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Maritime Forum

EMODnet dialogue on Ocean Best Practices: Special Cross-thematic Session at the 2nd EMODnet Jamboree

The Special Cross-thematic Session on Ocean Best Practices brought together key representatives from the EMODnet and wider European marine data community, and global experts to assess and discuss the current status of EMODnet’s contribution to Ocean...


EMODnet dialogue: Citizen Science
Wednesday 16 June 14:30-16:30 CEST
This is a Special Cross-thematic Session at the 2nd EMODnet Jamboree Joint Session on EMODnet and Ocean (Data) Best Practices

Meeting summary

The EMODnet Jamboree cross-thematic dialogue on Ocean Best Practices was co-organised by the:

  • EMODnet partnership,
  • International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC),
  • IOC Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) initiative.

The meeting brought together key representatives from the EMODnet and wider European marine data community, and global experts to assess and discuss the current status of EMODnet’s contribution to Ocean Best Practices, including presentations on OBPS, testimonials of the value of existing EMODnet community practices, as well as experiences from the perspective of a National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC).

During the welcome and introduction, OBPS representatives highlighted that the value of information, data and data products is tightly linked to our knowledge about the underlying standards and practices that were used in the collection and synthetization processes.

A selection of EMODnet thematic assembly groups shared their experiences on the process used by EMODnet to develop its community practices as well as their roll out and community feedback. These addressed best practices that already exist and raised awareness on opportunities to share the EMODnet community practices globally through the OBPS.

During the dialogue, participants agreed that EMODnet can play a role in supporting the OBPS initiative and vice-versa. The following suggestions were put forward towards this end:

  • EMODnet should develop a tagging protocol to be used in the EMODnet product catalogue and/or Use Cases.
  • EMODnet should assess and set up an overview of EMODnet Best Practice Methodologies.
  • EMODnet should help identify examples of uses of best practices from other networks or specific best practices that EMODnet can prioritize for interoperability planning and action with other networks.
  • EMODnet should more clearly clarify the distinctions in operational efforts: i.e., EMODnet is focused on publishing data and information produced by its wider community; as opposed to being actively involved in the observation process.

Going forward, representatives from EMODnet agreed to continue and step up its efforts to share the practical experiences and best practices of its community through the OBPS. EMODnet will work with OBPS to further record best practices across the marine knowledge value chain and to develop a community of best practice. These outcomes can be taken forward to the 5th Community Workshop of the IOC-UNESCO Ocean Best Practices System in September 2021, and the International Ocean Data Conference 2022 organized by IOC-IODE in February 2022, and can become a contribution to GEO, including Blue Planet, MBON, and regional GEO efforts. The contributions by EMODnet are important in the context of programs endorsed by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and activities that will be planned under this Ocean Decade.


Welcome and Introduction (5’)

Jan-Bart Calewaert, EMODnet Secretariat and Frank Muller-Karger, OBPS

Introductory Talks OBPS / EMODnet (30’)

Short presentations by OBPS and EMODnet to provide a high-level framework with key developments, status and opportunities to set the stage.

Testimonies - New methods in using EMODnet and OBPS (30’)

Testimonies from EMODnet developers, data providers and users give insights into experiences, creating and adopting standards and best practices of EMODnet, underpinning data infrastructures and initiatives

Testimonies from EMODnet Thematic Assembly Groups

⋅ Eleonora Manca (EMODnet Seabed Habitat) – EUSeaMap: experiences and sharing best practices with other regions (3’) Eleonora Manca - EUSeaMap experiences

⋅ Matteo Vinci (EMODnet Chemistry) – Contributions to OBPS (3’) Matteo Vinci - EMODnet Chemistry use case

⋅ Dan Lear (Marine Biological Association, Plymouth, UK) – EMODnet Biology (3’) Dan Lear - EMODnet Biology

⋅ Pip Bricher (SOOS) – SOOS-map and collaboration with EMODnet Physics (3’) Pip Bricher - SOOSmap best practices

⋅ George Spoelstra (EMODnet Bathymetry) – EMODnet World Base Layer Service (3’) George Spoelstra - EMODnet Bathymetry best practices

Experiences from the perspective of a NODC

Adam Leadbetter (Marine Institute, Ireland) – On adopting standards and practices of EMODnet, and thoughts on the future of marine data sharing (10’) Adam Leadbetter - NODC perspective

Discussion (5’)

Plenary discussion (45’) - Moderated by Johannes Karstensen


EMODnet has come a long way over the past decade from a proof of concept with a series of prototype data portals to an operational open data sharing service with an increasingly global outlook and coverage. During the development phases, a lot of work has been done (and experiences gained) at the level of open data sharing, adopting existing and/or creating new standards for data assembly, management and exchange, ensuring interoperability between data systems scattered around Europe both within and between disciplines. More recently, the European Commission DGMARE who are funding the initiative, have put forward EMODnet as a resource and contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science and global community, among others in support of improved ocean literacy and ocean governance. This relates not only to the data and information resources but also to the sharing of know-how, expertise and established workflows, tools, infrastructures, open code/software, and access to methods and Best Practices that underlie and is fundamental for providing a comprehensive contextual of the EMODnet data. This information is essential to put the EMODnet data in context with its underlying methods, for example for QA/QC and especially for assessing data accuracy in collaboration with data providers and aggregators. At the same time, by linking the data with the methods of data collection, a motivation is created to promote methodical approaches in the ocean communities that ultimately generate EMODnet data. EMODnet has identified OBPS as a way to contribute to these aspirations and share these with the wider global community.

The IOC Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS) is a global, sustained system comprising technological solutions and community approaches to enhance management of methods as well as support the development of ocean best practices. The OBPS considers a best practice as a methodology that has repeatedly produced superior results relative to other methodologies with the same objective. To be fully elevated to a best practice, a promising method will have been adopted and employed by multiple organizations. The OBPS vision is to have agreed and broadly adopted methods across ocean research, operations and applications. The core of the OBPS is a permanent multi-media repository (documents, videos...) that currently holds >1300 entries. Manual and automatic (API) search queries are available to retrieve specific methodologies from the repository which can be linked to data and data products.

About Ocean Best Practices System (OBPS)

OBPS was formed from the existing IODE Ocean Data Practices repository. The name was changed in 2018 to Ocean Best Practices to reflect its broader ‘all ocean-related’ best practices scope. The Ocean Best Practices System includes the repository with advanced search technology; a peer review journal on ocean best practices matters in Frontiers in Marine Science; support for training and capacity development; and an outreach and engagement programme with user/creator communities. OBPS encompasses deposition of practices into a public archive, support for the adoption of best practices, and development of training with an engaged community.

About EMODnet

The European Marine Observation and Data network (EMODnet) is a leading long-term marine data service provider and marine knowledge broker, funded by the EU. Over 150 organizations deliver harmonized data and data products such as maps through seven portals spanning bathymetry, geology, physics, chemistry, biology, seabed habitats and human activities, with a central portal. EMODnet metadata is INSPIRE compliant and EMODnet promotes the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data principles. The core enabling technology of EMODnet is a spatial data infrastructure based on Open Geospatial Consortium standards for web services and Open Source Geospatial (OSGeo) software.