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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update – 2nd Quarter 2019

This update is based on the quarterly progress reports of the different EMODnet projects (Thematic Portals, Data Ingestion Portal) supplemented with updates from the Secretariat. This is the tenth Secretariat progress report since the start of the...

EMODnet progress overview

Common progress highlights

The current progress report is based on the quarterly progress reports from the thematic lots EMODnet Human Activities, Bathymetry and Biology. For the other thematic domains there are currently no running contracts – previous contracts ended during the last reporting period and new contracts are expected to be signed before September 2019.

At the Secretariat, the summer period will be mostly dedicated to finalisation of a series of communication materials and the preparation and organisation of the second edition of the Open Sea Lab (OSL II) which will take place 4-5-6 September 2019 in close collaboration with VLIZ, imec and ICES. Every day the Secretariat receives new registrations to participate OSL II are and we hope to welcome at least 50 participants. In parallel, the Secretariat is currently updating the EMODnet Data and Data Product portfolio, which will be ready before the start of OSL II and available for download on the Central Portal.

We are also happy to welcome several new EMODnet Associated Partner who joined over the last few months. These are: NodalPoint, Helzel, Thames Estuary and Saildrone. Short profiles of these organisations can be found on the EMODnet Central Portal (under menu: About – Partnership – EMODnet Associated Partners).

Specific progress and achievements of thematic groups

  • This reporting period, EMODnet Bathymetry focused on the improvement and completion of the Quality Index information and on the identification of areas for additional composite DTMs estimated from satellite imagery. EMODnet Bathymetry partners have been requested to identify remaining artefacts in the DTM v2018. A new version of GEBCO (v2019) is planned to be included in the future global DTM. As part of the new contract, the coastline and the legal baselines data products will be updated.
  • EMODnet Biology’s major efforts were directed to the organisation of the third EMODnet Biology general meeting back-to-back with their end-user event, the finalisation of a number of deliverables and the preparation of their final report. The former meeting was essential to discuss and refine the work plan for the next period. From the technological side, the portal is working on a tool called R-Shiny which will be used to communicate to the user on data availability and gaps. After more functionalities have been added, it will become available on the portal. Finally, the data products are now accessible through one web service URL (, and the metadata content has been improved to enhance INSPIRE compliance. The web services documentation was updated in parallel to reflect these new changes and to be more comprehensive.
  • New datasets (e.g. nuclear power plants, urban wastewater treatment facilities, fishing effort by FAO) are currently being created and made available online on EMODnet Human Activities. Furthermore, the portal has purchased new AIS data dating from 2018 in order to perform an update of the Vessel Density product.
  • The EMODnet Central Portal is the main gateway to EMODnet data resources and information hub, as shown by the release of eleven news items. These news updates were predominantly related to the release of new or updated data products by the portals (e.g. six new data products for EMODnet Geology). In addition, we released 16 new “Map of the Week” announcements for the European Atlas of the Seas. One new use case demonstrates the benefits of using EMODnet Chemistry data to identify the most common problems encountered when merging datasets derived from different institutions.

EMODnet data portals usage

The thematic portals not only report updates on their progress, but they also provide the EMODnet Secretariat with user statistics based on a set of progress indicators and monitored by the monitoring tool Matomo (Awstats for the DIP). The summary below covers the three-month period April-May-June 2019. Some statistics for the Central Portal are reported as well.

