch, with fully unified EMODnet services and new features. At that point, all Thematic portals would be shut down. She confirmed that EMODnet Data Ingestion would be centralised during 2023.

She highlighted that the EMODnet seven Thematics, Data Ingestion and the Central Portal had presented their progress at the EMODnet 17th Steering Committee Open Session on 7th November 2022, to which EC MKEG had been invited (see minutes and presentations above).

This had included updates on how each Thematic was continuing to maintain and evolve the offer, including the increase in resolution, coverage and parameters, the development of new products and increasing collaborations at multiple scales, from national to European and International.

ZK invited MKEG to pose further questions to the EMODnet team related to the EMODnet services, offer and centralisation.

EMODnet Central Portal

Conor Delaney (CD, EMODnet Secretariat) explained that the full update on EMODnet Centralisation had been given at the EMODnet 17th SC Open Session on 7th November (see Session 1 minutes and presentation).

Fred Leclerq (FL, VLIZ) presented the new EMODnet Central Portal map viewer (see presentation).

MKEG Map Viewer

  • The EMODnet Central Portal (CP) landing page has the new key features front-and-centre;
  • The EMODnet catalogue has been updated so it is more shareable and interoperable. There is access to metadata and information behind the data and in many cases the ability to directly download the data as well;
  • The new common map viewer is important, particularly for new users as it streamlines the access to EMODnet thematics. Now you can download directly from the Central map viewer and combine layers.

The same workflow was applied across all thematics and all layers. Technically the centralised and unified services are working well, noting the following updates:

  • EMODnet Bathymetry: The 64 Digital Terrain Model (DTM) files have been merged into one file that can be sub-setted (and downloaded) by simply drawing a square on the map viewer. The old option of clicking on a tile from a fixed grid of 64 tiles to download specific tile is also retained;
  • EMODnet Biology: EurOBIS search for individual species and ability to download directly;
  • EMODnet Physics: Some data and data products have graphic functionality;
  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats deals with big data and have been grouped into different subsets;
  • EMODnet Chemistry: Before there was a separate 4D data viewer on EMODnet Chemistry. Now the data from that viewer are available on EMODnet ERDDAP and on the EMODnet map viewer.
  • The EU-China EMOD-PACE project map viewer has been embedded in the EMODnet Central Portal, to offer data layers and data products from China;
  • Ongoing user feedback will be taken on-board for future releases to make the central map viewer even more user-friendly;
  • Data products are the focal point for experienced users to access data products from EMODnet;
  • The EMODnet ERDDAP server will also be launched imminently. This is a powerful tool for subsetting e.g., slicing into netcdf files, querying and downloading data. It also allows the user to create their own data request API call;
  • The catalogues of the thematic lots have been deployed on GeoNetworks or similar metadata server technologies which publish Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) catalogue services that can be harvested by EMODnet Central Portal;
  • Thematic experts will continue to update their OGC catalogue services back-end, and these updates will be made automatically available on the EMODnet Central Portal;
  • Other content on the CP include: Use Cases; Community Pages; European Atlas of the Seas; EU-China EMOD-PACE; News and events.


Quillon Harpham (QH, HR Wallingford) expressed that the EMODnet centralisation and integration looks good. He noted it would be good to have common text e.g., a short factual article, to promote the Central Portal internally to everybody at HR Wallingford.

ZK noted that the EMODnet Secretariat would be presenting next and would address this topic.

09.30 EMODnet Centralisation external communication strategy

Kate Larkin (KL, EMODnet Secretariat) presented the EMODnet Centralisation external communication strategy (see presentation). She noted that the EMODnet Secretariat was currently finalising communication material including a communications toolkit that would be sent to the EMODnet Coordinators, partners, EC MKEG and key stakeholders in the community to aid the promotion of the EMODnet Centralisation. The external communication would start from the middle of January 2023 (nominally 16th January 2023). Key messages were being developed and EMODnet would be utilising its existing channels e.g., Central Portal website, News Digests, mailing lists and social media (focus on Twitter and LinkedIn). There would also be a public webinar on EMODnet Centralisation, open to all, in early February (7-10 February 2023, to be confirmed). KL then explained that in 2023, centralisation would also be promoted at EMODnet flagship events and third party events.

