This update is largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the months March-April 2015 supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.
Current progress highlights:
EMODnet Biology successfully launched a major upgrade of its website (http://www.emodnet-biology.eu) with the addition of new functionalities that make it more user-friendly and intuitive.
Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots include:
EMODnet Bathymetry has progressed in compiling and generating updates of the EMODnet Digital Terrain Model (DTM), adding new data sets and addressing anomalies. GEBCO integrates the current EMODnet DTM in its latest GEBCO 2015 DTM and the latest version of GLOBE software (version 1.5.0, March 2015) includes GEBCO 2015. The number of CDI (Common Data Index) entries for bathymetric datasets in European waters available from EMODnet Bathymetry increased to 10194, 576 unrestricted. The total number (whole globe) has increased from 13265 to 13309, coming from 26 data centres in 17 countries. Furthermore, the EMODnet Bathymetry portal’s viewing and download service was updated with a new layer for Wrecks covering all European Seas. Finally, a new 3D animation of the new EMODnet DTM for the Tyrrhenian Sea has also been included, encouraging new visitors to explore the EMODnet Bathymetry services.
EMODnet Geology initiated tis work on the 1:1 million scale harmonization of information about seabed substrate in areas where the higher resolution 1:250000 data are not available. This will enable obtaining a complete map for European seas. The work of the portal benefited from the Project Meeting that took place in Madrid on 10-11 March 2015 with more than 60 attendees. To ensure a smooth and coherent delivery of contributions from partners, EMODnet Geology distributed Guidelines for the work on ‘coastal behavior’ and provided an updated version of the ‘Geological events and probabilities’ Guidelines in March 2015. Finally, the North Sea Check Point project provided important feedback regarding the type of geological data needed to assess the suitability of a seabed area for the installation of a wind farm which will be taken into account in future activities.
EMODnet Seabed Habitats collated biological data and other base layers such as seabed sediments or bathymetry without problems. However, some difficulties were encountered when collating physical data (currents and waves) due to its coarse resolution. Following the submission guidelines developed by Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the preparation of habitat maps from surveys has started. This is likely to be a time consuming process, as the point of departure for the Mediterranean and Black Sea are paper maps. Work on the Black Sea is ongoing taking into account the particularities of this basin which complicate the application of approaches followed in other regions. For this reason, the Black Sea broad-scale map will not be a EUNIS map for the time being but will be bases on an ad-hoc list of physical habitat classes agreed on within the project until the EUNIS classification has been rebuild and extended.
Activities at EMODnet Chemistry were very much focused on the development of new products such as interpolated maps with a ten year moving windows or the new Web Processing Services, as well as the synchronization with Ocean Browser products viewing service. The implementation of the prototype for cloud hosting with Cineca and tuning of the viewing services is in progress Regular videoconferences were held in order to check the progress for products generation and the development of viewing services. The EMODnet Chemistry portal was presented to different stakeholders including government representatives in Ukraine and Russia.
The most important news for EMODnet Biology is the launch of its new website http://www.emodnet-biology.eu/ with the addition of 6 new datasets which are now available through the portal. Great efforts have been undertaken to improve the user-friendliness of the portal including a redesigned home menu with new functionalities, which enables an easier access to specific products and tools. Concerning data archaeology work, the four data rescue grants awarded in the previous period have already started. In addition to this, a couple of workshops on data mining tools and species traits will take place in Crete, Greece, between 8-11 June 2015.
EMODnet Physics has made considerable progress in the last months. First it has added very important new datasets to the portal from a source not yet included in EMODnet: High Frequency Radar (HFR) data are now available and can be visualised using an improved interface following the “one click away from user” principle. Secondly, the addition of wind rose plots to the platforms providing wind data is yet another eye-catching improvement. Thirdly, the fixed platform network was improved by the integration of 11 new operational Icelandic sites and Cyprus Paphos operational data was also fully integrated and made available. Finally, EMODnet Physics had contributed to the visibility of EMODnet with participation in various events, including notably the last European Geophysical Union meeting (EGU2015) in Vienna with two oral presentations.
EMODnet Human Activities received feedback from OSPAR who suggested a series of improvements which are now being implemented. Amongst them, the updating of the metadata in order to improve the explanation of the processing history and the overall quality of spatial datasets. There has also been significant progress in achieving data from hydrocarbon licensing, and a new data set will be soon available. The increase in the volume of data made available through the portal concerns two activities: waste disposal (15 new points and 558 new polygons) and hydrocarbon extraction (740 new points).
EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress:
The first MedSea checkpoint expert panel meeting was held in Brussels, on the 8-9 April 2015. Inputs from the experts were acknowledged in the revised version of the Data Adequacy Report and sent back to them for their comments. The “Checkpoint Dashboard” was consolidated and used to compute checkpoint indicators and the web site English text was reviewed.
Likewise, an experts panel meeting for the North Sea check point was organized in Wallingford on 5 May 2015. The draft reports included valuable recommendations for the EMODnet thematic nodes but the experts pointed to some matters which required further clarification. Input from experts are to be addressed in updates and final reports.
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.