  • The volume of data in EMODnet Bathymetry has remained constant. In this reporting period, the main webpages, such as the Home page and Bathymetry Viewing and Downloading Service, had less unique page views compared to the previous period: 56 and 1496 respectively. The number of DTM tiles (version 2018) downloaded increased with 5% (from 10.030 to 10.558).
  • Overall, the Atlas related web pages and data download toolbox web page have seen a drop in the number of unique page views (decreases between 20 and 76% were recorded) compared to the first quarter of 2019. On the contrary, the EMODnet Biology Data Catalogue was visited 20% more during the reporting period. A total of 165 manual data file downloads were done, compared to 290 in the previous period, resulting in a decrease of 45%. This period, the public sector was the main sector downloading EMODnet Biology data: they account for 37.5% of all users that have downloaded data. Universities/academia comprise 22% of those users, followed by non-profit organisations (17%), other (14.5%), and the private sector (9%).
  • Several EMODnet Human Activities datasets were updated, resulting in a slight increase in the number of records (e.g. Aggregate extraction related datasets, EUMOFA monthly first sales of fish, ocean energy facilities related datasets). This reporting period, the portal map viewer received slightly less unique page views (2530 compared to 2698), while the search engine received more (from 332 to 366 unique page views). The vessel density maps remain a popular download: the number of zip files containing vessel density pictures have been downloaded 144 times which is 44% more than in the previous period. With the start of the summer period, there’s an increased interest in the “State of bathing waters” datasets: the latter has been downloaded 18 times compared to 7 in the previous period.
  • Compared to the previous period, the number of unique page views of the EMODnet Central Portal Home Page remained stable (from 6319 to 6537). The entry pages to most of the thematic portals have also seen a general decrease in number of unique page views (between -5 and -12%), apart from EMODnet Geology, Physics (both +4%) and Human Activities (+10%). In case of EMODnet Geology and Human Activities, the increases in unique page views could have been related to the publication of their new and updated data products in Spring. The total number of map data visualisations slightly decreased from 3515 to 2640. The Mean Depth layers from EMODnet Bathymetry were the most viewed map layers in the GeoViewer (they were clicked about 200 times).

Challenges to be addressed

  • EMODnet Biology hired an additional data manager ensuring an overlap to transfer knowledge. The core activities (e.g. communication with providers, data standardization) were transferred, while others have been postponed such as the finalisation of the data availability tool (R shiny tool).
  • In order to improve the geographical coverage of their aquaculture dataset, EMODnet Human Activities is contacting national authorities and national producers’ organisations that may hold such information. Another challenge the team is facing is the continuous reluctance of data owners of the cultural heritage dataset to provide precise coordinates of underwater sites/objects; currently negotiations are ongoing for transmitting layers without coordinates and/or non-downloadable information on site locations.

User feedback

All thematic portal operators can be contacted easily via a dedicated helpdesk. Some thematic portals have even set up a live chat, enabling them to help people instantly. Technical queries constitute the majority of the requests received by the individual portals. Users regularly indicate that they are looking for certain types of datasets (e.g. marine military testing zones, European marine protected areas where trawling and dredging is prohibited). From time to time, spontaneous questions in relation to data ingestion are also received – in this reporting period, EMODnet Biology received a question from a PhD student who was interested in providing data of his University’s projects.

Recent meetings and events

Most of the EMODnet Secretariat meetings are now dedicated to the preparations of the second Open Sea Lab hackathon with several meetings, site visits and interactions with co-organisers.

EMODnet Secretariat and partners were involved in many events including:

  • The Secretariat attended SEAFOOD Expo Global in Brussels on the 8th of April with a booth on the European Atlas of the Seas. At the Expo, contacts were made with EUMOFA and FARNET to include a couple of their maps in the Atlas.
  • “Accessing EMODnet Marine Data” was the name of the workshop given by the EMODnet Secretariat at Oceans 2019 in Marseille, France, from 17 to 20 June. It focused on oceanographic data exploration, elaboration and product creation for Blue Growth. Almost 70 people participated to the workshop.
  • EMODnet Secretariat was present with a booth at the EurOcean19 Conference – a major marine science policy conference – in Paris, France, from 11-12 June. The Conference was a good opportunity to communicate with scientists and policy makers from across a variety of fields.

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events

  • EMODnet’s second edition of the Open Sea Lab hackathon takes place from 4 to 6 September in Ghent in the Zebrastraat, a beautiful venue. Registrations are open until the 12th of August. We expect to welcome at least 50 compet.
  • The Secretariat will attend the EMSEA Conference from 16 to 20 September. EMODnet will present a poster on the European Atlas of the Seas and give a talk about EMODnet’s role within education.

More information

More detailed information can be found on the EMODnet thematic and sea-basin checkpoint portals, also accessible through the EMODnet Central Portal.

EMODnet Data and Data product portfolio:
EMODnet for Business brochure:

Thematic portals

Sea-basin checkpoint portals

Data Ingestion Service