Minutes of the 3rd EMODnet Steering Committee meeting
Date: from 14:00 on Tuesday 9 December until 13:00 on Wednesday 10 December 2014
Location: Borschette Building, Rue Froissart 36, Brussels
List of Actions:
Thematic lots & Secretariat
Thematic lots & Secretariat
Secretariat & DGMARE
Chemistry & Bathymetry
MedSea, Biology & Secretariat
EMODnet Seabed Habitats
EMODnet Human Activities
Secretariat with Thematic lots
next Steering Committee Meeting
Secretariat with Steering Committee
Thematic lots, Secretariat, Central Portal
next Steering Committee meeting
Central portal, Technical Working Group
Central Portal, Technical Working Group
before next Steering Committee
DG MARE, Secretariat, sea-basin checkpoints
next Steering Committee meeting
All Steering Committee members
next Steering Committee
EMODnet Biology and Seabed Habitats
next Steering Committee
next Steering Committee meeting
EMODnet thematic lots
next Steering Committee Meeting
Lovell Johns (Human Activities)
DG Mare (2nd Day )
DG ENV (2nd Day)
Cogea (Human Activities)
HR Wallingford (North Sea Checkpoint)
INGV Bologna (Med Sea Checkpoint)
Cogea (Human Activities)
Ifremer (Seabed habitats)
INGV Bologna (Med Sea Checkpoint)
Francisco Souza Dias
VLIZ (Central portal)
Apologies: Dick Schaap
Draft Meeting Minutes
9th December 2014 - Day 1
Agenda item 1: Welcome and adoption of agenda
Meeting Chair Phil Weaver opened the meeting welcoming new participants to the Steering Committee: Luigi Falco (Cogea), Antonio Guarnieri (INGV Bologna) and Gerrit Hendriksen (Deltares) from EMODnet Human Activities, EMODnet Mediterranean and EMODnet Chemistry respectively.
Agenda item 2: Status and update of actions from previous meeting & short EMODnet progress update
Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat) provided a status update of the Actions agreed at the previous meeting (Action list circulated at the meeting) indicating that most of the Actions are completed. Items listed below are uncompleted Actions not subject of other Meeting Agenda items:
2nd SC Action 10. Provide user documentation (written document and if possible also video tutorials) outlining the process from searching for data to citing it in publications. As most thematic lots have updated their websites and services since the start of the current phase, it is recommend that all consortia review their user guidance documentation to ensure that it corresponds to deliverables and services currently made available.
2nd SC Action 16. Integrate a document management system into the Central EMODnet Portal. The document exchange system has been developed by the VLIZ IT team and is undergoing final testing by the Secretariat. The Secretariat will provide information to the thematic lots as soon as it is available on the Central Portal.
2nd SC Action 17. Organize a meeting with Copernicus/MyOcean to discuss the single sign-on. The European Commission and Mercator Ocean, the French centre for analysis and forecasting of the global ocean, have signed an Agreement to implement and manage the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (for more information see http://www.mercator-ocean.fr/eng/Presse/Press-release-11-November-2014). The single sign-on will be further discussed with representatives from the Commission and Copernicus in February 2015.
2nd SC Action 18. Provide factsheets for DGMARE on the main types of data restrictions (statistics, specific conditions and reasons for restrictions) for the CDI’s currently held by EMODnet Bathymetry and Chemistry. Factsheets have not been provided so the action is incomplete. The Steering Committee recommends to publish this information translating the data policy in understandable language using the creative commons licensing terminology/system. The creative commons licensing system provides 6 different licenses which are well described and increasingly used to support and steward legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation (for more information see http://creativecommons.org).
2nd SC Action 24. Liaise with CISE project with regards to their requirements. Initial discussion have been held. Antonio Guarnieri who is involved in a EC project called EUCISE offered to keep the Steering Committee informed about progress and suggested for EMODnet to attend the kick off meeting in Rome in January 2015.
Thematic lots to review their user documentation (outlining the process from searching for data to citing it in publications) and Secretariat to review documents (Thematic Lots & Secretariat, 30/04/2015).
Review and update information about QA/QC procedure for EMODnet deliverables. To be provided to the Secretariat and made available online (Thematic Lots & Secretariat30/04/2015).
Thematic lots to be provided with details of the integrated document management system embedded into the Central EMODnet Portal (Secretariat, 31/01/2015)
Organize an introductory meeting with EMODnet & MyOcean (Mercator) (Secretariat & DG Mare, 31/03/2015)
Provide factsheets for DGMARE on the main types of data restrictions (statistics, specific conditions and rationale) for the CDI’s currently held by EMODnet Bathymetry and Chemistry. Copies to be provided to the Secretariat. (EMODnet Chemistry and Bathymetry 31/03/2015)
Maintain links with CISE actors to investigate opportunities for EMODnet to satisfy specific data needs. Antonio Guarnierito provide updates at 4th Steering Committee meeting (Secretariat, VLIZ and EMODnet Mediterranean, 31/03/2015)
Agenda item 3: Targeted improvement of thematic and Central Portal to enhance harmonisation, user friendliness and usefulness
The Secretariat provided an update on the EMODnet user evaluations conducted for each thematic lot. Since the last Steering Committee meeting, EMODnet Bathymetry, Chemistry and Seabed Habitats user evaluation reports have been completed. Both Bathymetry and Chemistry have provided written feedback while Seabed Habitats only just received its report and is currently analysing the recommendations before providing feedback. EMODnet Geology and Human Activities user evaluations have yet to be completed. Geology has been in the process of launching a new service which will be accessible from the Central portal in the next few days. The Secretariat took part in a review of the service during the development phase. Human Activities, as a new thematic lot, will hold a user conference call in January to collate feedback and requirements which will make a separate user-evaluation of little added value. Secretariat proposes to review the implementation of the user evaluation reports in the coming year.
Post Meeting note: the new EMODnet Geology portal was launched mid-December 2015
Common trends identified from the thematic lots evaluations were presented in Meeting Document 1 together with a set of actions to further harmonise the thematic websites/portals.
The Secretariat presented a template and core elements to further standardize the summary information pages for the thematic lots as part of the Central portal using the EMODnet Bathymetry summary page to illustrate the proposed layout and level of detail required.
Questions and Comments
Feedback on the changes requested in Meeting Document 1 mainly focused on item 2.2 (navigation route to the Central Portal). The proposed solution to use the EMODnet logo to direct users to the Central Portal was considered potentially confusing. Several alternative suggestions were proposed, ranging from adding a text link into the top navigation menu or adding a standardized Central Portal icon to the top navigation menu. No consensus was reached on the best way forward.
A common EMODnet citation and disclaimer would need to be in line with the INSPIRE Directive. It was proposed to adapt the proposal by removing ‘citation’ and re-labelling it as a reference statement also including ‘consortium’ to reference the partners.
With regards to the Central Portal summary information template, it was agreed to remove the budget information (right info-panel) because it is not considered relevant for users. It was requested whether the set of available parameters listed in the summary box could be directly linked to the data. This is not possible due to the current services setup but will be a long-term aim. On the short term, the Secretariat will add an icon directing users to the search and discovery service of the thematic portals where the parameters can be found. It was agreed to provide an overview of machine-to-machine services availability on the summary information page.
Seabed Habitats lot to provide written feedback to the user evaluation (EMODnet Seabed Habitats 31/01/2015)
Human Activities to liaise with the Secretariat to set agenda for the conference call in January (Human Activities, ASAP).
Review and follow up user evaluation report implementation with thematic lots (Secretariat with Thematic lots, commencing 01/04/2015)
Reconsider options to navigate from thematic websites/portals to the Central Portal (Secretariat with Steering Committee, next Steering Committee Meeting)
EMODnet reference statement and disclaimer to be updated and re-circulated for approval before implementation (Secretariat 30/06/2015)
Revise thematic lot summary pages removing budget, adding navigation-buttons to services and indicating machine to machine services (Secretariat, 31/01/2015)
All thematic lot summary information pages to be update on the Central Portal (Thematic lots, Secretariat, Central Portal, 31/01/2015)
Agenda item 4 & 5: Central portal use case I & feedback from technical working group
VLIZ presented an overview of the current progress in the delivery of the first ‘use case’ to develop added-value functionality for the EMODnet Central Portal (See presentation). A first version of the Central Portal Query Tool was released in October 2014 and is accessible from the Central Portal navigation menu. The tool provides users with the possibility to query and obtain combined output (a table) with values for selected parameters from different data products for a specific window in time and space. Current functionality does not allow users to define their own geographical boundary box; the input is guided by selection of pre-existing filters or entering specific sets of coordinates. More importantly, implementation of the case studies has revealed major shortcomings in the current inter-operability between the thematic lots. Though all services except for Bathymetry (using REST services) the OGC compliance (rating system) is not sufficient to allow further development of the functionality. Therefore VLIZ will continue to work with the Technical Working Group to further refine the technical standards needed and summarize the information in a guidance document.
Statistics for the Central Portal reveal increasing numbers of users, in particular due to the launch of the Query Tool; the EMODnet leaflet is currently the most downloaded product. Options to provide summary information about the EMODnet Checkpoints were presented including the possibility to offer microsites for regional nodes embedded in the Central Portal.
Questions and Comments
Questions were raised with regards to the further development steps of the Query Tool and the need for a login. VLIZ stated that the reason for the login is to limit the upload and storage of queries for the end user as well as to collect basic information about usage of the tool. Future services which could be developed as part of the Query Tool include the addition of a viewer functionality, additional filters for multi-dimensional data. VLIZ has outlined that in the intermediate term, KML functionality would be implemented as a way to visualise the information using google maps.
EMODnet Central Portal design document to be updated to reflect the addition of the Query Tool and the proposed technical guidance specification for machine–to-machine services as a standalone annex. (VLIZ, 31/03/2015)
All thematic lots who have not done so, provide feedback on the operation of the Query Tool (thematic lots, 31/01/2015)
Simplify and streamline the text and presentation of the Query Tool on the Central Portal (VLIZ, 31/01/2015)
Technical Working Group to define the guidelines for OGC web service (content and structure) to be implemented by the thematic lots and provide a status update at next Steering Committee meeting(Central portal, technical working group, next Steering Committee meeting)
Central Portal and Technical Working Group to provide a timeframe and overview of priorities to be addressed in 2015 including improvements to the Query Tool, implementation of other use cases as well as other technical issues which require attention (Central Portal, Technical Working Group 27/02/2015)
Harmonize the titles of thematic websites/portals (google search functionality) (Thematic lots, 31/03/2015)
Organise meeting/conference call to share lessons learned between existing EMODnet Checkpoints and new consortia as soon as all new checkpoints are launched (DG MARE, Secretariat, sea basin checkpoints, before next Steering Committee)
Agenda item 6: EMODnet in the evolving marine data and observation waterscape
The Secretariat provided an overview of some of the major initiatives, projects and developments with relevance to EMODnet and the wider marine data landscape in Europe (Meeting Document 4).
The concept of a European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) received considerable attention at the recent EurOCEAN2014 Conference. While there is no clear Governance agreed for EOOS, the concept will be developed further among other by regional projects (notably AtlantOS – see https://www.atlantos-h2020.eu/) and strategic activities, including a workshop organised the European Marine Board and EuroGOOS to be held in January/February 2015.
Regarding the INSPIRE Directive (establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community), Keiran Millard informed the Steering Committee about the launch of the INSPIRE Thematic Clusters collaboration platform (https://themes.jrc.ec.europa.eu/). The platform evolved from the INSPIRE Forum and serves as an entry point for INSPIRE data providers, implementers and users to share experiences, best practices, raise questions and resolve issues in their thematic domains. It is organized in 9 clusters of data themes that are closely related. One cluster deals with marine & atmospheric issues.
A few new projects that will be funded under Horizon 2020 from 2015 onwards have relevance for EMODnet. Mainly BG8-AtlantOS on building an Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System, BG11- Columbus on transferring marine & maritime knowledge for sustainable blue growth and two BG-13 projects on Ocean Literacy. Partners involved in EMODnet and these project are invited to share insights and information with the Steering Committee where relevant and appropriate, forging synergies where opportunities exist.
Provide an update on INSPIRE directive forum cluster on marine and atmospheric issues at the next Steering Committee meeting (Kieran Millard, next Steering Committee meeting)
Provide feedback to the Secretariat on Meeting Document 4 illustrating EMODnet in the wider marine data landscape in Europe (All SC, 31/03/2015).
10th December 2014 - Day 2
Agenda item 7: Progress reporting and indicators/metrics: further simplification and harmonization
Secretariat presented the changes made to the progress indicators after an evaluation of the submission received over the last year as outlined in Meeting Document 6. Main changes relate to indicators 8, 9 & 10, which so far have been difficult to implement. It was agreed where possible to use proxies (e.g. the Query Tool to assess interest in retrieving data from more than one thematic portal; monitoring plan) to be able to provide an indication of work progress and remove one obsolete indicator on MSFD interactions as this will be dealt with directly by the Secretariat.
It was also agreed to postpone the first deadlines for the bi-monthly reports in 2015 to mid-January and mid-March. The Secretariat also proposed to reduce the bi-monthly reporting to 3mths interval in EMODnet Phase III (from 2016 onwards), which was considered a good compromise between the need for regular progress updates and considerable reporting pressure by all Steering Committee members.
Agenda item 8: Update on North Sea Checkpoint peer-to-peer data signposting functionality & Discussion on the remit, nature and positioning of the EMODnet checkpoints
Nadia Pinardi clarified the vision of EMODnet Mediterranean with regards to the remit, nature and positioning of the EMODnet Checkpoints based on a number of fundamental questions from the Secretariat. At the core, the Checkpoints have a function to monitor and assess the availability and adequacy of data as well as the ‘fitness for purpose’ of existing services for dedicated users. Data products will only be developed to illustrate what can be done and reveal limitations. The need to develop new challenges and approaches over the long term for checkpoints to remain dynamic was highlighted.
Keiran Millard presented the status of the Data Advisory System for the North Sea Checkpoint and demonstrated the prototype (see presentation + screenshots). While initially the tool will show rating/information based on the results of the North Sea Checkpoints data evaluation exercise, the long-term aim is that the tool will become user driven.
Questions and Comments
It was recognised that the Checkpoint Challenges address how to combine data and products and ultimately serve to inform Member States as well as the thematic portals about gaps, duplications and opportunities. This all requires development of adequate feedback loops.
Keiran Millard highlighted the difference in approach between the North Sea and Mediterranean Checkpoints. The North Sea Checkpoint is composed of a small number of consultant organisations and positions itself as an ‘outsider’ or ‘independent’ user avoiding close contact with thematic portals to give a realistic account of what a real user would encounter. Because of the larger and more institutional network of the Mediterranean Checkpoint, it has stronger ties with thematic portals and data repositories (e.g. some overlapping partners), which facilitates access to data and services. This may allow them to dedicate more time to assess in more detail the actual value of what is available but may result in a less ‘realistic’ account of how easy it is to find the data for external users. Both checkpoints agreed that in some cases it might be impossible to obtain or develop anything useful for a particular challenge, which would in itself be a relevant outcome.
EMODnet Secretariat to revise and circulate the discussion document on the remit of EMODnet sea-basin Checkpoints (Secretariat, 27/02/2015)
Checkpoints to provide specific feedback relevant for EMODnet thematic portals when they have completed their challenges by giving presentations at the Steering Committee meeting and by including a specific section in their adequacy reports. (Checkpoints, when available)
Agenda item 9: Updates from the thematic lots on specific issues of concern - all
Linking between habitats and species: is the management of habitat samples ideally within the habitats realm or better with the Biology lot?
Jacques Populus clarified that so far there is little overlap/connection between EMODnet Biology and EMODnet Habitats. EMODnet Biology mainly provides records of species found at a given point in time and space while EMODnet Seabed Habitats develops habitats maps, which are based on various parameters. A group of species may describe a habitat but only rarely one single species is a direct indicator of a specific habitat. The main challenge is to improve connections between occurrence of species and habitat distributions. The abundance maps created by EMODnet Biology may be of relevance but it will require further work between experts from both lots to develop it further. According to Simon Claus, the Ocean Biographic Information System (OBIS) uses a specific set of parameters that could be extended, for example to include sediment types or even habitats. According to David Connor, analysis of benthic communities may be translated into habitat type, but this would require use of a matching programme with more biological databases then OBIS alone.
Investigate options to strengthen the connection between species data and products made available by EMODnet Biology and development of habitat maps by EMODnet Seabed Habitats (EMODnet Biology and Seabed Habitats, next Steering Committee)
Engage with IODE to discuss extension of OBIS parameters and report back to the Steering Committee about the outcome (EMODnet Biology, next Steering Committee)
Development of useful EMODnet Chemistry products - AG
Alessandra Giorgetti presented the development of two new types of products (horizontal maps & dynamic maps) by EMODnet Chemistry (see Giorgetti.pdf). The products are currently under development but should be ready by the end of January 2015 for evaluation by experts. For the dynamic maps the DIVA tool is used with a 10 year moving window to smooth out natural variability.
Consider ways to involve experts and regional sea conventions with the evaluation of the new EMODnet Chemistry products (Secretariat, 31/01/2015)
Status of physical oceanographic data within and outside EMODnet (MyOcean, EMODnet, GOOS etc.) and progress towards a Single Sign-on
Antonio Novellino presented an overview with an assessment of physical oceanographic data within and outside EMODnet (see ANovellino.pdf). He highlighted that there is a need to expand beyond the ‘traditional’ partners of ROOS, MyOcean, SeaDataNet and NODC’s to explore new interesting datasets and platforms such as the HF radar community. While the near-real-time (nrt) component is very close to being up to date, there is a need to focus on historical validated data to close the gap with near-real-time data.
Regarding the single sign-on, the main focus should be to develop a marineID to be accepted by both SeaDataNet and MyOcean to overcome differences in the underlying authentication systems. This is currently being tested by IFREMER in France aiming for implementation by summer 2015.
Invite all thematic lots to provide an overview of relevant data that sit within and outside EMODnet for each theme and indicate strategies to ingest more data into the system (EMODnet thematic lots, next Steering Committee meeting)
Update on activities of EMODnet projects with regard to MSFD, Regional seas, INSPIRE and other key initiatives
Secretariat to engage with MSFD stakeholders with a structured plan for further follow up (Secretariat, 27/02/2015)
Harmonisation of various inputs into a useful EMODnet bathymetry DTM product
EMODnet Bathymetry is struggling with complications in the development of its Digital Terrain Models (DTMs). Anomalies are noticeable as significant steps in depth along some dataset boundaries – best seen when drawing a profile between different datasets used to compile the DTM. As a result, some modelers are reluctant to use the DTM. The problem is most acute at boundaries between swath data sets and GEBCO data.
Jacques Populus highlighted that any possible delay in EMODnet Bathymetry delivery of products will affect EMODnet Seabed Habitats.
Allow users to remove GEBCO data layer, verify stitching issues among other survey datasets and provide clearer indication of the limitations on the portal (EMODnet Bathymetry, 31/03/2015)
Relevance of assessing accuracy (intrinsic to data) and confidence (relative to user). How good are our maps ?
Jacques Populus presented on the difference between accuracy and confidence which is not a mathematical definition (see presentation). It was agreed to discuss this subject further at the next Steering Committee Meeting with perspectives from all thematic lots.
All thematic portals to provide insight on how they assess the quality of their products and how they consider accuracy and confidence (thematic lots, next Steering Committee Meeting)
Human Activities WFS services, new datasets and stakeholder interactions/event – AP
EMODnet Human Activities will organize a conference call with more than 20 stakeholders on 16th of January to provide general information and gain insights in key user needs. In the meantime the consortium is working with the Central Portal team on integration with the Query Tool. A range of new datasets will become available soon on hydrocarbon blocks licensing, fish catches (from Eurostat), submerged cables.
Agenda item 10: Joint EMODnet event 2015
Jan-Bart Calewaert outlined the proposal to organize a joint event bringing together all partners working on EMODnet. The only way to achieve this is to organize all the annual meetings in parallel and combine it with a series of plenary sessions and a public event.
Proposed dates are 19-23/10/2015. Two potential locations were put forward: Brussels and Ostend. Brussels has the advantage that it may attract more EC officers and is slightly easier to travel to for participants. Ostend has the great advantage that one of the EMODnet partners (VLIZ) is eager to provide its facilities and provide some logistic support.
Post-meeting note: The meeting will take place in Oostende in the week of 19 October 2015 with a public day on 20/10/2015.
Closing of the Meeting and next Steering Committee venue and date:
Upon invitation from the development team of the Atlas of the Sea, EMODnet was invited to organize the next Steering Committee meeting at JRC in Ispra (Italy). The meeting will take place in June (dates to be confirmed by email).