The EMODnet Central Portal attracted on average 2400 unique visitors per month, with most of the visits coming from Great Britain and the Netherlands. The job description for the Project Officer post at the EMODnet Secretariat was still the most popular document downloaded from the Central Portal both in March and April 2015 despite the deadline is well passed now. As in previous report periods, visits last generally less than 30 seconds, as most of the visitors probably simply use the central portal as an entrance gate to regional and thematic EMODnet portals. The data services webpage is by far the most accessed one (approximately one third of the total views).
With almost 2000 unique visitors per month visiting the main EMODnet Bathymetry website, this represents a new increase with respect to the former period. The Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) have been downloaded 4183 times in March-April 2015, with ESRI-ASCII being the most popular format. The DTM viewer was used by more than 4000 unique visitors per month, with more than 10000 hits. Requests came from 9 different organisations making it still the most popular EMODnet data product to date.
EMODnet Biology attracted around 1600 unique visitors per month to its web portal in March-April 2015. Users downloaded data about 169 times, mostly for research purposes including several requests for the ADRIPLAN DG MARE Project.
EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal received approximately 900 unique visitors during the period March-April 2015. Almost half of the downloaded data was used for research purposes, with EUNIS habitat maps from surveys being the most popular product.
The volume of data made available through the EMODnet Chemistry portal has decreased slightly (from 738577 to 735115 CDI) with approximately three quarters being unrestricted. About 16722 CDI were requested from 5 different users through 12 CDI transactions. More than half of the data downloads (17317 out of 30451) through the web map service corresponded to the Annual distribution of Alkalinity in the Black Sea for the period 1957-2011. Direct downloads or OPENDAP were just 25 in this period.
The visits to the EMODnet Physics portal decreased slightly with respect to the former period. However, in March 2015 the highest number of visits to the Map Page was recorded (893). The US and Portugal were the two countries requesting more datasets. There was also an outstanding number of requests of long-term time series from Indonesia (152 out of 323).
The EMODNET Human Activities portal has seen a significant increase of visitors with respect to the previous period, especially for the Home page. Most of the downloads of the portal were used for Research purposes (40%), followed by Environment (30%) and Fisheries and agriculture (12%). The most popular data product in the March –April 2015 period was Natura2000 (16 out of 89 downloads). The number of organisations downloading data has almost doubled.
Challenges to be addressed
EMODnet Bathymetry had to de-activate two layers in the Bathymetry Viewing and Downloading service following a complaint by the Embassy of Ukraine and consecutive request by EU DG MARE. As a consequence, geographic names and EEZ boundaries are no longer available, which has wider implications. EU is now looking into a solution using a dedicated geographic names service.
New efforts from EMODnet Human Activities to receive data from Bulgaria and Romania have been unsuccessful. Other countries such as Slovenia, Malta, Montenegro, Croatia and France have also been contacted and a response is yet to be obtained.
For EMODnet Seabed Habitats, physical data (waves and currents) there is still a long way to go for resolution to reach suitable values with regard to seabed habitat map even though there is constant progress from the various providers dealing with the Med and Black Sea,. Typically, to address a 250m broad-scale map, we would need physical data pixels in the range of 1km, a value only reached in the Adriatic and small parts of the North-Western basin. This is all the more critical for steep shores dominated with rocky seabed which are strongly dominant in these basins. As a consequence of the overallcoarse resolution of physical data, computing the seabed energy on rock will not be feasible except in the Adriatic (where waves and currents are roughly meeting the 1km resolution requirement). In no other place are data refined enough, except perhaps in some very specific places where zooms will be tested such as the Elba Island in Italy
Recent meetings and events:
The presence of EMODnet physical, bathymetry and geology projects in the last EGU meeting (12-17 April, Vienna) was very significant, with 5 posters and talks presented.
The EMODnet Mediterranean and North Sea Checkpoints organised their first Expert Panel Meetings on 8-9 April in Brussels (MedSea) and on 5 May in Wallingford (North Sea) respectively to discuss and finalise the first Data Adequacy Reports (DAR).
The work of the panels benefited from the participation in other internal and external meetings and through video conferences (with OSPAR, ISPRA), workshops, presentations to different types of stakeholders (i.e. OSPAR, local and regional authorities in Russia and Ukraine)
Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events:
EMODnet Secretariat will participate in the European Maritime Day 2015 (28-29 May 2015, Athens and Piraeus, Greece) https://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/maritimeday/.
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. It will be preceded by a workshop with representatives ofEMODnet and the INSPIRE directive (30 June 2015).
From 20-23 October 2014, EMODnet is organising an Open Conference (20/10/2015) and Partner Jamboree 21-22/10/2015) for stakeholders and partners from different thematic groups to meet each other, discover new insights and work together on common problems (https://maritime-forum.ec.europa.eu/node/3696).
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:
EMODnet bathymetry – www.emodnet-bathymetry.eu
EMODnet Geology - www.emodnet-geology.eu
EMODnet Seabed habitat s- www.emodnet-seabedhabitats.eu
EMODnet Chemistry - www.emodnet-chemistry.eu
EMODnet Biology - www.emodnet-biology.eu
EMODnet Physics - www.emodnet-physics.eu
EMODnet Human activities - www.emodnet-humanactivities.eu