Skip to main content
Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update - May 2014

This update is largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering March and April 2014 supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

Current progress highlights:

During March-April 2014, thematic lots have increased the pace to meet the first year deliverables. Projects which already started early in 2013 have made significant progress. This has resulted in several new and upgraded websites and portals while other portals are continuously improved. EMODnet is also gaining visibility through presentations at a range of high profile external events including the HOPE Conference in Brussels (March 2014), Oceanology International (March 2014, London) and the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Conference (April 2014, Vienna).

General highlights and achievements from the thematic lots include:

  • Major achievements in this reporting period includes the launch of two completely new EMODnet portals/websites and one major upgrade:

  • In a collaborative effort with support from the Central Portal Team at VLIZ, the EMODnet Coordinators have developed and agreed to a temporary common approach to overcome the lack of (formal) publication of European Regional Seas boundaries in the framework of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) by EEA which is currently under review. This illustrates both the necessity and benefits of working closely together at the Steering Committee level to address common challenges.

Specific progress and achievements include:

  • EMODnet Bathymetry partners focused on preparing and submitting new data collections which will be evaluated at a progress update meeting planned for the end of May. For the new Black Sea partners who had a delayed start, the full effect of their contributions is expected to materialize in the 2nd and 3rd year release of products. The total number of CDI (Common Data Index) entries for bathymetric datasets in European waters continues to steadily increase, reaching 6471 entries at the end of April 2014. Of these, 247 are unrestricted, while all other require negotiation with the data holders. New regional Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) are planned to be released before autumn 2014. The EMODnet bathymetry portal was presented at several events, including Oceanology International (March 2014, London) and at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Conference (April 2014, Vienna).

  • As part of its activities on harmonization and standardization of national data-sets on sea-bed substrates using a shared EMODnet classification, EMODnet Geology compiled a map revealing the different scales at which geological mapping has been carried out in European waters to date. The target scale of the seabed substrate map of European water is 1:250000, with more detailed data being generalized and coarser data not taken in account in this phase. The next project meeting will take place in Malta in September 2014. The EMODnet geology website was revised to align with the EMODnet style, the updated version was released in April 2014. A poster on the geology service was presented at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Conference (April 2014, Vienna).

  • EMODnet Seabed habitats held its first progress meeting in Athens in April 2014 which addressed, among others, the need for other thematic lots to provide their data by summer for the seabed habitats consortium to be able to deliver the required data products by September 2014. Collation of biological sample data continues to be challenging, with habitat data being rarely readily available, in contrast to species data. Scientist often remain reluctant to release their data, as demonstrated by the unsuccessful attempt trying to obtain background data from the MEDISEH (Mediterranean Sensitive Habitats) project. On the positive side, partners are increasingly improving the visibility of EMODnet as shown by the news updates and link to the EMODnet central portal recently made available from the EMODnet Seabed habitats coordinator (Ifremer) home page. EMODnet seabed habitat activities were presented at Ifremer and one at the annual MyOcean conference which was held in Athens in March.

  • In the frame of development of data products for sea-basins, EMODnet Chemistry regional leaders have conducted unit conversions and standardization of parameters of new and historical data. This has led to the selection of a set of parameters considered most representative for nutrients, which will be used to create map products. Quality control of the data is performed as part of the process and interpolated maps are generated with DIVA software. In terms of quantitative progress, the total number of CDI’s for chemistry datasets in European waters continues to increase with a total of 581300 at the end of April. Of these, 477404 are unrestricted with SeaDataNet license, while the others are restricted and may require some form of negotiation with the dataholders. At the organization level, EMODnet chemistry went through a series of changes with the appointment of new task leaders and partner contacts in the consortium. Not surprisingly, the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea has affected the contact with and activities of partners and subcontractors in the region. With research institutes being in transition, the situation will be carefully monitored and followed up according to the nature of the political situation. A joint meeting was held between SeaDataNet and Chemistry technical working groups in Barcelona (19-20 March 2014).

  • EMODnet Biology has made available 12 new datasets through its portal in the period March-April 2014, ranging from phytoplankton to cetacean data. The methodology for the creation of gridded abundance data products was tested and validated. Products have been created for several benthic species, and an invasive species, from the Baltic Sea. Much progress has been made to create a web interface for data of invasive species and trait data. The EMODnet Biology portal was also presented and demonstrated to more than 300 marine professionals and students at the VLIZ young marine scientist Day (7 March 2014, Bruges).

  • EMODnet Physics launched a new release of the physics website: which is a significant improvement. Congratulations! At the back-end, the MyOcean-EMODnet machine to machine interaction and user identification has been made fully operational. However, the development of a common user-ID between MyOcean and SeaDataNet is progressing slowly. This means that data access and download from the two networks is provided separately which has been highlighted as one of the key issues that needs to be resolved to improve user-friendliness of the service. Other achievement entails the set-up of an EMODnet-EuroGOOS HF Radar co-ordination group with the goal of supporting harmonization of High Frequency Surface Wave Radar (HFSWR) data. This is important because HFSWR, a cheap mature land-based technology for real time monitoring of coastal dynamics, is already adopted by many European countries but the current heterogeneity of the systems and resulting data hinder pan-European and global use of the outputs.

  • EMODnet Human activities launched its completely new website and portal ( on 4th of April 2014. Human activities is the only new lot added as part of EMODnet Phase II. The portal makes available following datasets: major ports (passenger traffic); hydrocarbon extraction; protected areas; fisheries zones. Collaboration with EMODnet Geology has been establish to help retrieve data on hydrocarbon extraction. A solution to address challenging but critical datasets (e.g. commercial shipping, recreational shipping, cultural heritage, mariculture, pipelines and cables, other forms of area management/designation) was agreed with DG MARE.

  • EMODnet Mediterranean sea-basin checkpoint released the first version of the MedSea Portal (April 3, 2014) available at Based on ISO quality principles, a method has been identified to classify the inputs and characteristics of data sets to be potentially used in the checkpoint challenges. Several reports (D2.1, D3.1, D4.1, D5.1, D6.1, D7.1, D8.1, D9.1) have been produced to document the classification of the data for each challenge and give indications for the literature survey. Report (D1.1) shows the overall methodology to classify the data.

Progress indicators and new reporting guidelines

For the second 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).

In March-April, thematic lot coordinators have continued to improve the set of selected metrics for each of the indicators, tailored to the respective portals’ set-up and types of data/products made available. Implementation of the progress indicators will remain a dynamic process with continuous refinement and adjustment over time.

Where available and meaningful, noteworthy information from the reported progress indicators have been included in the overview of achievements per thematic lot (see section above).

The aim is to provide a more elaborate progress indicator evaluation every 6 months, providing 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.

Recent meetings and events:

  • Several EMODnet coordinators and partners participated the EC Healthy Oceans Productive Ecosystems (HOPE) Conference in Brussels (3-4 March 2014) which included presentations from EMODnet Biology and Chemistry (for more information see
  • The EMODnet Secretariat presented EMODnet progress and future activities at the upcoming SEAS-ERA Final Conference (Spain, 8-9/04/2014). See for more information and registration.
  • The EMODnet Secretariat and EurOGOOS organised a joint workshop at the European Maritime Day 2014 (Bremen, 19-20/05/2014) with support from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Marine Board, focussing on key European efforts in the lifepath from marine observations and data up to information and knowledge. A short report and the presentations will be made available by the event organisers here:

Future EMODnet meetings and events:

EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting

The 2nd EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting will take place on 4 and 5 June 2014 (Italian Research Council, Rome). The meeting will address among others:

  • Progress update of the thematic and regional EMODnet lots with a focus on bottlenecks and opportunities for collaboration;
  • 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 FP7 JERICO project (Towards a joint European research infrastructure network for coastal observatories) organizes its 2ndsummer 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
  • EMODnet Secretariat is currently investigating how best to promote EMODnet at a number of high level events which will take place in the 2nd half of 2014, including the EurOCEAN 2015 Conference (7-9 October 2014, Rome), the 7th EuroGOOS Conference on Operational Oceanography for Sustainable Blue Growth (28-30 October 2014, Lisbon, Portugal) and the Mares Conference on Marine Ecosystems Health and Conservation (17-21 November 20414, Olhao, Portugal)

More information:

More detailed information can be found in the bi-monthly progress reports of each thematic lot (attached) and on the EMODnet thematic portals: