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EMODnet Secretariat progress update – September 2016

EMODnet progress update largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the EMODnet projects covering the months July and August 2016, supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

EMODnet progress overview

Regular EMODnet progress updates are usually based largely on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the two last months (in the present case, July-August 2016), supplemented with updates from the Secretariat. However, during summer 2016 most of the thematic lots reached the end of their current contracts. In addition, the summer period is generally less busy in terms of events, meetings because of the extended vacation period. For this reason, this progress report will focus mainly on the progress of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints.

Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots

Most of the thematic lots completed (or were about to complete) their current contracts during the reporting period and hence most effort was dedicated to preparing the final reports which are submitted for evaluation and approval by DG MARE/EASME. At the same time, we assume that many thematic lots were preparing and submitting proposals to respond to the EMODnet phase III call for tenders, due in August 2016. Nevertheless, some achievements were reported. For instance, EMODnet bathymetry highlighted some major progress integrating the new releases of regional DTM, in preparation of the new release of the overall EMODnet DTM, scheduled for October 2016. EMODnet Physics highlighted the importance of the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MERCATOR, which formalizes the already very fruitful collaboration between EMODnet and the Copernicus Marine Environmental Monitoring Service (CMEMS). The landing page menu of the Physics portal was also reorganized to accommodate comments received in response to the draft final report. EMODnetCoastal mapping was focused on prioritizing the remaining tasks to be undertaken to improve their portal as well as preparing reports towards the end of the contract (EU funding opportunities, vertical datum).

EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoint progress

Activities during summer period logically decreases, but the Sea-basin Checkpoints have nonetheless advanced their respective objectives. For instance, the Arctic Checkpoint reported on the development of its portal, which was updated to include improved challenges descriptions. The Atlantic Checkpoint reported on the compilation of 576 datasets and its transfer into the Sextant catalogue. The Sextant metadata catalogue has now certain functionalities that allow for a provision of objective and quantitative results about the fitness-for-use of data extracted from the existing monitoring systems. The Baltic Checkpoint highlighted the holding of their annual progress meeting in August in Copenhagen, which mostly focused on the drafting of their first Data Adequacy Report (DAR). The Black Sea Checkpoint also made progress in the transfer of metadata to the Sextant catalogue by challenge leaders.

In July-August, the first Adequacy Reports for the Arctic, the Baltic and the Black Sea were outlined (as these Checkpoints had to submit them in September-October). This implied discussions and remote conferences to agree on the reporting procedure and structure, as accounted for in the Checkpoint bi-monthly reports.

EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints: different approaches

The EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints approach is an innovative one. It implies adopting the user perspective to assess the marine monitoring systems currently in place for the different Sea-basins. More in particular, the Checkpoints have to evaluate the adequacy of existing sources of marine data by using them to solve a number of realistic “challenges”.

According to DG MARE’s tender specifications, the Sea-basin Checkpoints must “report on the adequacy of marine data in each sea basin”. But there is a certain flexibility in the way this is done and how the results are reported. As a result, each Checkpoint has undertaken the evaluation differently and this has an impact on the way the results are presented. For this reason, the Data Adequacy Reports of the different Sea-basin Checkpoints show that:

  • There is a slightly different understanding between the Checkpoints in terms of what “Data Adequacy” entails (what aspects it covers and thus must be evaluated);

  • When referring to data adequacy aspects, Checkpoints may use words differently to refer to similar concepts for the sake of clarity or simplicity;

  • Checkpoints have developed and implemented approaches which are more or less sophisticated to do the evaluation (more or less qualitative, more or less based in expertise, more or less based in other standards);

  • Some Checkpoints have developed a method that can be applied regardless of the challenge while others perform a more “ad hoc” evaluation which is more specific to each particular case;

  • Checkpoints may evaluate all aspects of Data Adequacy or just focus in certain ones which they consider more accessible;

  • Checkpoints can apply the apply their specific approach to all datasets or just select some of particular interest.

Even though there are undoubtedly points in common between the different approaches, and there is also an intention of harmonizing them as far as possible, comparing results obtained in each basin without taking the diverging approaches into account can be misleading. Increased efforts towards convergence of approaches are ongoing, building on the lessons learned in the pilot projects for the Mediterranean and North Sea Checkpoints.

Recent meetings and events

On Friday 8 of July, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, visited the EMODnet Secretariat Office at the InnovOcean site in Oostende (Belgium). He attended a formal signing ceremony with the Secretary General of the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government to mark the agreement with Flanders to support the further development of EMODnet. On 19 February 2014 following the second phase of EMODnet, the EMODnet Secretariat was formally established at the InnovOcean site in Ostend joining several other knowledge partners active in international marine research, science policy and data management such as VLIZ, the European Marine Board and the IODE Project Office of IOC / UNESCO.

Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events

  • 3rd Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference, 27 September, Dublin, Ireland
    The 3rd Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference will promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the Atlantic area. EMODnet are organizing a workshop “Open Data for Blue Growth in the Atlantic Area.” The workshop will consider progress, challenges and opportunities associated with current efforts to streamline the marine knowledge value chain: from observation and collection of marine and coastal data to information, products and services for intermediate and end-users.
  • SeaTech Week 10-14 October, Brest, France
    EMODnet will be represented at a workshop organised by EuroGOOS in the context of the H2020 project COLUMBUS. The workshop will consider the important role of SMEs as intermediary service providers using publicly available marine data resources to create new products and services for the maritime sector. COLUMBUS project partners PLOCAN, Smart Bay Ireland and Marine South East will also participate. Further information and registration is available here.
  • Committee of the Regions presents ‘Marine Data for the Blue Economy’ 13 October Brussels
    The importance of marine data in the development of the ‘blue’ economy at local and regional level will be discussed at a workshop organised by the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels on 13 October 2016. EMODnet will be present and will demonstrate forthcoming updates, including a new GIS based Map Viewer allowing visualisation of multi-thematic EMODnet data layers.

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