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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update - July 2015

This update is largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the months May-June 2015 supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

Current progress highlights:

Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots include:

  • Significant progress has been made in updating the EMODnet Digital Terrain Model (DTM) by EMODnet Bathymetry. The regional coordinators have delivered new DTM for their regions using the latest version of GLOBE software (version 1.5.0, March 2015). In addition to this, high resolution DTMs for 3 coastal areas have been finalized for Ireland (GSI partner), France (SHOM) and Germany (BSH) and delivered to EMODnet Integrators (GGSgc and MARIS). The publishing of an updated DTM including those high resolution DTMs is planned for August 2015. The number of CDI (Common Data Index) entries for bathymetric datasets specifically relevant for European waters increased from 10194 to 10611 (799 unrestricted). New records have been included in the CDI metadata catalogue service, which currently contains 13883 entries for EMODnet Bathymetry.Likewise, submissions of composite DTM were sent to the Sextant directory, which holds now 43 entries.

  • EMODnet Geology finished its work on obtaining a complete map for European seas through the harmonization of information about seabed substrate at 1:1 million scale, in areas where the higher resolution 1:250000 interpretations were not available. This map will be updated regularly (next version expected for September 2015) as new information is compiled. A group dealing with cross-border issues in the Adriatic sea was established and had its first meeting in Rome in May 2015 to discuss on how to harmonise geological information in the region. This group will be working on all EMODnet Geology work packages.

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats managed to gather very relevant polygon data from several parties on the protected species Posidonia oceanica. Relevant progress has been achieved in the computation of threshold values for a further classification of habitats according to EUNIS categories. Progress varies amongst basins, but most thresholds are now stable and ready to be used in the current model. Some modifications to the web portal were also implemented to increase its visibility and improve the users experience.

  • The volume of data made available through the EMODnet Chemistry portal increased from 735115 to 744294 CDIs (553703 unrestricted) while the others may require negotiation. An annual plenary meeting (15-17 June 2015, Istanbul) with 60 participants presented the work done so far and made plans for the third year of project. On the technical side, the first set of products using DIVA maps and dynamic plots on top of regional aggregated datasets were finalized. More work was done to implement a cloud environment for hosting all EMODnet Chemistry services.

  • During this period, EMODnet Biology organised two workshops in Crete dealing with the rescue of biodiversity data and the treatment of traits information on marine species. During the reporting period, a total number of 11 new datasets have been made available, including records of zooplankton abundance from Spain as well as records from national marine biological monitoring database of Sweden dating back to 1979. The delivery of a new product for copepod species to ICES through WMS/WFS was another important achievement. Finally, the data portal (refurbished in May 2015) has been further improved so that its layout adapts itself according to the device used to visit the site.

  • EMODnet Physics’ biggest accomplishment over the previous period was the incorporation of the High Frequency Radar (HFR) data to the portal. During the May-June 2015 period, first steps were taken in order to include glider data too. In addition to that, EMODnet Physics has been very actively participating in a number of meetings with relevant stakeholders such as EuroGOOS, JCOMMOPS (JCOMM in situ Observing Platform Support Centre) or the new Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service to help coordinate the strategies of these related efforts and streamline their resources.

  • EMODnet Human Activities will soon made available some important datasets not initially included in the contract such as the status of bathing water, hydrocarbon licences, and offshore installations. A new work package on data analysis has been created to assess the accuracy and precision of data and the creation of new data products. Finally, very fruitful contacts took place with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) leading to collaborations with the Human Activities team.

EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress:

  • The Mediterranean checkpoint project has put in place a new methodology for monitoring assessment that has proved to be useful with the development of objective indicators for seven challenges/areas. To date, eight indicators which allow assessment of the availability of data in the Mediterranean basin have been developed and estimated for challenge 3 (Oil leaks). For the other six challenges, four indicators have been considered.

  • The North Sea checkpoint project has completed its Climate and Coast Protection challenge and submitted the associated DAR to DG MARE. The Data Advisor has been updated with the outputs from the challenge and access to the Data Advisor has been provided to the EMODnet partners for commenting.

  • A joint meeting is to take place between 2 and 4 September 2015 at HR Wallingford (UK) to kick-off the new checkpoints (Baltic, Artic and Atlantic). Representatives from the Mediterranean and the North Sea checkpoints will also be present, to share their experience with the newcomers.

EMODnet data portals usage

Since January 2014, thematic portals regularly report their user statistics as part of the EMODnet progress indicators which allows to track interest and areas for improvement.

  • The number of visits per month has decreased slightly in the EMODnet Bathymetry main portal with respect to the former period (2000 to 1650). Likewise, the number of DTMs downloaded has decreased to 2992 (4183 in March-April 2015). The preferred format is ESRI ASCII (one third).

  • Activity for the EMODnet Biology portal has being similar to the previous period (around 1600 unique visitors per month on average). Users downloaded data about 200 times, mostly for research purposes.

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal received 748 unique visitors during the period May-June 2015. Most of the users (60%) stated that their downloads had research purposes, even though there were also users from the commercial/Industry realm and the government.

  • EMODnet Chemistry registered21 data requests for 78 CDIs from 9 different data centres by 13 users. About 31 data products were downloaded by direct download or OPENDAP and a much high number of data products were downloaded through machine to machine communication using Web Map Services.

  • The number of downloads from Physics portal was 9060 in this period (10145 in the previous one) with half of the requests being originated in Italy. For 76% of the users it was the first time they visited the portal, which may be related to the new data made available which attracted new users (namely HF radar data).

  • The number of visits to the Home page of the EMODNET Human Activities portal has more than doubled with respect to the previous period. This time the uses of the downloaded data were more evenly spread through the different categories beginning with Fisheries and agriculture (18%). The most popular data product in the May-June 2015 period was Advisory Councils (17 out of 86 downloads).

Challenges to be addressed

  • EMODnet Human Activities’ efforts on mariculture activities are starting to pay off with new datasets underway from Greece, France, Portugal and Croatia. Nevertheless, there are still many countries that have not answered the call to provide data yet.

  • To improve the user experience of the interactive map and its functionality, EMODnet Seabed Habitats is currently testing a range of modifications including ‘clean’ layout for low-resolution screens; improved map layer groupings on the table of contents; improved system of viewing habitat maps from survey; and addition of MEDISEH Zostera data.

  • The main challenges EMODnet Chemistry involve the validation of the DIVA Interpolated maps from regional coordinators and metadata product generation and loading in Sextant. Also improving the performances of the viewing services (PostgreSQL database and WPS/WFS services) remains high on the agenda.

  • EMODnet Geologyestablished a working group specifically to deal with cross-border problems in the Adriatic Sea which met for the first time in Rome in May to discuss issues related to harmonising geological information in the region.

  • All EMODnet thematic data portals implement INSPIRE principles and strive to become either fully INSPIRE-compliant or develop an understanding of why it is not desirable or feasible to do so. Nevertheless, further analysis by INSPIRE and EMODnet technical teams are required to understand exactly what needs to be done to become fully compliant and how to implement these requirements. The main area where inconsistencies may occur are at the data model level as EMODnet thematic portals have adopted harmonisation models, but these are not necessarily INSPIRE data models. A dedicated workshop was organized with INSPIRE representatives at JRC (Ispra, Italy) on 30th June 2015 to explore synergies to agree on a roadmap. Later this year, back to back with the EMODnet Open Conference in October, EMODnet technical developers will meet with members of the INSPIRE technical team to discuss actions to ensure convergence of EMODnet and INSPIRE.

Recent meetings and events:

  • EMODnet Secretariat and representatives from several EMODnet thematic lots attended the European Maritime Day in Athens, where EMODnet Secretariat was one of the conveyors of the workshop entitled “Marine data and information empowering Blue Growth” on 28 May 2015.

  • The 4th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting took place on 1-2 July 2015 at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Italy). Previous to that, a workshop between the EMODnet SC members and representatives from INSPIRE directive was held (30 June 2015). The aim of the workshop was to exchange information on the status and approaches used and developed by both initiatives as well as discuss the links between INSPIRE and EMODnet

  • All thematic lots were very active presenting their works at several workshops, scientific congresses events such as the the GeoHab 2015 Conference (Salvador, Brazil), the World Hydrography Day 2015 (Monaco), the Sea Level Workshop (Mallorca, Spain) the Ocean 2015 (Genova, Italy) to name only a few.

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events:

  • EMODnet Secretariat will participate in the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service Workshop Service Evolution and User Uptake to be held in Brussels, September 7-8, 2015.

  • From 20-23 October 2014, EMODnet is organising an Open Conference (20/10/2015) and Partner Jamboree 21-22/10/2015) for stakeholders and partners from different thematic groups to meet each other, discover new insights and work together on common problems (

More information:

More detailed information and the bi-monthly progress reports of each thematic lot can be found attached to this post and on the EMODnet thematic portals:

Bi-monthly reports: