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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update - March 2015

This update of EMODnet progress is largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the months January-February 2015 supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

Current progress highlights:

Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots include:

  • EMODnet Bathymetry released a new EMODnet Digital Terrain Model on 5 February 2015 with full European coverage at resolution of 1/8 * 1/8 arc minutes, which corresponds to circa 230 * 230 meters. As a result the sheer volume of data has increased to data points (28.799 rows x 37.922 columns). The release of the new DTM coincided with the launch of an upgraded Bathymetry Viewing and Downloading service. The DTM database has been successfully migrated to PostgreSQL 9.3 RDBMS and for GIS the portal now makes use of GeoServer in combination with OpenLayers 3 for the user interface. New layers have been added as well, including a seamless land-sea integration of Open Street Map WMS and land topography WMS with comparable resolution as the new DTM, significantly improving the user-experience when viewing the new DTM where land – sea transitions are now smooth (in the previous version they were more abrupt and with visible grid edges). EMODnet Bathymetry also increased the volume of data made available through its portal: by end of February 2015, the total number of CDI (Common Data Index) entries for bathymetric datasets in European waters available from EMODnet Bathymetry reached 10141 entries (increase of 1947 entries since end of December 2014) with 576 being unrestricted, while all others require negotiation with the data holders. Finally, EMODnet Bathymetry extended its group of data providers with the University of Malta to contribute to the next DTM with additional survey data sets near Malta. Further deliberations are ongoing with potential other data providers.

  • EMODnet Geology progressed its work on Sea-floor Geology , Geological Events and Probabilities and on Coastal Behaviour. An updated sea-bed substrate map was delivered to the EMODnet Physical Habitats project and updates were made in relation to the data on minerals. The Project Co-ordinator participated in the Stakeholder meeting on the ‘Galway Statement Implementation’ during which he chaired a breakout session on ‘Atlantic Seabed Mapping’ in Brussels on 23-24 February. To improve the visibility of the EMODnet Geology portal and achievements, the group made presentations at several international meetings and submitted three abstracts for Conferences to be held later in 2015.

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats fine-tuned the recently finalised the Black Sea habitat list describing 14 habitats and their environmental characteristics ranging from upper infralittoral to the deep anoxic mud. Adjustments were done at the level of environmental variable ranges necessary for modelling some of the circalittoral deep habitats, involving verification of literature and ground truth data for temperature and salinity values associated to the deep circalittoral muds. Collation of field observational data is near completed which will allow to work on thresholds calibration of EUNIS categories in the coming weeks/months. A new set of data submission guidelines was developed by JNCC based on the map collation practices and guidance of the former Interreg NW MESH Project which should, over time, increase the number of habitat maps made available through EMODnet.

  • EMODnet Chemistry implemented the first prototype for cloud hosting with Cineca and tuning of the viewing services. Other activities focused on the generation and delivery of the first set of aggregated datasets (time series, generated time series and profiles) and new products (interpolated maps with 10 years moving window). Deltares and ULg coordinated by MARIS have been focused on the development for the new WPS products (dynamic Station maps, dynamic Time Series plots, dynamic Profiles) and on the synchronization with Ocean Browser products viewing service. Also, contact was established with JRC to discuss possible interactions and collaborations between INSPIRE Marine Pilot and EMODnet Chemistry. EMODnet Chemistry saw the total number of CDIs for chemistry data sets relevant for European waters increase from 629343 to 655992 (Lat-Long box: N80, W-30; N20, E45). Of these 553569 are unrestricted (unrestricted and SeaDataNet license), while others (102423) require (possible) negotiation due to restrictions. The highest number of CDI entries are available for parameters covering water column dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature.

  • EMODnet Biology successfully launched the World Register of Introduced Species (WRIMS) available at providing access to 1,457 alien marine species and 198 marine species with uncertain or unknown origin. During January-February 2015, EMODnet Biology added 32 new EMODnet biology datasets to the pool of data available through its portal. During the same period, new data products have been published at making the total available data products from Biology mount to 49 by the end of February 2015. After an open call for data rescue grants launched by EMODnet Biology which received much interest, 4 applications for data digitization have been selected for funding. Successful projects include integration of data into EMODnet covering amongst other (i) macrobenthic data from The Danish Biological Station between 1910-1952; (ii) quantitative data on benthos and zooplankton from the NW Black Sea sampled between 1954-1968 and macrobenthos sampled between 1997-2014; (ii) zooplankton time series obtained in the North Western Mediterranean sea by the Observatoire Océanologique of Villefranche sur Mer from 1966; and (iv) phytoplankton qualitative and quantitative data from the Romanian Black Sea coastal and shelf waters sampled between 1956 and 1960. These data rescue efforts will kick-off shortly.

  • With the help of the recently created EuroGOOS FerryBox Task Team, EMODnet Physics has increased its efforts to make moreFerryBox data in the North Sea Area (NOOS) available via the portal during coming months. At the same time, with the help of the EuroGOOS High Frequency Radar (HFR) task team and with a focus on the Ireland-Biscay-Iberia (IBI ROOS) area, EMODnet Physics has also developed much needed (internal) guidance tools for HFR data management and data sharing (see preliminary HFR data management and visualization catalogue and visualization tool ( These are necessary because HFR are generating very high frequency multi-dimensional data which are very different from a fixed station physical parameter time series. The recent migration of EMODnet Physics’ WMS/WFS services from MapServer to GeoServer were very well received by external users as by the positive feedback from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). Finally, EMODnet Physics released a new “Dashboard” which allows much better (and more easily) to generate information and reports on the performance (indicators) and use-statistics of the Physics portal.

  • During January-February 2015, EMODnet Human Activities made available two new datasets for viewing and download (Fish Catches and Telecom Cables) while several layers were updated (e.g. Shellfish Production). EMODnet Human Activities also collected valuable feedback from key stakeholders and users during a remote (WebEx) conference conference on 16 January 2015. Follow-up activities will include (considering) the inclusion of map areas used for military purposes, officially designated shipping routes and assessing feasibility of new data themes such as Carbon Capture & Storage, natural gas storage and recreational areas / tourism. The group will liaise closely with stakeholders from among others OSPAR, HELCOM and ADRIPLAN to ensure proper transfer of relevant data and tools where appropriate. Data from several other layers is constantly being collected and harmonised.

EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress:

  • Mediterranean sea-basin checkpoint released a new version of its portal on February 9th with improved architecture, stronger visuals and new tools. For example, the “Checkpoint services” section now includes a "Checkpoint Browser" and "Checkpoint GIS". A “Checkpoint Dashboard” test-version was constructed to compute checkpoint indicators. Preliminary versions of the “Data Adequacy Report" were produced in preparation for the first MedSea checkpoint panel meeting (8-9 April 2015, Brussels) as input for discussion and evaluation by a range of external experts.

EMODnet data portal 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. Similar to previous months, the most visited portals in January-February were the EMODnet Central Portal, EMODnet Bathymetry and EMODnet Biology.

  • The EMODnet Central Portal attracted exactly 1823 unique visitors (about 3200 visits) in January 2015 but this number increased considerably in February to more than 2840 unique visitors. The increase may be due to the posting of a vacancy for Project Officer at the EMODnet Secretariat given the job description was the most popular document downloaded from the Central Portal during the reporting period. Most visits were from Italy and United Kingdom. The large majority (about 80%) of visits were very short (less than 30 seconds) indicating that users were after a very precise piece of information or product (e.g. downloading a leaflet or job description) or were using the Central portal as a gateway to jump to regional and thematic EMODnet portals.

  • The number of persons visiting the main EMODnet Bathymetry website increased from more than 1000 in January to more than 1500 in February, likely as a result of the launch of the new DTM. Likewise, the use of the bathymetry viewing service increased from about 1500 in January to more than 1500 in February – a new record. The Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) have been downloaded 4862 times in January-February 2015 making it still the most popular EMODnet data product to date. Exactly 9 different users have requested and downloaded 166 bathymetry survey datasets in period January-February 2015.

  • EMODnet Biology attracted between 1500-2000 unique visitors per month to its webportal in January-February 2015. Users downloaded data about 161 times with uses ranging from “cable route design” and “Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) evaluation” to “scientific research”.

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats attracts most of its bi-monthly unique visitors on its download (556) and viewing pages (189) rather than on its home page (41 visitors). Data products have been downloaded 281 times from the Seabed Habitats portal in the period 09/01/2014 to 26/02/2015 by people from 47 different organisations and institutes. Similar to last reporting periods, the main purpose for downloading data products was research (40%), followed by governmental use (21%), education (16%), commercial use (8%) and personal use (5%).

  • EMODnet Chemistry is lagging behind with about 10-20 visitors per month for the website, about 100 per month on average for the chemistry products ocean browser and about 150 for CDI data discovery and access service. About 19907 chemistry datasets were downloaded by six distinct users while 34 data products (time series and maps) were downloaded in period November-December 2014, while many more products were downloaded using Web Map Services.

  • During January 2015, the EMODnet Physics Map Viewer attracted the highest number of visitors to date (684). During January-February 2015, 2121 physics data downloads were requested (1627 manually via Map Portal and 494 via Web Services) most of them from Italy.

  • Since last reporting period, the EMODNET Human Activities portal visits have almost doubled with close to200 unique visitors every month. Users have been downloading data mainly for research (45%), energy sector (20,8%) and environmental assessment purposes.

Challenges to be addressed

  • EMODnet Bathymetry faced considerable challenges with the compilation of the new higher resolution DTM. Together with a large area expansion for including all European seas the total volume is now data points (28.799 rows x 37.922 columns) which required a lot of human and computer-time for validating the DTM cells and rendering the different GIS layers. Note: the worldwide GEBCO contains 933.120.000 data points (21.600 rows x 43.200 columns). Another challenge related to the merging of data from different origins, such as from surveys and GEBCO, where no surveys are available. Differences in water depths have more impact due to the higher resolution. In particular individual soundings from single beams in deeper water appear as needles of a few pixels, while in the earlier resolution these effects would have been filtered by averaging. Most have these have been filtered out in a central post-processing procedure. Further improvements in methodology and GLOBE software have recently been agreed between partners which will contribute to a further refinement of the next DTM.

  • EMODnet Human Activities experienced difficulties contacting people in the Ministries in charge of fisheries and aquaculture, some of them being intensively involved in achieving the design of their EMFF 2014-2020 operational programmes.

Recent meetings and events:

  • EMODnet Human Activitiescollected valuable feedback from key stakeholders and users during a remote (WebEx) conference conference on 16 January 2015.

  • The 2nd EMODnet-MSFD Coordination Meeting took place on 27/02/2015 (Brussels) to consider and discuss the progress and EMODnet product development with relevance for MSFD and marine environmental monitoring and reporting. A short meeting report can be found at the Maritime Forum here:

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events:

  • The EMODnet Mediterranean and North Sea Checkpoints are organising their first Panel Meetings on 7-8 April (MedSea) and early May (North Sea) to discuss and finalise the first Data Adequacy Reports (DAR).

  • EMODnet Secretariat secured a booth and workshop on “Marine data and information for Blue Growth” at European Maritime Day 2015 (28-29 May 2015, Athens and Piraeus, Greece) – more information

  • The 4th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting will take place on 1-2 July 2015 at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra (Italy). This (closed) meeting will address among others the central portal query tool, MSFD interactions and prepare for the upcoming EMODnet Jamboree. An opens session for JRC staff and interested stakeholders will provide a demonstration of the portals.

  • From 20-23 October 2014, EMODnet is organising a Jamboree for partners from different thematic groups to meet each other, discover new insights and work together on common problems ( The Jamboree will start with a public day with stakeholders and invited guests on 20/10/2014.

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: