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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat progress update - May 2015

EMODnet progress update largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the months March-April 2016, supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

EMODnet progress overview

Main progress highlights

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats reports on the finalization of the methodology that will enable estimating confidence levels for seabed habitats maps after joint work and inputs from EMODnet Bathymetry and EMODnet Geology.

  • EMODnet Human Activities has further developed and implemented its communication strategy: new entries have been published in the portal’s blog attracting more visitors to newly collected data sets than ever before. The main results from the user survey (January 2016) are now also available in the Human Activities portal.

  • All EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints are progressing well with their tasks. Checkpoint webpages provide new updated information on services and products related to the different challenges. The literature survey reports, which is one of their key tasks, have already been completed or will be delivered in the next weeks.

  • Two significant events with strong contributions from the EMODnet community took place over the last few months: (i) Oceanology International (13-15 March 2016, London); and (ii) the European Geophysical Union (EGU) General Assembly(23–28 April 2016, Vienna). EMODnet thematic lots and EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints participated by giving talks, presenting posters hosting exhibition stands and conveying dedicatedsessions and splinter meetings.

Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots

  • EMODnet Bathymetry highlighted the progress on estimating the quality of DTMs in collaboration with the French hydrographic and oceanographic service (SHOM). This will in turn be used to assess the confidence levels for Seabed Habitats maps, which is highly dependent on bathymetry data. The final EMODnet Bathymetry meeting will take place on 23-24 May in Bucharest, Romania.

  • EMODnet Geology held a project meeting in Split, Croatia, on 22-23 March 2016, with more than 60 registered participants. Partners presented the current status of their tasks and identified the steps to be taken to complete their work by the end of the project (October 2016). For most Work Packages, partners have already delivered their products: it is thus expected that all final versions of the geological maps will be progressively published in the following months. The Split meeting facilitated the clarification of uncertainties or possible misunderstandings in the process of dataset harmonization. The attendants also discussed the redesigned data portal, which is based on GeoNetwork 3, to improve ease of use with less options and buttons that caused confusion in the previous version.

  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats has developed a comprehensive method to estimate confidence levels for their maps following close interactions with the EMODnet Bathymetry and Geology lots. This was necessary as Seabed Habitat map confidence levels are highly dependent on the reliability of the maps produced by these other thematic lots. Interesting feedback was received from users through a survey organised by JNCC addressing the use of Seabed Habitats Maps for MSFD and MPS purposes. EMODnet Seabed Habitats also highlighted the positive feedback received from French authorities and consultant companies which have been using EUNIS Seabed Habitat maps mostly for designation of French Marine Natural Parks.

  • The IPChem project and EMODnet Chemistry are interacting regularly to allow interoperability between both services. Progress was made on the update and validation of products’ entries to be included in the Sextant catalogue. Likewise, new datasets were harvested and analysed and new maps were generated following the previous collection.

  • EMODnet Biology developed a new data download tool which was made available on the Biology portal in April 2016. It allows users to select datasets according to predefined features such as the region or the time span, as well as to establish taxonomic and functional filters. Users can also select data with a certain quality and precision. It is worth noting that the upgraded “Data download” section in the portal has been conceived to improve the experience of the user interested in raw data, whilst the “Data products” section is more focused on visualization and quick understanding of the data.

  • EMODnet Physics made available a range of new datasets and products, including FerryBox products and data from the Artic. They have also been active in dissemination activities, presenting their work at conferences such as the EGU General Assembly in Vienna and Oceanology International in London. The fruitful cooperation between EMODnet Physics and Mercator Ocean, implementing organisation of the Copernicus Marine Monitoring Service (CMEMS), has been formalised in a Memorandum of Understanding.

  • EMODnet Human Activities published updates on datasets for Fish Catches, Protected Areas, Mariculture and Undersea Cables. After setting up the EMODnet Human Activities news blog in WordPress earlier this year, three new entries have been published attracting more users to the portal than ever before. In line with these communication activities, on 11 January 2016 a questionnaire was sent to users to evaluate the portal. The responses were analysed and the main findings can be now found in the 15th Progress report of the Human Activities lot.

  • EMODnet Coastal Mapping made available 11 new datasets for visualization via its portal. A project meeting was organised in Rome (2-4 March 2016) to develop a ‘Coastal Mapping Planner’ which will provide indications about optimal survey techniques to obtain coastal mapping products based on the characteristics of the location to be surveyed. This meeting included a hands-on training session on data validation and delivery to the data warehouse. First conclusions of the responses received from three surveys (vertical datum; coastal mapping techniques; economic models and governance of data) are being processed and will be available shortly.

EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress

  • The work on addressing the use cases or challenges is advancing according to plan for all sea-basin checkpoint projects. The Arctic checkpoint experienced some difficulties obtaining access to certain types of data in relation to river discharges and fisheries. The Baltic checkpoint highlights the preparation of sample products for the Portal from certain challenge areas. Both the Arctic and the Baltic have finished their literature survey report and submitted it to DG MARE. The Atlantic checkpoint had previously reported a difficulty undertaking the MSP challenge, due to the withdrawal of one of the partners. This has been solved by hiring a new company who will take over this task. The Black Sea checkpoint has been primarily occupied with its literature survey report, due in May 2016. The Mediterranean and North Sea checkpoints have updated their webpages, including new data sources and targeted products as well as enhanced descriptions of the methodology used to address the different challenges. The Mediterranean checkpoint was particularly visible at the last EGU Assembly (see section “Recent events and meetings” for more details).

  • April was also the period for the preparation of the oil-spill challenge, which requires an immediate reaction from the relevant teams in each of the six checkpoints. The teams must assess the fate of simulated oil spills and the associated impacts on ecosystems, populations and economic activities. The simulation was launched in May and preliminary results are available on the Maritime Forum here:

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 March-April 2016.

  • Slight increase (207) in the number of CDIs for EMODNET Bathymetry datasets while the number of DTM downloads was almost the same as in the previous period (4118). Spain and United States are again the most active using the Web services to view and download data.

  • New increase in the number of maps downloaded from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal (583, 94 more than in the previous period) while the number of visitors remains stable (1127 compared to 1136). Visitors were mainly interested in the viewing and downloading pages and the majority indicated that they would use data for research purposes (47%).The most downloaded product corresponded again to the OSPAR threatened and/or declining habitat layer.

  • The EMODnet Chemistry portal made available 2053 new datasets received from Spain, Ukraine, Denmark, France, Latvia, Portugal and The Netherlands. The portal registered 21downloads (basket transactions) from 13 different users, amounting to a total number of 38997 CDIs requested from 32 different Data Centres. No changes in terms of popularity. Black Sea products were still the most demanded using WMS services.

  • Following a new release of the EMODnet Physics portal, platform pages are now presenting more data and data products for many variables, as well as providing access to historical validated data. The number of downloads for long term historical series has multiplied by four since last period, the vast majority of requests are coming from Ireland. Interestingly, EMODnet Physics is developing innovative monitoring tools available in their Dashboard section to inform data providers about the use of their data. In this period, data downloads via web services has remained constant, whereas the use of the Map Page has increased from 353 to 1698 requests.

  • The number of downloads from the EMODnet Human Activities portal has remained stable (195), with dredging being the most popular map. In previous periods, most of the users identified themselves as pertaining to the Environment sector. However, in this period they were more evenly distributed across sectors, with Research (26%), Environment (24%) and Fisheries and agriculture (20%), and Education (14%) being the predominant ones.

  • As the Coastal Mapping project progresses, new datasets have been incorporated and made visible via the portal, currently providing visualization of 44 datasets (33 in the previous period). These datasets will eventually be downloadable too. As expected, the numbers of visits to the portal has increased since the last period, from 77 to 449 visits, predominantly from France and Italy.

Challenges to be addressed

Some challenges already mentioned in previous reports remain: for instance, finalizing a reliable method to estimate confidence for seabed habitats maps or estimating the costs of coastal bathymetric surveys. On another note, EMODnet Chemistry related a specific problem with Bottom Oxygen data, their availability and generation of maps. Some Checkpoints encountered difficulties to meet the deadline for delivering the Literature survey report and an extension was granted.

Recent meetings and events

  • EMODnet was visible at Oceanology international, one of the biggest conventions on ocean technology, which took place in London on 15-17 March 2016. Several EMODnet thematic lot coordinators as well as the Secretariat were present.

  • Linking with other EC initiatives, EMODnet participated in the 4th INSPIRE Marine Pilot Meeting hosted by DG ENV in Brussels, on 13th and 14th April 2016.

  • Another event of particular importance was the EGU Assembly which took place on 17-22 April in Vienna. Many members of EMODnet community participated actively, in particular during a session on “Informatics in Oceanography and Ocean Science” on 20 April, with several presentations dealing with different aspects of EMODnet . A splinter meeting to promote the MedSea Checkpoint service was successfully held on the same day. Following the splinter meeting, a survey to gather opinions, suggestions and to monitor the effectiveness of the MedSea Checkpoint portal in addressing users’ needs was disseminated.

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events

  • EMODnet will be taking part in the European Maritime Day in Turku (Finland) on 18-19 May 2016 organised by DG MARE. There will be an EMODnet exhibition booth to present EMODnet to a wide range of stakeholders. In addition to the general EMODnet booth presented by the Secretariat, there will also be a specific booth presented by the EMODnet Human Activities lot.

  • The next EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting will take place on 21-22 June 2016 in Brussels.The agenda and associated documents are being prepared and will be circulated at the beginning of June. The main focus of the meeting will be on establishing the next steps in the development of the EMODnet Central Portal.

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