EMODnet flagship events 2023

KL first updated the EC MKEG that the EMODnet Open Sea Lab 3.0 Hackathon would take place in March 2023. On 6th March there would be an online kick-off of Open Sea Lab 3.0 with two weeks of online tool training, inspiration on challenges and team formation. The virtual hackathon would take place on 27th to 28th March with jury deliberations on the 29th and an award ceremony on 30th March 2023. The top three winning teams would also be invited to EMD2023 in Brest, France.

She noted that the Open Conference 2023 would take place at the end of November to early December 2023. This would be a physical in-person event, in Belgium (Brussels, to be confirmed). It would include at least 1.5 days of public, open Conference, and additional EMOD-network meetings as part of the EMODnet Jamboree. A full programme would be available in Spring 2023 and the next MKEG meeting could be used to further plan MKEG member involvement in the Conference.

KL encouraged the EC MKEG to look out for EMODnet promotion on the Central Portal, monthly News Digest, social media and mailing lists for further information on EMODnet flagship events, and how to get involved. KL then opened the floor for MKEG to discuss EMODnet and wider events in 2023.

Gus Jeans (GJ, Oceanalysis Ltd) recommended that EMODnet takes into account the Oceans of Knowledge conference, taking place on 18th or 25th October 2023. Then, reflecting on the recent EMODnet for Business workshops on Offshore Renewable Energy, he suggested that instead of two separate sea-basin events it would be good to bring all European sea-basin stakeholders together into one meeting in the future. He also recommended that in addition to sector-specific workshops, EMODnet could in the future have an EMODnet for Business event that crossed multiple sectors, to encourage cross-sector dialogue.

Gerben De Boer (GDB, Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors B.V.) suggested that the national level is important for the promotion of EMODnet and that people gather at the national level for local networking and connect from various national or regional ‘nodes’.

KL responded that this has been done in the past and it was indeed timely to reactivate this. The EMODnet centralisation toolkit would include communication material (PPT slides, key messages, visuals) that could be used for this purpose.

09.50 EMOD-PACE collaboration updates and feedback

Julie Auerbach (JA, EMODnet Secretariat) presented an overview of the latest developments of the EMOD-PACE EU-China project (see presentation). She updated MKEG that building on an initial survey, a new questionnaire would be shared with EC MKEG, EMODnet SC and their networks in early December, to gain feedback on EMOD-PACE outputs. The results would feed into the EMOD-PACE final report.

EMOD-PACE presentation

FL presented the EMOD-PACE map viewer, demonstrating the access to the EMOD-PACE map viewer and the catalogue, highlighting the functionalities, data products of interest and services to subset and sample data e.g., ERDDAP. He noted this was integrated into the EMODnet Central Portal to maximise visibility and use.

Rita Lecci (RL, CMCC) then presented on the EMOD-PACE Work Package (WP) on Coastal Adaptation, led by CMCC and Deltares. She referred to the WP5 key products, namely relative and absolute sea level changes, coastal erosion, wetland degradation, vessel traffic density and low carbon routes

EMOD-PACE WP5 overview

QH underlined that there had been a lot of good progress. It was however crucial to make clear what data are available from China. It does not matter if the data has been post-processed. Users will be interested to know which datasets are added value beyond the existing EMODnet data service, including data that are licensed to use that include data from China.

JA responded that in the EMOD-PACE map viewer and catalogue there are a number of datasets made available from China, but in some cases the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) had not provided the full access to data e.g., broad-scale habitat mapping.

QH added a second reflection: EMOD-PACE seems to deliver good overarching data and data products eg., regional sea level rise etc. Bother EMOD-PACE and EMODnet could also deliver more localised high resolution data and data products speak more to business e.g., engineering in the ocean.

ZK referred to other international regional dialogues, noting that a few weeks prior, the first ocean partnership Forum had taken place between EU and Canada, focusing on marine knowledge, ocean observation and data management, discussing potential collaborations. She concluded that a report is in finalisation and highlights the role of EMODnet is such international interactions.

10.30 Feedback and discussion on the EU Ocean Observation initiative progress, on the challenges and opportunities and on links with the European Ocean Observing Community

ZK reminded the MKEG that the EC Ocean Observation initiative aims to increase transparency and collectiveness in the way Member States are reporting on in situ ocean observation. The EC wants to create a legislative initiative that asks Member States to report on what they observe, and when. In the future, Member States would need to submit national ocean observation, to allow for more synergy across sectors and institutes within the same Member State, to enable the sharing of equipment, infrastructure and vessel time.

11.00 Updates and discussion on the European Digital Twin Ocean development – EDITO project: Q&A

See presentations on European Digital Twin Ocean and EDITO-Infra

ZK introduced the agenda item noting that the UN Ocean Decade has the DITTO programme which will create a framework for the development of Digital Twins.

In Europe, the EC has started an activity on the European Digital Twin of the Ocean (EU DTO). They would like to produce a service and platform for the modelling space for Europe in the coming decades in which we will provide a number of tools and provisions to the users, with the capability to bring in more data from businesses, projects, infrastructures, socio-economic data for instance and more.

She then introduced the EDITO-Infra project. The idea is to create a European Digital Twin of the Ocean core infrastructure, building on existing core marine data infrastructures EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service, to be delivered by end 2024 as a public service open for use for research and innovation by all users to provide multiple opportunities to bring ocean knowledge closer to everybody. It is part of a long-term endeavour, developed gradually over the next decade, some funded under Horizon Europe, Mission Ocean etc.

FL then presented the EDITO-Infra EU pubic infrastructure for the European Digital Twin Ocean. He outlined the project aims to build an infrastructure that allows users to work in a co-working web-based environment accessing computing resources, including High Performance Computing (HPC) and data via a data lake from the DTO-engine and co-working environment. Public data would be available and users would also be able to bring in their own data


GJ asked if the HPC service would be accessible for the private sector

FL confirmed this was the case with the full service being open access, as a public infrastructure. (post-meeting note: the DTO public infrastructure will indeed provide access to HPC service, but specific conditions will have to be defined as the DTO develops).

ZK elaborated that the intention is for the DTO data processing and modelling space to be used widely by diverse users in the future. Coherent communication to the European and International stakeholders is important. The EC will be active in multiple events e.g., EuroGEO workshop in Athens December 2022, where there will be a dedicated workshop on the European DTO where the EC vision for the EU DTO, the EDITO-Infra and ILIAD approach will be presented. It would also be discussed how other initiatives could contribute and use this, making marine knowledge more accessible, as an application for society. She underlined this would take time with a step-wise approach, ensuring that stakeholders that hold the data are around the discussion table, together with users to ensure the right data were made available and that these data and applications were useful to different users. She noted there is a lot of interest and the approach is to create something as open as possible to invite knowledge holders and stakeholders to participate in multiple ways. 2024 is a real deadline to deliver the core infrastructure to get the political support to continue.

QH remarked that usability is key. The DTO service should be made as easy to use as possible! If a public, user-friendly platform with accessible data and computing power can be delivered this will be a very powerful service. He reiterated the need to focus on doing a few things well, rather than losing focus and doing many things badly.

GDB reminded participants that if everything is hosted on European Research Infrastructures, the services may not all be accessible to companies. He stressed the need to check this and ensure that the private sector could fully utilise the service. He also highlighted the need to make sure the EU DTO is as user-friendly as Google Earth Engine and Microsoft Planetary computer so that companies e.g., engineering companies will want to use it, and that they can access it. He also suggested that EMODnet could put copies of EMODnet data and data products into Google Earth Engine and Microsoft Planetary computer, as an additional offering to increase uptake and impact. This was possible to do now, but incurred a charge. He suggested that EMODnet could ask commercial providers to allow copies to be made free of charge.

GJ noted that indeed operational users should be considered and it was important to clarify if this was a research service or an operational service. He added that in the UK there were also ongoing discussions on Digital Twins.

ZK added that on 29th November 2022 (the same day as the 8th MKEG Closed session) a G7 Future of the Seas of Oceans meeting was taking place where the where the UK would announce their approach on DTOs.

CD highlighted that the core aim of EMODnet and the future DTO is to access centrally marine data at high speed to access machine learning. He underlined that EMODnet data products are created by the EMOD-network and are covered by Creative Commons Licencing so anyone you can put them anywhere they like. He underlined that the Creative Commons open data licence is extremely important. Responding to GDB’s comment on copying data, he noted that private companies can write applications for funding to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to get free storage which those companies can use to copy across to AWS data from EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service .

QH provided experience from previous data service developments. He highlighted the need to watch out for inherited services from existing infrastructures or projects, to avoid cumbersome processes. The EU DTO would need to find most efficient and user-friendly access, avoiding multiple levels of ID and access.

GDB agreed with QH suggesting that the EU DTO should utilise existing authentication brokers e.g., GitHub, gmail, Oath 2.0 for users to get access.

ZK added that the EU approach is one common environment with multiple services. She referred to the ILIAD project which has a big budget to pilot DTO services. This includes looking into applications targeted to businesses e.g., offshore renewables and to have a market place to cater to such needs. The idea is a service that tends to different needs. She concluded that EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service have experience and ILIAD has a very strong business component in it.

Discussion on the future, structure and responsibilities of the Marine Knowledge Expert Group. These sections will be framed with guiding questions during the meeting

GB requested that MKEG dates are communicated more in advance, to enable participation.

ZK confirmed that this would be done. She added there were many advantages to in-person meetings and asked the MKEG to consider if they would be happy to travel again.

The next (18th) EMODnet SC and EC MKEG was proposed as an in-person meeting in May 2023, back-to-back with European Maritime Day (EMD), 24-25 May 2023. This would be confirmed early in 2023.

GJ added that hybrid meetings that included an opportunity to connect virtually were preferred.

Fiona Buckley (FB, Engie lab LABORELEC) noted that she preferred a half day physical meeting and then a further half day virtual meeting compared to a full day or longer physical meeting which was often difficult to participate in due to other commitments.

ZK thanked the MKEG for their inputs and also invited MKEG to send to EC DG MARE ideas on future topics that could be discussed at future MKEG meetings.

KL added that the EMODnet Secretariat welcomes MKEG input and information on industry-led / other events taking place in 2023 where the Secretariat/wider network could attend and/or where MKEG are attending themselves. She reminded MKEG that the Secretariat would send further information on the Centralisation toolkit by the middle of January 2023, for use by MKEG and the EMOD-network for promotional activities related to EMODnet Centralisation.

12.00 End of MKEG 8th meeting

There was no other business and ZK thanked again all participants and closed the meeting.

Annex I: List of Participants

EC MKEG members

*Present only in MKEG Session 1 (Monday 7 November 2022 full day)

** Present only in MKEG Session 2 (Tuesday 29 November 2022 morning)

***Present in both MKEG Sessions 1 and 2

EC MKEG Participant


Gerben J De Boer***

Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors B.V.

Gus Jeans***

Oceanalysis Ltd

Paris Sansoglou**

EU Dredging Association

Fiona Buckley**


Quillon Harpham***

HR Wallingford, UK

Liliana Rusu**

"Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati

External EMOD-PACE

Rita Lecci**

Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC)

EMODnet Steering Committee, Technical Working Group and EC and CINEA representatives attending the Joint Session on Monday 7th November 2022

* Apologies ** Attended both the 17th SC open session and the EC MKEG Closed Session

EMODnet Thematic portal




Dick Schaap

MARIS, The Netherlands


Henry Vallius

GTK, Finland

Anu Kaskela

GTK, Finland

Bjarni Pjetursson

GEUS, Denmark

Uffe Larsen

GEUS, Denmark

Ulla Alanen

GTK, Finland

Seabed Habitats

Mickäel Vasquez

Ifremer, France

Helen Lillis


Graeme Duncan



Alessandra Giorgetti

OGS, Italy

Menashè Eliezer

OGS, Italy

Erik Geletti

OGS, Italy


Joana Beja

VLIZ, Belgium


Patrick Gorringe

SMHI, Sweden

Marco Alba

ETT, Italy

Antonio Novellino

ETT Italy

Human Activities

Alessandro Pititto

COGEA, Italy

Luigi Falco

COGEA, Italy

Data Ingestion

Dick Schaap

MARIS, The Netherlands

Sissy Iona

HCMR, Greece

Central Portal

Joana Beja

VLIZ, Belgium

Frederic Leclercq

VLIZ, Belgium

Bart Vanhoorne

VLIZ, Belgium

EMODnet Secretariat

Jan-Bart Calewaert**

EMODnet Secretariat

Kate Larkin**

EMODnet Secretariat

Conor Delaney**

EMODnet Secretariat

Tim Collart

EMODnet Secretariat

Nathalie Van Isacker

EMODnet Secretariat

Nathalie Tonné

EMODnet Secretariat

Megan Tijssens**

EMODnet Secretariat

Julie Auerbach**

EMODnet Secretariat

Seascape Belgium

Julia Vera

Seascape Belgium


Rémy Dénos*


Zoi Konstantinou**


Grigore Rischitor**


Marcin Sadowski*


Chantal Vanhove


Iain Shepherd*

Senior expert advisor, DG MARE


Juan Carlos Fernández Gomez


Fabrice Pourceau