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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update – July 2017

This is the second Secretariat progress since the start of the EMODnet Development Phase III (2017-2020) and covers activities developed within EMODnet in the period April to June 2017. All contracts for Phase III have been signed. All regional and...

This update is largely based on the quarterly reports of the different EMODnet groups (thematic lots, sea basin checkpoints, data ingestion) covering the months April-May-June 2017, supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

EMODnet progress overview

Main progress highlights

  • The Data Ingestion 2nd plenary meeting set a milestone in the efforts to bring new data to EMODnet. During 3 days (10th – 12th April 2017 in Limassol, Cyprus), partners identified and prioritised more than 460 potential data sources for the projectand a strategy for outreach activities involving all the consortium was discussed. Most of the EMODnet thematic groups were represented at the meeting.

  • The importance of cross-thematic interactions became evident at the end of EMODnet Phase II and is a priority in the current Phase III. Several coordinators attended kick-off meetings of other thematic groups, illustrating the intensification of cross-thematic activities. Discussions at the joint EMODnet Phase III kick-off meeting with all thematic lot coordinators, DG MARE and EASME(Brussels, 23 May 2017) highlighted the importance of cooperation and mutual support.

  • The EMODnet community participated in several importantevents during this period, including the European Geophysical Union Assembly (EGU, 23-28 April, Vienna) and the European Maritime Day (18-19 May 2017, Poole)

  • In Phase III all thematic groups must offer support to users through a help desk and deal with user-feedback in a timely manner. For most of the thematic groups, this support service is already operational. The helpdesk service reports generate useful insights on the interests of users, the problems they encounter, the nature of the feedback/assistance provided as well as the response time required to address requests, and how portals are taking into account users enquiries to improve the service.< >

Specific progress and achievements of thematic groups

  • In Phase III, EMODnet Bathymetry/HRSM has a new target grid resolution 1/16 arc minutes (1/8 arc minutes in Phase II). During the kick-off meeting, guidelines and specific training were provided to data providers to achieve this ambitious higher resolution. Guidelines have also been produced and circulated to facilitate the publishing of data sets and DTMs in the Sextant catalogue.

  • EMODnet Geology migrated its portal to new facilities at GEUS (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) and some improvements have already been implemented to improve users experience. Submerged landscapes is a novelty in this third phase, with a dedicated workshop held in Copenhagen in 26-28 June, where members from other Work Packages were also present. EMODnet Geology has been very active presenting its activities at many congresses and workshops in Europe but also in Canada (GeoHab 2017).

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats had two major releases: an update of the EMODnet Broad-Scale Seabed Habitat Map (EUSeaMap) for Europe including the new MSFD benthic broad habitat types, and a comprehensive report detailing the method behind the EUSeaMap and explaining how they have estimated the confidence layers, which was a very important line of work during Phase II.

  • EMODnet Physics launched a number of new features: the help desk service, the first package of new M2M services (widget, geoserver layers), a new map viewer and new products from operational platform. EMODnet Physics was extremely active presenting their activities at numerous events such as the Twenty-fourth Session of the IOC Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) and the South Ocean Observing System-Data Management Steering Committee, as well as EGU.

  • In Phase III, EMODnet Chemistry will continue to develop products specifically for MSFD purposes (marine litter being one of the novelties in this phase). To this end, a board of MSFD experts has been set up. Like EMODnet Physics, EMODnet Chemistry was presented at different meetings, including the before mentioned IOC Committee on IODE, and participated in several meetings and workshops related to Marine Litter.

  • EMODnet Biology partners signed the consortium agreement and met at a kick-off meeting (Oostende, 25-26 April 2017). An international workshop will be organised in London (10 October 2017) will be organised to define the requirements for EMODnet Biology data products. One year after the release of the EMODnet Biology download tool, a tutorial movie has been released on the portal, explaining how to take full advantage of the tool.

  • EMODnet Human Activities published updates of ten datasets including aquaculture, dredging, environment and major ports. A detailed communication plan was designed and discussed with the partners, and as part of this plan, two new blogs entries were published in May and June 2017.

  • After having submitted their final report and received approval in March 2017, EMODnet Coastal Mapping is now in a maintenance period, focusing on disseminating the project achievements. In particular, SHOM (project coordinator) was invited to present the project results at the MSP Conference “Addressing Land-Sea Interactions” organised by DG MARE in St. Julian’s Malta on 15-16 June 2017.

  • The EMODnet Ingestion project held its 2nd plenary meeting and developed arange of new services such as the Summary Records and the Data Submission (test version) to support data providers and partners in two successive steps of the submission workflow. The next phase will entail increasing marketing activities and the launch of an outreach campaign to approach and convince data providers to submit their data.

Phase III Kick-off meetings held during the 2nd quarter of 2017

  • HRSM/Bathymetry: 20-22 March 2017 (Venice, Italy)

  • Geology: 29-31 May 2017 (Copenhagen, Denmark)

  • Seabed Habitats: 18-20 April 2017 (Cambridge, UK)

  • Physics: 19-20 April 2017 (Milan, Italy)

  • Chemistry: 17-19 May 2017 (Trieste, Italy)

  • Biology: 25-26 April 2017 (Oostende, Belgium)

  • Human Activities: 3 May 2017 (Rome, Italy)

EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints progress

EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints for the Arctic, Atlantic Baltic and Black Sea are well in the second part of their 36 month project duration. After presenting their Data Adequacy Reports and receiving feedback from the Panel of Experts and the EMODnet Stakeholder Conference and Sea-basin workshops, they are now in the process of finalizing their challenges.

  • The Arctic Checkpoint obtained a grant to organise a workshop in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, to meet local researchers and obtain access to Svalbard research data. The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world’s northernmost higher education institution, providing research-based education of the next generation of Arctic experts in biology, geology, geophysics and technology. The workshop allowed a fruitful exchange between checkpoint experts and scientists from UNIS and other institutions in Norway and potential future collaborations were discussed.

  • Most of the activities of the Atlantic Checkpoint during the reporting period were related to Sextant (the metadata catalogue used by Atlantic, Black Sea and MedSea). Atlantic experts agreed on the final list of checkpoint products (56) andproduct names were implemented in Sextant. A Sextant product assessment guide was published to help partners to edit product metadata as part of the process to assess appropriateness and availability of data sets. Training was provided during a dedicated workshop held in June in San Sebastian.

  • The Baltic Checkpoint intensified its dissemination activities, among others at the EU-China Blue Year event organised jointly by DG MARE and the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA). In addition, work on developing products for the individual challenges has progressed. While a work plan detailing activities to be carried out during the last year of contract has already been drafted and discussed, there is still an important pending issue concerning the structure of the second Data Adequacy Report (DAR) which could be presented as a stand-alone, longer and comprehensive report or just as a (shorter) update of the first DAR.

  • Significant progress was achieved in defining the target products for the Black Sea Checkpoint(54 products for 11 Challenges). Following the same methods as implemented by the Atlantic and MedSea checkpoints, the products will be uploaded to the Sextant catalogue. A training session to explain how this should be done will take place on 11th July as part of the Black Sea checkpoint Annual meeting.

  • MedSea Checkpoint delivered its final DAR and Second Panel Report in May 2017 and has begun a process to assign DOIs to their most important Reports and outputs, pointing to a landing page with the metadata descriptors and the quality measures collected for the DAR. Other checkpoints could potentially follow this example in order to improve visibility and traceability of the work undertaken during their projects.

EMODnet data portals usage

Thematic portals regularly report on their user statistics as part of the EMODnet progress monitoring system . This monitoring system and associated set of progress indicators is currently being revised with a view on achieving a more efficient and automated monitoring process, which will enable to better assess progress and identify areas of improvement. The following summary covers the three month period April-June 2017.

  • The number of CDIs for EMODNET Bathymetry datasets has increased less than 1% during this period, while the number of DTM downloads between 1st April and 30th June 2017 was 9691, 5789 being linked to the WCS service. This shows the popularity of this service, which enables the user to draw and download their own area of interest. It is lower than figures in previous reporting periods (monthly average of 3230 vs. 4530 in the previous report). It is also important to highlight the popularity of other web services such WMS, WFS and WMTS to view and download data and maps. Interestingly, the highest number of visits to the portal came from United States (2 thirds of the page views).

  • EMODnet Geology reported on usage statistics of its portal for the first time. The statistics provide a first indication of the number of map downloads although not yet complete as some of the map products are still hosted in institutions which do not have the capacity to count downloads: Approximately 50 downloads for each of the maps (Coastal Behaviour, Events and Probabilities, Minerals…) with a range of organisations downloading the maps (Basque Centre for Climate Change, CEFAS and Finnish Transport Agency). It is still not possible to determine the main pages utilised in the portal.

  • The number of downloads from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats during this reporting period totalled 505 which is slightly lower than the average number of downloads over three months in in 2016 (536). Maps are also accessible through WMS services. The number of visitors (1300 for the three months) is comparable to previous periods with most visitors interested in using data for research purposes (59%). The most downloaded product in this period was the recently updated Broad-scale habitat map (EUSeaMap).

  • Based on its dashboard tool, EMODnet Physics provides very comprehensive overviews of how its services are used, both in terms of data and products downloaded, pages viewed etc. The variety of datasets and products available, make it difficult to provide overall numbers. Nevertheless, some of the facts persist with time, for instance, almost 80% of the requests come from only three countries: Italy, Portugal and Belgium, followed by China. This might be related to the EU China Blue Year events organised together with the Chinese State Oceanic Administration in February and June[1]. The landing portal accesses amounted to 3279 in this period, which is comparable to reported values in 2016.

  • By the end of June 2017, the EMODnet Chemistry portal made available 847981 datasets (813309 in July 2016), approximately 73% with unrestricted access. In the lastyear, the portal registered 77 downloads (basket transactions) from 30 different users, amounting to a total number of 113802 CDIs requested from 41 different Data Centres. The most visualized DIVA maps via the WMS server were the water body silicate in the Black Sea, and the water body NOx in the Atlantic Sea.

  • The number of downloads through EMODnet Biology portal raised to 514 in this period, while 15 new datasets were made available adding to the 35 datasets that had already been incorporated since January 2017 to the official date of start of the project (the activity had not ceased in the interim period). In terms of number of records, the 15 datasets translate into 63062 records, covering mostly the Adriatic Sea and Gazi Bay (Kenia). The portal and website attracted 30629 unique visitors for this quarterly reporting period.

  • EMODnet Human Activities reported a total of 428 downloads in this quarterly period. The most popular maps were the Wind Farms and the Shellfish Production ones (44 and 42 downloads respectively). These downloads also include initial requests for WFS links. Most of the users identified themselves as pertaining to the Environment sector (20%), followed by Energy (17%) and Research (14%). Number of unique page views is 2379 for the period April 2017-June 2017 (adding the View Data, Home and Search Data pages).

  • Providing services through a website was not the main focus of the EMODnet Coastal Mapping project, butthe coastal mapping portal does provide tools to visualize and download more than 40 datasets now. The numbers of unique visits is around 100 per month, predominantly from France and Italy (probably reflecting the composition of the Consortium).

  • The Data Ingestion Service received over 15000 unique visitors in the last three months, which is a very high number compared to other thematic groups.

  • Finally, the average number of unique visitors to the Central Portal has remained relatively stable (14000 per month on average) throughout 2017, but it is worth noticing that the monthly average number of visits in 2016 was only 5000, so this means a huge increase.

Challenges to be addressed

  • Some of the thematic groups signalled delays in the signing of the Consortium Agreement generally linked to administrative hurdles which have impacted the start of some activities. More in particular, the Danish Geodata Agency (GST) is still unable to contribute their data to EMODnet Bathymetry and hence, the subcontract with this institution has not yet been signed. Likewise, one of the subcontractors for EMODnet Biology decided to step out of the project and the workloadand budget had to be re-allocated.

  • EMODnet Chemistry highlighted several difficulties related to data products with relevance for MSFD purposes, both in terms of evaluating how fit for use they were at present, and also in terms of involving MSFD experts who could provide feedback in their meetings.

  • Using the Sextant catalogue to edit metadata as part of the quality evaluation process in the Atlantic Checkpoint proved difficult. Baltic Checkpoint indicated some concerns about the format for their next Data Adequacy Report.

Recent meetings and events

  • EMODnet was very visible at the European Maritime Day organised by DG MARE in Poole, UK, in 18-19 May 2017. The recently published 'EMODnet in a Nutshell' infographic and EMODnet Stakeholder Conference Report were disseminated and EMODnet Human Activities demonstrated its portal. In addition, the EMODnet Secretariat organised a workshop to discuss the challenges and opportunities in involving the private sector in the provision and re-use of marine data. The EMODnet Data Ingestion was presented at this workshop.

  • The meeting of TG Data (Copenhagen, 7-8 June 2017) was attended by a large representation of EMODnet. One of the duties of the this Technical Group, TG DATA is to work on the development of recommendations related to how to access data and information associated to process relevant to MSFD such as EMODnet. Experts from EMODnet Chemistry, Physics, Biology as well as the Secretariat contributed to the discussions.

  • The international dimension of EMODnet was stressed by its participation in meetings such the Global Earth Observing GEO workshop, "EuroGEOSS: Shaping the European contribution to GEOSS", in Helsinki 19-21 June 2017 (attended by the EMODnet Secretariat), the 24th Session of the IOC Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) held between 28-31 March 2017 in Kuala Lumpur (attended by EMODnet Physics and EMODnet Chemistry).

  • . Many members of EMODnet community participated actively in the European Geophysical Union Assembly (EGU) which took place on 23-28 April in Vienna, with contributions from several EMODnet strands such as HRSM/Bathymetry, EMODnet Physics, as well as the Baltic and the Black Sea checkpoints.

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events

  • The most important events scheduled for the next months are the EMODnet Checkpoint Methods Workshop followed by the 8th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting which will take place in Rome from 12-15 September 2017. The agenda of both meetings have been circulated and published on the Maritime Forum[2]. This will be the first SC Meeting of Phase III, with time to discuss on new developments and priorities, and a clear focus on enhancing collaboration across thematic groups and achieving a greater coherence for EMODnet. The SC Committee will follow on the Checkpoint Methods Workshop which will review the progress achieved so far and discuss the different methodologies used in the sea basins, with a view to mainstream approaches.

  • The Open Sea Lab kick-off information day will take place on 22 September in De Serre, Antwerp (Belgium). The event will mark the official launch of enrollment for the 1st EMODnet Open Sea Lab (, which will gather marine data enthusiast to ideate and co-create innovative solutions making use of marine data and provided by EMODnet.

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 portals

Sea-basin checkpoint portals

Data Ingestion Service

[1] EU China Blue Year Events

[2] and