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Maritime Forum

EMODnet Secretariat Progress update - November 2015

This update is largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the months September-October 2015 supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

Current progress highlights:

Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots include:

  • EMODnet Bathymetry released the latest version of its Digital Terrain Model (DTM), which incorporates the updated versions of the Regional DTMs received from Regional Coordinators and eliminates anomalies identified in the previous version. This EMODnet DTM was made available in the EMODnet Bathymetry portal on September 8th. This new DTM uses circa 7000 surveys data sets and composite DTMS from 31 data providers in 18 countries. This implies a significant improvement with respect to the previous release, dating back to February 2015.
  • This period has been particularly productive for EMODnet Geology, with the delivery of a considerable amount of new maps showing the distribution of geological events (earthquakes, submarine landslides, underwater volcanoes…). Updated maps of mineral occurrences have been produced as well. On the other hand, the compiling of information for the sea-bed substrate European map as continued. Now approximately 60% of the European sea floor has information that allows to make maps either at 1:250000 or 1:1 million scale.
  • EMODnet Seabed Habitats concentrated its efforts in modelling and assessing the confidence for the designation of habitats in the Baltic (work carried out by GEUS) and the Mediterranean and Black Sea (task developed by Ifremer). Important advances were achieved in collating biological data from Tunisia and Lybia. The computation of a based-on-temperature threshold for the transition between shallow and deep circalittoral zones in the Black Sea is worth highlighting. On another note, several joint meetings were held with other thematic lots on the occasion of the EMODnet Open Conference and Jamboree week (19-23 October).
  • This period was busy with several meetings between EMODnet Chemistry and Regional partners to monitor progress of regional products. A technical workshop with the Information Platform for Chemical Monitoring (IPChem) was also held. Developments for Cloud environment continued and the web statistic services were extended. The second annual report was corrected following the review provided by DG MARE.
  • EMODnet Biology has made available new (43) gridded products describing the abundance of different species including microorganisms, phytoplankton or zooplankton (which are part of ICES Operational Oceanographic Products and Services-OOPS). The dataset showing the evolution of zooplankton from 1898-1917 and 1966 onwards in the north-western Mediterranean Sea is now ready to be integrated in MedOBIS and EurOBIS. This dataset was digitized and quality controlled on the framework of WP4 (data archaeology and rescue). Three other datasets are still pending.
  • The portal of EMODnet Physics provides now access to mean sea level data, thanks to the collaboration with the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMLS). The user can also obtain sea level trends for platforms with at least 30 years of data. During this period, there has been important feedback received from users and providers. Great interest is shown for wave and HF radar data and there is an increasing expectation around underwater noise data. Data providers are particularly interested in the Key Performance Indicators provided on the Physics portal dashboard.
  • New datasets and metadata were added to the EMODnet Human Activities portal, namely offshore installations, state of bathing waters and lighthouses. In addition to this, improvements in previous databases, such as ocean energy, aggregates, wind farms and dredging, were achieved. Considerable progress was made after the internal meeting that the group held in Oostende, establishing a work programme for the third year.
  • EMODnet Coastal Mapping first objective is to put in place a website by December and many of the efforts during this period were devoted to that. Furthermore, work to develop an algorithm to assist with coast survey planning was initiated. This was done by designing a questionnaire which will be distributed amongst the project partners and other relevant stakeholders I order to get feedback about their experience in the field.

In addition to this, most of the thematic lots produced their annual reports and submitted them to DG MARE, who evaluated those reports, provided feedback to the coordinators and requested some modifications which were incorporated by the coordinators in their final versions.

EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress:

The North Sea checkpoint hosted the kick-off meeting for the new checkpoint projects at HR Wallingford, (2-4 September 2015), where current methods and results of the existing checkpoints were presented for information. The report of the meeting is available at the Maritime Forum. The North Sea checkpoint also submitted the Data Adequacy Review Synopsis 3 and Interim Report to DG MARE at the end of October and is currently about to put its portal online.

Following the Mediterranean and the North Sea sea-basin checkpoints, four more projects were awarded in June-August 2015 for the Artic, Atlantic, Baltic and Black Sea basins. All projects presented their first bi-monthly reports giving account of the onset of their activities, with a considerable amount of preparatory meetings going on. Their work clearly benefited from the common kick-off meeting held at HR Wallingford, which gave them the opportunity to learn about each other experiences and perspectives. In addition to that, the Baltic and the Black Sea have already put their portals online: and

EMODnet data portals usage

Thematic portals regularly report their user statistics as part of the EMODnet progress indicators which allows to track interest and areas for improvement. The below summary covers the two month period September-October 2015.

  • EMODnet Bathymetry registered a new increase in the number of DTMs downloads with respect to the previous period (from 2856 to 4328). The viewing and downloading web services are very popular with users amounting to 16000. More than one third of the visitors come from the US.
  • A total of 573 maps were downloaded from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal between 7 September and 2 November 2015. The number of visitors was similar (almost 900) than the previous period. Almost half of the users reported research purposes for their queries.
  • New increase in the volume of data made available through the EMODnet Chemistry portal (777290 CDI compared to 764022, with approximately 75% of the data having unrestricted access). 10 basket transactions were recorded from 7 different users downloading 33400 CDIs.
    Once again, the most downloaded product through the web map service corresponded to the Black Sea. Direct downloads or OPENDAP were mainly focused on the North Sea (Autumn (September-November) - 10-years running averages->DIVA 4D analysis of Water body ammonium).
  • EMODnet Biology attracted between 1160-1501 unique visitors to its web portal in September-October 2015 respectively. Users performed a total of 195 downloads, most of them showing mainly scientific purposes for their downloads.
  • EMODnet Physics portal provides a dashboard service ( with detailed information about the platforms, availability of data and its usage. The number of downloads varies considerably from one period to the other (it halved), even though Italy keeps on being the country where most of the requests come from (2585 out of 6212).
  • The home page of EMODnet Human Activities was less visited during this period even though the number of downloads increased significantly (from 80 to 115). In terms of purpose, research and environment were once more the most often requested categories.

Challenges to be addressed

  • The integration of the Regional DTMs into one unified EMODnet DTM continues to be a challenge as new updates are prepared by EMODnet Bathymetry. This has been reported in detail in their 2nd annual Progress Report. The new project Coastal Mapping is now facing the challenge of opening the portal by the end of 2015, with some technical discussions going on around the choice of the projection for the portal, as the INSPIRE directive provides little guidance in this respect.
  • Some other challenges were identified and discussed during the EMODnet Open Conference and the following Jamboree, from the most high-level general aspects up to very specific ones. These will be detailed in the Conference proceedings and specific meeting minutes.

Recent meetings and events:

  • Joint sea-basin checkpoint meeting in Wallingford, UK, 2-4 September 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to kick off the four new checkpoint projects, feeding into them the early conclusions of the two active checkpoint projects with respect to general approach, certain technical details and reporting / communication style. More information can be found in the meeting minutes here:
  • The EMODnet Open Conference was held on the 20/10/2015 at De Grote Post, in Oostende. It consisted of high-level presentations, interventions from stakeholders and experts, brain-storming sessions and plenary discussions to stress the importance of marine observations and data for a wide range of users and to illustrate how EMODnet can and must contribute to economic recovery, job creation and blue-green growth. More information (proceedings, photos, videos and presentations) are progressively being made available in the Conference web page (

In addition to the EMODnet Open Conference, thematic groups gathered the opportunity to organize their annual meetings at the InnovOcean Site (the so called Jamboree), also in Oostende, from the 19th to the 23th October. They took stock of the progress achieved for their different Work Packages and planned their activities for the next phase. There was also room for interaction and several cross-thematic joint meetings were held.

As a whole, both the Open Conference and the Jamboree turned out to be a great success as it provided room for working together on shared problems, fostering collaboration amongst partners and helping to create an EMODnet team spirit and a common understanding on future challenges and how to address them. (see also

  • EMODnet Secretariat participated in the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service Workshop Service Evolution and User Uptake held in Brussels, September 7-8, 2015. It also attended the ICES Annual Science Conference (21–25 September 2015, Copenhagen) and the Euromarine Foresight Symposium "Future Coast – Europe" (5–7 October 2015, Berlin).

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events:

A very tight agenda is being prepared for the second week of December in Brussels, with a number of joint meetings preceding the 5th Steering Committee meeting to be held in 9-10 December. More in particular, there will be a technical INSPIRE-EMODnet meeting on the 7-8th December and a MSFD 3rd EMODnet-MSFD Coordination Meeting (8-9 December 2015).

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: