Skip to main content
Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update - March 2014

This update is largely based on the bi-monthly reports* of the thematic lots covering January and February 2014.

Current progress highlights:

Early 2014 most projects have moved on from initial planning and administration stages (kick-off meetings, signing the contracts and developing consortium agreements) to start the work on the deliverables. Projects which already started mid-2013 have made significant progress. The first months of 2014 were marked by a range of EMODnet thematic meetings as well a joint MODEG-EMODnet Steering Committee meeting, back to back with the inauguration of the EMODnet Secretariat Office in Oostende.

General highlights and achievements from the thematic lots include:

  • EMODnet celebrated the formal opening of the EMODnet Secretariat Office at the InnovOcean site in Oostende on 19 February 2014. The event was marked by contributions from honoured guests representing the Flemish Government, the European Commission, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the European Marine Board. The interventions illustrated the importance of EMODnet and the momentum it has gathered to make a lasting impact on the marine data landscape in Europe. A short account and pictures of the inauguration can be found here:
  • The recently launched Central EMODnet Portal ( currently serves as an information hub and gateway to the data/products held at the thematic portals. Latest improvements and upgrades include the addition of missing EMODnet partners/logos and activation of the EMODnet news section including RSS feeds from other relevant portals and initiatives.
  • All thematic lots and the Mediterranean sea-basin checkpoint presented their progress and future activities to the Marine Observation and Data Experts (MODEG) at its 21st meeting (Oostende, 19-20/02/2014.

Specific progress and achievements include:

  • EMODnet Bathymetry released an updated version of the GLOBE software by IFREMER (v1.3.4) for generating DTMs following the upgraded EMODNet methodology resulting from its successful 2nd Project Meeting annex Training Workshop in January 2014. For the Baltic Sea region it has been agreed with the Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) respresentative of the BSHC Baltic Sea digital bathymetry project that EMODNet will adapt the present BSHC Digital Terrain Model or DTM (500 * 500 meters) with full acknowledgement via SEXTANT and include Common Data Index (CDI) references and higher resolution data sets for the German sector as a starter.
  • EMODnet Geology held its kick off meeting on 21-22 January 2014 in Lisbon which addressed among others collaboration with other portals (notably bathymetry and Seabed habitats) as well as the EMODnet Geology portal that will be designed to complement the central EMODnet portal currently under development. EMODnet Geology has also been collaborating with EMODnet Human activities (lot 8) to coordinate their efforts and avoid duplication of efforts. There is good progress in compiling available information for deliverables such as the sea-bed substrate map. This will also help with the identification of locations where more detailed mapping will be required in the future.
  • Additional light attenuation and photic zone data for the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Canaries were acquired by EMODnet Seabed habitats lot on 31 January 2014, thereby completing the whole of European sea-basins. Also, potentially useful biogenic habitat data sets in the Mediterranean have been identified. This lot is heavily dependent on inputs from other thematic lots and is still awaiting the outcome of current revision of the EUNIS marine benthic habitat classification structure under the aegis of the European Environment Agency (EEA).
  • Driven by EMODnet Chemistry, thematic lot coordinators have undertaken joint action to obtain information about the official release of MSFD Sea Areas Boundaries. The definition of these boundaries are necessary for several critical actions/functions such as data collection, data search, reporting and product generation. With support from all lots, a temporary solution will be developed by VLIZ by April 2014 using a common shapefile based on (i) an existing image of the MSFD regions; (ii) spatial data from the (EEZ boundaries database); and EEA coastline data.
  • EMODnet Biology released its first important deliverable as part of its work on “Access to Marine Biological data” (D3.1: Assessment of data and databases). This report gives a detailed overview of the data that will become available to EMODnet thanks to contributing data providers.
  • The EuroGOOS Board Meeting (Athens, 4-7/02/2014) provided an opportunity for EMODnet Physics to interact with the Regional Ocean Observing System (ROOS) representatives to engage these communities, empower the relevant infrastructures and stimulate their contributions to EMODnet. EMODnet physics also liaised with ODP (Ocean Data Portal) representatives to create links and interoperability between EMODnet Physics and ODP. The lot has also made good progress in development of its portal in particular its map page and interoperability features.
  • EMODnet Human activities (newest addition to the EMODnet family) has been able to acquire data for several of its themes. The human activities portal is being developed and should be live by the end of March. At this stage, several data have already been tested in a development version of the map and a set of rules for the harmonization of “hydrocarbon extraction” across the various sources has been established.

*Progress indicators and new reporting guidelines

For the first time, thematic lots have reported using a new template based on the progress indicators agreed by MODEG and the EMODnet Steering Committee (see minutes 1st EMODnet Steering Committee).

Baseline results highlight the differences between the thematic portals in terms of metrics that can be reported upon, the wide range of organisations contributing/using data as well as the diversity in reasons why users have downloaded data and data products. Over time, the new scheme will allow to provide additional information and trends on the performance of the portals and user-statistics to the stakeholders and MODEG which may guide future work where it is needed most.

Thematic lots deserve praise for a remarkably smooth transition to the new reporting scheme which is an impressive achievement in just a few months. All coordinators have invested considerable time and effort to develop a first set of meaningful metrics for the indicators, tailored to the portals’ set-up and types of data/products made available. While implementation of the progress indicators will be a dynamic process which will require continuous refinement and adjustment over time, most of the work is now completed.

Recent EMODnet meetings and events:

  • The 21st Marine Observation and Data Expert Group (MODEG) Meeting took place on Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 February 2014 at the InnovOcean site in Oostende (Belgium). All EMODnet coordinators presented their activities and obtained suggestions to guide future work. The full report is available here: The Agenda and presentations of the meeting can be found here:
  • On 19 February 2014 the EMODnet Secretariat Office was inaugurated in Oostende (Belgium) in the presence of all EMODnet thematic coordinators (see above).

Future EMODnet meetings and events:

EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting

The 2nd EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting will take place on 4 and 5 June 2014 (Rome, venue TBC). Preliminary agenda items include: Progress update of the thematic and regional EMODnet lots with a focus on bottlenecks and opportunities for collaboration; Addressing Common challenges (e.g. MSFD boundaries, interoperability, …); Evaluation and improvements of the new system to monitor the progress of EMODnet thematic lots using a set of progress indicators and bi-monthly reporting template; Harmonisation of the various portals and communication activities; Progress and further actions for the development of the three pilot EMODnet ‘use cases’ to test added value functionality by the central portal using data from more than 2 thematic portals; Status of the Ad Hoc Technical Working Group and the Ad Hoc User Group.

Other events:

  • The EMODnet Secretariat has been invited to present EMODnet progress and future activities at the upcoming SEAS-ERA Final Conference (Spain, 8-9/04/2014). See for more information and registration.
  • The FP7 JERICO project (Towards a joint European research infrastructure network for coastal observatories) organizes its 2nd summer school covering the state-of-the-art pan-European marine information systems landscape. On 17 June 2014, the EMODnet Secretariat and core networks involved in EMODnet thematic portals will participate in a dedicated training day, including EuroGOOS, EurOBIS/ICES, MyOcean and SeaDataNet. More information about the summer school and opportunities to participate/contribute are available at
  • The EMODnet Secretariat has submitted a proposal for a workshop at the European Maritime Day 2014 (Bremen, 19-20/05/2014) focussing on key European efforts in the lifepath from marine observations and data up to information and knowledge. The proposal has been positively reviewed and accepted by the organisers, provided it is merged with a workshop proposal from EurOGOOS and the European Marine Board. The Secretariat is currently working with EuroGOOS/EMB to develop a joint workshop of common interest.

More information:

For more detailed information, please consult the EMODnet thematic portals: