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Maritime Forum

Minutes of the 6th EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting

The EMODnet Steering Committee (EMODnet project coordinators, representatives from the European Commission DG MARE and the EMODnet Secretariat) regularly meets to discuss progress, improve coherence of various activities, increase collaboration and...

Date: from 08:30 on Tuesday 21 June until 15:30 on Wednesday 22 June 2016

Location: Philippe Le Bon building Room 2.16, Philippe Le Bon 3, Brussels

Meeting Chairs: Phil Weaver / Jan-Bart Calewaert (EMODnet Secretariat / Seascape)

Go to Meeting Agenda and Documents

List of Actions:




  1. Consider contacting all EMODnet partner organisations directly asking their support to promote EMODnet, in particular via their websites

December 2016


  1. Establish a multidisciplinary strategic forum to discuss the selection and development of future products, in particular cross-thematic products. As a first step, the forum should investigate lessons learned by the remote sensing community

February 2017

Secretariat with support from Coordinators

  1. Each portal should highlight at least one good use case example to promote the potential of EMODnet

February 2017


  1. All portals to provide a tab on the toolbar or direct link to clear instructions on how to contribute data

February 2017


  1. Consider options for a generic cross-EMODnet data policy (terms and conditions of use)

next EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting

Entire Steering Committee

  1. Thematic lots to liaise with VLIZ to select products to be visualised on the Central Portal and provide the necessary information for harvesting

Mid-September 2016


  1. Provide update on the development of the Query Tool

next Steering Committee meeting


  1. Provide information on the COPERNICUS software for interrogation of thematic data centres


Nadia Pinardi to VLIZ

  1. Organise next meeting of the Technical Working Group

before end of 2016


  1. Provide a list of relevant contacts dealing with specific EMODnet-MSFD interactions within each lot

December 2016

thematic lot coordinators

  1. Provide update on discussions at EMBRC in light of the Nagoya protocol

next Steering Committee meeting

EMODnet Biology

  1. Provide details of EMBRC event to EMODnet Biology who will provide a speaker to represent EMODnet



  1. Explore the possibility of including WMOS-GTS marine meteorological data in EMODnet Physics

Next Steering Committee Meeting

Antonio Novellino and Nadia Pinardi

  1. Develop Terms of Reference for Associated Partners, elaborate/implement the EMODnet Partnership Expansion Strategy and report at next Steering Committee Meeting

15/09/2016; 30/11/2016; and next Steering Committee Meeting


Participants: Thematic lots


Names (Institution)

Lot 1 – Bathymetry

  • Dick Schaap (MARIS)

Lot 2 – Geology

  • Alan Stevenson (BGS)

Lot 3 – Seabed Habitats

  • Jacques Populus (IFREMER)

Lot 4 – Chemistry

  • Alessandra Giorgetti (OGS)

Lot 5 – Biology

  • Simon Claus (VLIZ, coordinator Biology)
  • Francisco Souza Dias (VLIZ, coordinator Central Portal)

Lot 6 – Physics

  • Antonio Novellino (ETT, coordinator)
  • Patrick Gorringe (EuroGOOS)

Lot 7 – Human activities

  • Alessandro Pititto (COGEA, coordinator)
  • Anna Kesicka (COGEA)

Lot 8 – Coastal Mapping

  • Gäel Morvan (SHOM, coordinator)
  • Corine Lochet (SHOM)

Participants: Sea Basin Checkpoints


Names (Institution)

North Sea

  • Quillon Harpham (HR Wallingford)


  • Nadia Pinardi (INGV)

Baltic Sea

  • Jun She (DMI)

Black Sea

  • Atanas Palazov (Institute of Oceanology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)


  • Jacques Populus (IFREMER)


  • Eline van Onselen (ARCADIS)

Other Participants



Sissy Iona

HCMR, coordinator of the EMODnet Data Ingestion Facility

David Connor

European Commission DG Environment

Gunter Hoermandinger

European Commission DG Environment

Juan Carlos Fernández Gómez


Anja Detant


Greta Borg


Keiran Millard


Iain Shepherd

European Commission DG MARE

Jan-Bart Calewaert

EMODnet Secretariat

Belén Martín-Míguez

EMODnet Secretariat

Oonagh McMeel

EMODnet Secretariat

Phil Weaver

Chair of the Steering Committee

Apologies from Belinda Kater (Arctic Checkpoint)

Draft Minutes

Day 1 – Tuesday Wednesday 21 June 2016 – Morning 08:30 – 12:30

Agenda item 1: Welcome and adoption of agenda

Chair of the Steering Committee (SC) Phil Weaver welcomed the Steering Committee members. All thematic portals and Checkpoints were represented. The meeting agenda was adopted without adjustments.

Agenda item 2: Status update of actions from previous meeting and short EMODnet progress update

Jan-Bart Calewaert (Head of EMODnet Secretariat) updated the SC on the status of the actions agreed at the 5th SC meeting (minutes from this meeting are available here). Most actions had been addressed.

A short discussion followed on 5th SC Meeting Action 1: Develop a standard text which portal leaders can send to their partners encouraging them to display the EMODnet logo somewhere on their websites. It was agreed that there was no common way to do this for all portals. However, there is still a lack of visibility of EMODnet within partner organisations. Coordinators should promote the display of information and EMODnet logo somewhere on the website of all participating institutions. The issue of visibility was further discussed under agenda items 3 point d) and item 10 ‘communication and visibility.’

Action 1 - Consider contacting all EMODnet partner organisations directly asking their support to promote EMODnet, in particular via their websites (Secretariat, December 2016)

Agenda item 3: Updates and Follow-up from EMODnet Conference and Jamboree (October 2015)

The conference was generally considered to have been a great success. Very positive feedback was received from many participants. Having the conference alongside the partner meetings was very useful and helped contribute to the success of the conference. The conference also raised awareness of the importance of EMODnet amongst European Commission staff. A similar EMODnet Open Conference is likely to be organised in 2018 in Brussels.

Whilst the professional facilitators were useful in organising the breakout sessions, it was recommended for future events that EMODnet experts facilitating the sessions provide feedback to the plenary as they are more knowledgeable about the subjects.

Major issues raised during the breakout sessions were discussed as follows:

a) The need for an EMODnet help-desk

Requirements for a help-desk function for each portal have been included in the new EMODnet call for tenders. New contracts are expected to start and provide the service by early 2017.

b) Development of products

EMODnet products development was recognised as an important issues by the Steering Committee and was discussed at length. Feedback from participants regarding the development of new products for EMODnet varied. Some suggested that EMODnet should not be making products at all but should instead focusing primarily on making the underlying data available. Alternatively, development of products was highlighted as a key requirement of EMODnet because many users are only interested in products. At the same time, the development of products is not only important for users, but also helps to validate and quality control the underlying data. It can also point to important data gaps, as is done by the EMODnet Checkpoints.

Therefore, EMODnet actually does and should continue to do both: (i) provide access to quality controlled data; and (ii) develop and provide access to a selection of products.

The question remains which products to prioritise and whether it is possible to develop a common approach for all lots as the specificities of each discipline/portal influence product development. For example, in EMODnet Biology the focus is more on data than on products; making the data available allows users to make their own products. Whereas for EMODnet Bathymetry the users are more interested in the products, with 200 times more requests for products than for data. EMODnet Geology points to the data at national level but the value of EMODnet in this case is that it harmonises data from several countries. Users don’t access EMODnet Geology to obtain national data but to obtain the harmonised data products. However, there does need to be a continual flow of national data into Geology to keep products current. For EMODnet Seabed Habitats the underlying data appears less useful than the product. It would be extremely difficult to explain in the metadata the complex process involved in making the EMODnet seabed habitat maps.

For the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Member States require data to help them with reporting. Next reporting is in 2018 and it would be useful to have a dialogue with the actual users to have a common understanding of what EMODnet can offer to assist with reporting requirements.

In relation to whether or not EMODnet could formalise data-product development using a strategic approach to define the most useful data products, the following points were raised:

  • Different users require different things: some need raw data, others need products;

  • It is important to define what is meant by a product as the line can sometimes be thin. For example, in some cases quality controlled data is actually considered a product;

  • EMODnet should learn from the remote sensing community with regards to defining, categorising and prioritising product development;

  • EMODnet should prioritise the development of exemplary products, products with high demand, high societal relevance and serving multiple potential applications;

  • Product development helps to assess the quality and coverage of the underlying data;

  • EMODnet has to consider its position vis-á-vis SMEs developing data products and services;

  • There is limited awareness of the work of the EMODnet Checkpoints on product development. The Checkpoints are exemplary on multidisciplinary products;

  • Some EMODnet Checkpoint products could become the responsibility of the thematic portals, e.g. in relation to connectivity of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs);

  • Many EMODnet products currently available need to be better described with more context for users to search and assess usefulness;

  • There should be both a synthetic and elaborate catalogue of EMODnet products available via the EMODnet Central Portal and an option for users to make recommendations or provide feedback;

  • There is a need for better outreach in terms of promoting uptake of EMODnet products. EMODnet Secretariat is developing an e-news digest to highlight new features, data-sets and products which will be helpful in attracting attention to the product.

It was agreed that there is a need to establish some kind of an EMODnet discussion forum to consider options for a more systematic and strategic approach to the development of EMODnet products across portals. The Secretariat will investigate options.

c) Deciphering the very complex European marine data and information (sharing) landscape

EMODnet Secretariat and partners are constantly engaged by external initiatives and projects. For EMODnet to perform well, this requires a sound understanding of the landscape and priority interactions. Should EMODnet compile and make available an inventory of existing initiatives and data portals in Europe and beyond from local to global? Would this be useful? It was noted that many different initiatives are already developing inventories e.g. AtlantOS, EuroGOOS, AORAC. EMODnet should follow the development of these outputs, make use of them and consider how it can add value in terms of providing information to improve the understanding of interested stakeholders.

d) EMODnet visibility and promotion

There is a need for more easily understood messages focusing on the benefits of sharing data via EMODnet. EMODnet should demonstrate specific examples of use cases in order to better communicate its potential. Each portal should highlight at least one user case initially and build an inventory of success stories.

EMODnet should make use of the IODE education and capacity building programme to train users in accessing and using data portals. JCOMM, WMO and IOC have initiated a new activity to bring together all marine data centres from around the world. This could raise the visibility of EMODnet at the international level.

To be effective, visual presentation of the data portals should be attractive. There is a need for standardization in the way users browse and operate the various portals.

The new EMODnet ‘Partnership Composition and Strategy’ was discussed as a means of involving more stakeholders in EMODnet. This strategy introduces a new category of membership, ‘Associated Members,’ which would allow interested parties - who are not formal partners - to contribute to EMODnet. This was welcomed by SHOM, in relation to the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), who noted that maritime clusters are an important user group of EMODnet and would like to be kept informed about EMODnet products.

It was stressed that EMODnet should also focus on intermediaries. These represent various user types and so are less visible, e.g. marine tourism operators. EMODnet must now reach out and be present and visible in new fora, beyond the traditional marine observation and data management meetings, e.g. industry events, tourism events.

Action 2 - Establish a multidisciplinary strategic forum to discuss the selection and development of future products, in particular cross-thematic products. As a first step, the forum should investigate lessons learned by the remote sensing community (Secretariat with support from Coordinators, February 2017)

Action 3 - Each portal should highlight at least one good use case example to promote the potential of EMODnet. (Coordinators, February 2017)

Day 1 – Tuesday 21 June 2015 – Afternoon 14:00-18:00

Agenda item 4: Overall progress updates and harmonization between the various EMODnet portals and websites

  • Updates from DG MARE

There will be a meeting with Commissioner Vella and scientific institute heads on 8th July to discuss Ocean Observations.

Post-meeting note:

The Meeting between Commissioner Vella and CEO’s of major European marine scientific institutes took place on 7 July 2016 in Oostende. A short summary of the meeting can be found on the Maritime Forum here:

At this occasion, the Commissioner also visited the EMODnet Secretariat to sign the MoU between the European Commission and Flanders Government to host the EMODnet Secretariat and Central Portal in Oostende.

DG MARE is already considering EMODnet post-2020: one option is to merge with the Data Collection Framework (DCF) for Fisheries and the other is to keep them separate. It was noted that the Checkpoints would highlight the poor flow of data within the DCF. The flow into each country is not well structured and EMODnet could support the technical flow.

Terms of Reference for the new EMODnet User group were being drawn up. The group would meet twice per year and will include approximately 20 members to be comprised of (i) representatives from clusters or sectorial networks or associations of user organizations (e.g. oil and gas producers association); and (ii) selected reference users of sectors or communities which are less organized or do not have a formally recognized association or network.

  • Update from EASME

EASME highlighted the three new EMODnet calls for tender – as a result about 8 new contracts were expected to be signed before the end of 2016. EASME could not discuss or take questions on any of the issues regarding the new tenders. All questions must be submitted via the formal channels as indicated in the tender documents.

  • Updates from the Secretariat

Jan-Bart Calewaert drew attention to the harmonization guidelines document and discussed the degree to which the thematic portals could be further harmonized as well as how they should relate to the Central Portal. The Secretariat will use the transition phase between the end of the current tenders and the beginning of the next phase of tenders to work on a new style guide. The logo will not be changed, but there is a need to provide more elaborate guidelines building on the existing Styleguide, remove some of the discrepancies that have appeared over time and improve specific elements (e.g. banners, fonts, etc.).

The need to extract a minimum amount of user information, whilst still providing to the EC the necessary information on EMODnet users was highlighted. Currently, all portals are doing this differently. EMODnet Human Activities was provided as a good example of how this might be achieved.

The development of a generic cross-EMODnet data policy (terms and conditions of use) should be considered at the first EMODnet Steering Committee of 2017.

All portals should highlight the benefits of contributing data to EMODnet and provide information on how to do so, routing users to the new Data Ingestion Facility where appropriate. However in some cases there may still be a need for direct submission to the particular portal. Several portals (Biology, Seabed Habitats & Human Activities) have very clear instructions on ‘how to contribute data’. Such information should be accessible via a tab on the toolbar or clearly visible link on the homepage.

All portals to provide a tab on the toolbar or direct link to clear instructions on how to contribute data (Coordinators, February 2017)

Action 4 - Consider options for a generic cross-EMODnet data policy (terms and conditions of use) (All, next EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting)

Action 5 - Consider options for a generic cross-EMODnet data policy (terms and conditions of use) (All, next EMODnet Steering Committee Meeting)

Agenda item 5: Status and next steps for the EMODnet Central Portal

Jan-Bart Calewaert set the scene by considering the long-term vision of the Central Portal and the barriers to progress. Highlighting that the Central Portal is often the first port of call for potential users, it must be attractive to users, easy to use and provide users easy and direct access to the information they need.

Many users have requested that the Central Portal would include a map viewer as a landing page with the products catalogue as a high level menu. It should also have a ‘how to contribute data’ tab on the toolbar and direct users to the thematic portals and the Checkpoint webpages.

The question was raised as to whether there was a need for a website for each Checkpoint. There was a common understanding that the Checkpoints website should be more targeted at the user community whereas the EMODnet Central Portal website should be focused on raising the visibility of EMODnet providing high level information. Whilst the development of individual Checkpoints website was a condition of the tender, Jan-Bart Calewaert said the Secretariat would support the non-proliferation of websites, EMODnet currently had a Central Portal website, eight thematic portal websites and six Checkpoint websites. This creates confusion for users and difficulty in maintaining consistency of the EMODnet brand.

Francisco Souza-Dias introduced the progress of the Central Portal and achievements to date. One of the main aims of the Central Portal is to provide access to EMODnet data-products. Both the data products catalogue and a new interactive map viewer are currently under development. Each portal coordinator was asked to state when they would be in a position to provide VLIZ with the relevant information. Some had already done so. All coordinators need to consider what products they want to make available and liaise with VLIZ to ensure these are ready for mid-September to allow a public launch of the new map viewer by October. It was agreed that the public launch would take place at a Workshop of the Committee of the Regions on October 13th 2016.

Francisco Souza-Dias invited feedback from the Steering Committee on a proposal for a new Query Tool function. In terms of timeline, its potential is currently constrained by web services as the tool is only as strong as the web services provided.

It was pointed out that Copernicus had developed software during MyOcean which each thematic centre had to run onsite and which is completely compatible with the central service desk, allowing interrogation of the local server. This seems to be working very well. Nadia Pinardi will provide information to VLIZ.

An update on the development of the Query Tool will be provided at the next Steering Committee meeting. The Query Tool will be discussed at the next meeting of the Technical Working Group which should take place in the coming months in order for progress to be made before the next Steering Committee meeting.

Action 6 - Thematic lots to liaise with VLIZ to select products to be visualised on the Central Portal and provide the necessary information for harvesting (Coordinators, Mid-September 2016)

Action 7 - Provide update on the development of the Query Tool (VLIZ, next Steering Committee meeting)

Action 8 - Provide information on the COPERNICUS software for interrogation of thematic data centres (Nadia Pinardi to VLIZ, 30/09/2016)

Action 9 - Organise next meeting of the Technical Working Group (VLIZ, before end of 2016)

Agenda item 6: External Developments and interactions

  • Use of EMODnet data layers for CISE

Alexandru Chiric (DG MARE) provided an overview of the development of a Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE), the aim of which is to create interoperability in information exchange between all relevant authorities across all sectors. Whilst EMODnet is already linked to CISE via links with COPERNICUS, some of the other EMODnet portals may also be relevant but are not yet connected. There may be a need to develop an EMODnet / CISE roadmap or dialogue such as exists for MSFD. CISE met recently and will follow-up with EMODnet to explain more precisely what they need from EMODnet and how EMODnet can be more fully involved.

  • Marine Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD) and EMODnet

Jan-Bart Calewaert informed the meeting that the MSP Directive has entered into force and Member States are now working to transpose this into national law by 18 September 2016.

MSP actors must coordinate on a regional / cross-border scale and this is where EMODnet can be useful. The European Commission has funded an MSP feasibility study and a data study is underway which will hopefully provide recommendations as to how EMODnet can develop to serve MSP actors. It is also important to note that MSP will also generate data and EMODnet should consider how it can re-use and make available these data or data-products.

Alessandro Pittito pointed out that EMODnet Human Activities was very involved with the MSP process. They had mixed experiences with MSP actors, with some parties very interested in EMODnet whilst others less so. The latter tend to be those working at national level who have access to most of the data they require. The added value of EMODnet is in data provision at EU and regional sea level, between states and across borders. Also in terms of the multidisciplinary nature of EMODnet, for example combining Physics climatology data together with Chemistry data could provide information on transnational cumulative effects of chemicals.

Finally, it was pointed out that MSP actors are ultimately more interested in processed inforpation and data-products than in data and in using EMODnet as a predictive tool, to help them shape their plans.

  • EMODnet-INSPIRE interactions

Kieran Millard provided an update on INSPIRE highlighting some tangible areas where EMODnet and INSPIRE could work together. In December 2015 INSPIRE thematic clusters ended and new contracts will start from July 1st 2016. The new contracts will focus more on looking at INSPIRE for environmental reporting, with MSFD reporting providing a tangible use case.

The Human Activities portal has highlighted some very interesting issues because their data types cut across INSPIRE themes (e.g. human & marine). INSPIRE wasn’t developed for the types of data made available through Human Activities. Kieran Millard will present a paper on these issues at the forthcoming INSPIRE Conference in September (for information about the Conference see

Dick Schaap pointed out that it would be important to also highlight the EMODnet–INSPIRE success stories (e.g. Bathymetry). He proposed an article on EMODnet–INSPIRE interaction in Hydro International journal.

Kieran Millard informed that the INSPIRE Marine Pilot project had ended, focusing mostly on how INSPIRE could best support MSFD implementation and how INSPIRE could contribute to the reporting process. EMODnet has not been much involved in this process as communications mainly targeted Member States and WG DYKE.

  • EMODnet Data Ingestion Facility

Dick Schaap introduced the main features and planning of the new EMODnet Data Ingestion Project (DIP) with a short presentation (See here). It will be coordinated by MARIS with support from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR) in Greece. The DIP aims to facilitate and streamline the process whereby marine data from whatever source - including national monitoring programmes, research projects and private companies - is delivered on a voluntary basis for safekeeping to data repositories from where it can be freely disseminated through EMODnet or other means. It will mobilise Ambassadors for EMODnet in all European countries to identify new data sources, in addition to using machine-to-machine services and marketing and outreach. It will service all thematic data portals and all portals should provide a list of priority requests (i.e. ‘data-wanted’). The new DIP portal will be launched in November 2016.

Jan-Bart Calewaert suggested that a more systematic approach would be beneficial to identify providers through mapping the landscape of potential data-generators e.g. science (research), industry, public bodies etc. The results of the Sea basin Checkpoints could also be used to generate a list of gaps to target particular data sets. Very active and professional communication efforts will be required to raise visibility of the initiative.

The question was also raised as to how open the initiative was. For example certain funding bodies encourage the research community to submit data in repositories such as PANGAEA. It would be very important to ensure liaison with data repositories which are not a formal partner in the project. It could also promote the benefits of data provision to the research community by providing guidance as to how they should deal with data and also offer to promote their data sets.

HCMR pointed out that Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) could be used to make the data visible and encourage data provision.

  • EMODnet-MSFD coordination

Jan-Bart Calewaert provided an update on the most recent meeting and highlighted the positive interaction with Corine Lochet (SHOM) and the CPMR following on from conversations at the last EMODnet-MSFD meeting in December 2016. This interaction could lead to a new community of (regional) users for EMODnet.

Post-meeting note:

A workshop organized by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) together with CPMR on “The importance of marine data for the development of the Blue Economy on local and regional level” will be organized by on 13th of October in Brussels. The new data visualization tool of the Central Portal will be launched at the event. More information and registration is available here:

The last EMODnet-MSFD meeting called for the development of a matrix identifying appropriate EMODnet experts and MSFD actors to ensure future EMODnet-MSFD dialogue takes place at the correct technical level. This would require identification of the appropriate people by each thematic portal.

During this meeting the Regional Sea Conventions (RSCs) also asked to be informed and invited to a joint workshop between EMODnet Biology and Seabed Habitats on future benthic sampling campaigns. EMODnet Biology said that current plans are to have this meeting in September at ICES, however it is limited to 18 places and is upon invitation only. Currently the RSCs have not been invited.

Final Action arising from the December meeting was the proposal for a case study examining how data flows from Member State to RSC to EMODnet, as these are not very clear currently. It was proposed that the INSPIRE Marine Pilot could be used as a case study.

The definition of Good Environmental Status (GES) is currently under review. DG Environment should be able to provide information about the outcomes by end of 2016.

  • Secretariat User Survey

Another User Survey will be conducted by the EMODnet Secretariat during the first phase of the new EMODnet contracts (2017). It is anticipated that the outcome of this survey will provide additional guidelines for further development of the data portals.

  • EMODnet and Other Major Initiatives

COPERNICUS-EMODnet collaboration

Antonio Novellino informed the meeting about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between EMODnet Physics and COPERNICUS which is being finalized. Once the MoU has been signed, this will allow to move forward quickly with a concrete work plan outlining cooperation in the coming years. This will avoid duplication of efforts and is important from a user perspective. A viewing service for long-time series data could be provided by EMODnet.

It was suggested that it might be useful to have a group to interface between the EMODnet technical group meetings and those of the In-situ TAC meetings. Antonio Novellino said that they provided continuous feedback to COPERNICUS in-situ TAC people from users accessing their products via EMODnet Physics. This is precisely the sort of activity that the MoU will promote.

European Ocean Observing System (EOOS)

Patrick Gorringe provided an update on EOOS (European Ocean Observing System). A Steering Group had been set-up and a roadmap was being prepared to be launched at an event at the European Parliament on September 8th. A dedicated website is being developed. More information about EOOS and the EP event can be found on the EuroGOOS website here:

IPChem (JRC): updates from interactions with EMODnet Chemistry

IPCheM - the Information Platform for Chemical Monitoring - is a single access point for discovering chemical monitoring data collections managed and available to European Commission bodies, Member States, international and national organisations and researchers. EMODnet Chemistry has been discussing how to link EMODnet Chemistry to the portal to make available their dataset of marine contaminants from environmental monitoring. For more information see

EMODnet and the Nagoya protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

EMODnet has been invited, via the Secretariat, to participate in a workshop “Accessing the sea and its biodiversity for science”, organised by the European Marine Biological Resource Centre (EMBRC) in September. The workshop will focus on how research infrastructures in Europe can help researchers access marine biodiversity in light of the new rules on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) under the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol. EMODnet were asked to make a presentation with the working title of “How to treat data within the new regulatory framework: which information must accompany the data?” Partners from EMODnet Biology and Bathymetry have been involved in producing a paper on this subject and it was agreed that this activity was most relevant to EMODnet Biology, particularly if EMODnet Biology were to consider making available genetic data in the future. EMODnet Biology indicated they were already linked to EMBRC and were aware of the developments. The Secretariat will make the contact between the workshop organizers and EMODnet Biology and remain in the loop to be informed of progress in this matter.

