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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update – July 2016

Secretariat progress updates provide a summary overview of the main highlights, most recent advances and remaining challenges faced by all EMODnet partners in their efforts to develop EMODnet. This update is largely based on the bi-monthly reports of...

EMODnet progress overview

Main progress highlights

  • All six EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints responded as required to the oil-spill challenge which was launched by DG MARE and the Secretariat on 10 May 2016. Checkpoints provided 24h and 72h bulletins with information about the fate of the oil spill, its expected impacts on the environment as well as the main assumptions and key factors influencing the outcomes. The checkpoints also reported on the most important barriers and data gaps hindering the assessment of the fate and impacts of the oil spills. The summaries of main results and detailed oil leak bulletins (available via the Maritime Forum) attracted a lot of attention from stakeholders.

  • The EMODnet Steering Committee met on 21-22 June (Brussels) to discuss the development of the EMODnet Central Portal as well as progress of the various thematic and regional EMODnet projects and initiatives. This 6th EMODnet Steering Committee meeting proved instrumental to update and refine the framework, objectives and work plan for further development of EMODnet Central Portal data services (e.g. adding a GIS map Viewer) and information content.

Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots

  • EMODnet Bathymetry held its final meeting within the current contract on 23-24 May 2016 in Bucharest (Romania) taking stock of the progress achieved throughout the project and preparing for the next phase. Most of the regional coordinators sent their regional Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) to be integrated in the new release of the overall EMODnet DTM, due by the end of summer 2016. EMODnet Bathymetry was acknowledged as a successful initiative and important contributor to GEBCO during the forum for Future Ocean Floor Mapping in Monaco (15-17 June 2016).

  • EMODnet Geology finally provided the seabed substrate maps which EMODnet Seabed Habitats needed to assess the confidence of their seabed habitat maps. The delivery of these maps is the culmination of a successful collaborative process . In addition, the geology data portal was upgraded again following feedback received from partners and users.

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats partners worked intensely to estimate the confidence levels of their maps, a process which is nearing completion after having received final inputs from EMODnet Bathymetry and Geology. Finally, Italy finally joined the group of contributing countries via the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) which provided two habitat maps.

  • As in the previous period, EMODnet Chemistry collaborated with the IPChem project in order to integrate services provided by both projects. New maps were produced for dissolved oxygen and Chl-a and progress was also made on the list of products entries to be included in the Sextant (products) catalogue. The third EMODnet Chemistry Annual Meeting held in Helsinki was the most important event during this period.

  • EMODnet Biology coordinator VLIZ hosted an important workshop contributing to the establishment of a framework for the description, collation and dissemination of traits information relating to marine species. The workshop was attended by 17 participants from 14 organizations. Collection of information and drafting of the final report took considerable amount of time during the reporting period.

  • The number of datasets made available through EMODnet Physics portal has increased again, comprising platforms from FIXO3 project, from the Spanish and Croatian HF radar networks, and from the International Artic Buoy Programme. A new query tool for monitoring users’ interest has been put in place. EMODnet Physics representatives promoted EMODnet and discussed collaborations met with a range of data providers, including PANGAEA and FIXO3, and attended other meetings such as AtlantOS and EuroGOOS annual assemblies.

  • After 4 months, the EMODnet Human Activities news blog has proven very useful as a dissemination tool and to attract new users. Three new entries were published in the last reporting period and more are in the pipeline. Findings from a recent user survey done by EMODnet Human activities has been used to plan developments of the portal beyond the lifetime of the current contract. Other progress includes updates on datasets and metadata for numerous topics including International convention boundaries, Offshore installations and Maritime Boundaries.

  • The website of the EMODnet Coastal Mapping project has advanced considerably, now enabling the visualization of 55 datasets grouped according to four themes. Moreover, the EMODnet Coastal Mapping Planner (CMP) - which offers indications about the most optimal survey techniques (such as lidar, multibeam, echosounder…) to obtain certain products (e.g. bathymetric map or the vegetation presence map) depending on the specific environment and circumstances - has now been translated into a web tool. The tool is currently accessible online via and will be improved as the algorithm which underpins the Coastal Mapping Planner is upgraded and fine-tuned.

EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress

  • On 10 May 2016 at 08:15 CET, the EMODnet oil-spill challenge was launched simultaneously for all six sea-basin checkpoints. Teams in each checkpoint were asked to assess the fate of an oil spill and the derived impacts on ecosystems, human populations and economic activities. The checkpoints provided bulletins providing detailed accounts of this information at 24h and 72h after the challenge was launched. As detailed on the Maritime Forum, interesting findings included the influence of ice in the Arctic, the impact on fishing in the Baltic, the differences in dispersion between the Atlantic and Black Sea and the threat to coastal habitats in the North Sea and Mediterranean.

  • The Arctic checkpoint made considerable progress developing different aspects of their website such as a dashboard tool to present the data quality and data adequacy information to users. Atlantic checkpoint partners met in Lisbon on 1-3 June 2016 to coordinated the work and reported difficulties finding the right stakeholders for their external advisory panels. The Baltic checkpoint produced the final version of its Literature Survey report after receiving comments from DG MARE/EASME. Progress was also made on the Data Adequacy report as well as some improvements in the portal. The Black Sea checkpoint also delivered their literature survey report to EASME/DG MARE and held their first Annual Review meeting in Varna, Bulgaria, on 14-15 June 2016.

  • The two “senior” checkpoints (Mediterranean and North Sea) participated actively in the 6th EMODnet Steering Committee meeting (21-22 June 2016, Brussels) to highlight different but complementary approaches to address the challenges, serving as useful methodological reference for the other checkpoints also present in the meeting. The Mediterranean checkpoint, in particular, has updated its internal reports about their Targeted Products (TP), their Upstream Data sets (UD), the methodology applied and an expert evaluation on appropriateness and usability.

EMODnet data portals usage

Thematic portals regularly report their user statistics as part of the EMODnet progress indicators which allows them to track interest and identify areas for improvement. The following summary covers the two month period May-June 2016.

  • The number of composite DTMs made available by EMODNET Bathymetry has significantly increased (from 46 to 78) due to the preparation of the new global DTM release. Many of those were sent by partner MARUM (Germany). The number of DTM downloads reached 5378 in this period (4111 the previous one). Spain and the US are still the countries who visit more frequently the portal. An interesting new functionality is that users can now select their own sub-regions of interest for downloading.

  • EMODnet Geology portal has made considerable progress on the improvement of their portal, adding new functionalities and making it more user-friendly. For the time being, however, they have not provided statistics concerning its usage.

  • The number of maps made available through the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal has increased whereas the number of downloads remains stable. The number of visitors is also similar to previous periods as well as the declared purpose for downloading (mainly for research purposes with 48% of cases). Once again, the most popular map was the fine scale EUNIS habitat map (69 downloads out of 536) followed by the OSPAR threatened and/or declining habitat (53 downloads) which had just been updated.

  • The number of CDIs available through EMODnet Chemistry has increased notably (around 19000 new entries, i.e. a 20% increase), mostly due to the contributions from the Russia Research Institute of Hydrometeorological Information (6836), the Finnish Environment Institute (5162) and the Institute of Marine Research - Norwegian Marine Data Centre (3714). A total of 37 downloads (basket transactions) from 15 different users were recorded. In terms of popularity, Black Sea products were still the most demanded using WMS services whereas in the case of direct download or OPENDAP, users were preferentially looking for 10-year running averages of nutrients in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • The EMODnet Biology portal has made available 34 new or updated datasets from 8 different sources, including from Poland and Portugal. The number of requests of downloads was 200, similar to previous periods and once again primarily for scientific purposes. Users download data in .csv and .xls format preferentially (the other formats such as .htm, .kmz and .xml account for less than 5%).

  • EMODnet Physics has put in place a new feature on its portal’s Dashboard that allow providers to track the “popularity” of their products and services. During this period, most requests were made from the Republic of Korea both for historical validated data and real time, and concentrated on the Arctic region. It is also worth mentioning that the number of new visitors to the portal is steady, always more than 50% out of the total. In addition, the total number of requests of downloaded datasets, regardless if they are historical datasets or recent datasets, continues to increase.

  • Fish catches was the most popular map downloaded from EMODnet Human Activities portal. The total number of downloads reduced considerably with respect to the March-April 2016 period (from 195 to 108), however, this was not a quieter period in terms of visits to the portal (around 300 views per month).

  • The Coastal Mapping project has incorporated 11 new datasets to their portal, now allowing the visualization of 55 datasets. These datasets will eventually be downloadable too. The number of visits to the portal has increased accordingly, now reaching 606, predominantly from France and UK. The average duration of visits is short (about 2 minutes) but with increasing content it is expected that this will increasing in the coming periods.

Challenges to be addressed

As the thematic lots are reaching the end of their current contract, the main challenge for the thematic portals is to complete all the deliverables and requirements while preparing for possible future continuation. It is also a demanding period for the EMODnet checkpoints, as they are submitting their interim reports during the summer period. The coastal mapping project still struggles to find accurate and comparable information about costs of different surveying techniques in different countries.

Recent meetings and events

  • EMODnet was well represented at the European Maritime Day in Turku (Finland) on 18-19 May 2016 organised by DG MARE. The EMODnet Secretariat participated actively in different workshops and hosted a booth with several posters and dissemination materials including the official EMODnet video. In addition to the members of EMODnet Secretariat, EMODnet Human Activities also attended the event and presented their own booth.

  • The 6th EMODnet Steering Committee meeting, the last of the second phase, was held on 21-22 June 2016 in Brussels. It was a very intense and fruitful meeting, providing an opportunity to thematic lots and sea-basin checkpoints to provide an update and overview on their activities indicating strengths, weaknesses and challenges as well as some good examples of what is working well. An important part of the discussions were around how to improve the central portal and what kind of data services and products should be made available there. Two major outcomes of the meeting are (i) an agreement to develop a GIS Map Viewer as a core component of the Central Portal to provide users with an quick overview of various EMODnet data layers, and (ii) to expand the EMODnet partnership scheme to include a new ‘associated’ partners Meeting documents, presentations and minutes will be made available on the Maritime Forum in August 2016.

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events

  • The 3rd Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference will take place on 27 September in Dublin, Ireland. EMODnet will take the opportunity to network with stakeholders with an interest in developing projects in the Atlantic Area. The Conference will include a workshop on “Open data for Blue Growth in the Atlantic area" organised by EMODnet Secretariat together with Atlantic checkpoint. The Secretariat will also take part in an exhibition to present EMODnet via an information booth.

More information

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

Thematic lot portals

Sea-basin checkpoint portals