AtlantOS: EMODnet Secretariat provider Seascape is involved in preparing a report on best practices in stakeholder engagement, as part of a task aimed at getting a better understanding of how to efficiently engage with stakeholders, attract more users and identify ways to improve usage of data and information from observatories.

ATLAS: EMODnet Geology coordinator, the British Geological Survey, is involved in the new H2020 ATLAS project “A Trans-Atlantic assessment and deep-water ecosystem-based spatial management plan for Europe.” ATLAS builds upon existing databases and archives including EMODnet, and aims to extend these across the Atlantic.

COLUMBUS: The EMODnet Secretariat, VLIZ and other COLUMBUS partners are considering organizing an EMODnet hackathon in the framework of the H2020 COLUMBUS knowledge transfer project. The idea would be to gather together experts in diverse fields (programmers, marine scientists, marine industry stakeholders, coders, graphic designers etc.) and to provide them with access to EMODnet data streams and technical support for a period of 24hrs with a brief to initiate the development of innovative targeted products and/or services. The Secretariat would welcome the involvement and support/ideas from the Steering Committee.

Action 10 - Provide a list of relevant contacts dealing with specific EMODnet-MSFD interactions within each lot (thematic lot coordinators, December 2016)

Action 11 - Provide update on discussions at EMBRC in light of the Nagoya protocol (EMODnet Biology, next Steering Committee meeting)

Action 12 - Provide details of EMBRC event to EMODnet Biology who will provide a speaker to represent EMODnet (Secretariat, completed)

Day 2 – Wednesday 22 June 8.30 – 14.30

Phil Weaver welcomed David Connor (from DG ENV) who was unable to join the meeting the previous day and gave the floor to the coordinators of the thematic lots to report on progress and main highlights.

Agenda item 7: Updates from all 7 thematic data portals as well as coastal mapping project

The coordinators of the thematic lots described the activities developed within their respective projects. The presentations are available as pdfs on the Maritime Forum for further information. A summary of the discussions/questions following the updates is provided below.


Dick Schaap reported on the most relevant results accomplished in the third year of contract, including the increase in the number of survey CDI metadata records, the composite Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) with new entries from MARUM for the Black Sea and the new release of the global EMODnet DTM, planned for August 2016. He also reported on the expansion of the downloading services with a Web Coverage Service (WCS) that complements the already existing Web Map Service (WMS) one. Bathymetry lot was very active in outreach and participated in numerous events and conferences.

Dick Schaap offered some clarifications concerning the availability of data in certain regions (in the next phase new data for the Baltic shall be included), the reluctance of Sweden and Finland to release high-resolution data in the Artic, and the desirable extension to the West in the Atlantic.

It was reported that the UK Met Office had improved the results of their storm surge forecasts using the latest release of the EMODnet Bathymetry DTM.


Alan Stevenson described some of the new maps that they had made available through the portal, including some examples of pre-quaternary maps for oil/gas and coastal behaviour. He commented on the difficulties encountered when updating the portal related to the fact that they are using now an open-source system (Geonetwork). The portal is now simpler and more intuitive to use; it provides the ability to deliver downloads in a variety of ways and the portal now includes a simplified map. The new site also continues to provide catalogue management and INSPIRE compliance. EMODnet Geology contributes to the Galway Statement via the Atlantic Seabed Mapping International Working Group in the context of the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA).

During the following discussion, the Secretariat insisted on the importance of making the portal more friendly and fit-for-purpose as well as making sure that some of the suggestions for improvement are taken care of before the end of the contract.

Seabed Habitats

Jacques Populus explained that the consortium is currently working on the final extended report, due at the end of September 2016. By then, a final improved EUNIS seabed scale map should be available accompanied by a new portal tool to enable selecting and downloading subareas. He pointed to difficulties in getting hold of existing survey maps from Greece or the Black Sea.

A paper illustrating the use of broad-scale habitat maps (with a focus on MSFD and MPA purposes) is under preparation. This is related to the responses received from a Questionnaire that was circulated amongst users of the Seabed Habitat portal resulting in 17 responses.

Jacques Populus insisted on the importance of strengthening links amongst the different EMODnet thematic lots to collaborate on issues of common interest. On the issue of assessing confidence for example, the methodology had been developed in close collaboration with the Bathymetry and Geology lots.


Dick Schaap spoke on behalf of the Chemistry coordinator (Alessandra Giorgetti) who could not assist the second day of the meeting. Over the three years of the project, the number of datasets made available has increased while the focus has changed from first finding the data to then undertaking their aggregation and validation at the regional level. He also described some of the products that had been generated and made available (DIVA maps) and the difficulties they encountered to develop those products.

Dick Schaap concluded with a SWOT analysis of the project (see presentation), followed by a discussion around the importance of increasing EMODnet Chemistry visibility and use beyond the scientific community that is already part of EMODnet. It was suggested that in the next phase the portal should become much more user-oriented by seeking input from more external users. The Secretariat is ready to help.


Simon Claus sketched the different development stages of the Biology Portal over the last few years. He commented on the results obtained from the first user analysis and from the most recent functional analysis, and how they had adapted the portal to take into account those analysis with clear input from external users. The second version of the portal was launched in May 2015 whereas some additional features for data selection and downloading were implemented in April 2016.

He also described some of the products that they had developed for ICES (Zooplankton Operational Oceanography Products or OOPS). Finally, he highlighted relevant on-going connections between EMODnet Biology and other initiatives such as GOOS, MSFD, ICES and collaboration with Seabed Habitats.


Antonio Novellino reviewed the progress achieved by EMODnet Physics over the last 6 months, including updates on the portal, data and metadata as well as new parameters and products.

EMODnet Physics liaises with many other initiatives in the field of Operational Oceanography such as EUMETNET, TT MOWIS, GOOS Regional alliances (GRAs), JCOMMOPS and projects such as AtlantOS, Jericonext and FIXO3. In particular, he highlighted the signing of a MoU with MERCATOR Ocean to formalise and move beyond the already very active collaboration at the technical level.

Nadia Pinardi, in her capacity of JCOMM chairwoman, emphasised the importance of making sure that marine meteorological data (already accessible through the WMO GTS system) were also available through Physics Portal and offered her help for that.

Human Activities

Alessandro Pititto focussed mainly on the results of the user survey they had done to obtain feedback from users of their portal. The Questionnaire included general questions about the website and also questions on datasets, the current ones, as well as the preferences for inclusion of new datasets. Datasets for Maritime Spatial Plans were the ones that drew more attention.

The Coordinator also described steps taken as part of the Human Activities communication strategy and the impact of certain actions, such as the publication of entries in the Human Activities blog. The strategy seems to be bearing fruits, but he pointed to the differences between the various lots concluding that it may not be totally “exportable” for use by other thematic lots.

Action 13 - Explore the possibility of including WMOS-GTS marine meteorological data in EMODnet Physics (Antonio Novellino and Nadia Pinardi, next Steering Committee Meeting)

Agenda item 8: Future avenues for coastal mapping in Europe

Gaël Morvan, coordinator of Coastal Mapping project, zoomed in on the particularities of the project. Unlike other thematic lots, the purpose is not to create (coastal mapping) products but rather to (i) make a revision of the current state of coastal mapping at the European level; (ii) compile experiences from partners (including the use of vertical references and experiences on coastal surveys); and (iii) develop some guidance for mapping activities. One of the most relevant outputs of the project will be a Coastal Mapping Planner, to guide the selection of most appropriate method for performing a coastal survey at a certain location.

Corinne Lochet reported on the progress of WP3 (“Future Programme”) which builds on the results obtained with four studies around governance of the data, economic models, EU funding and cross-experiences with other projects at the regional level. She commented on some of the preliminary conclusions derived from those studies. One interesting finding is that there are a huge number of programmes funded under the ERDF that could potentially contribute to coastal bathymetric data, but there is no requirement of making these valuable data available in the call. She emphasised the importance of developing a common strategy at the European level.

Agenda item 9: Updates from the 6 sea-basin Checkpoints project

Representatives of the sea-basin Checkpoints presented an overview on the work undertaken in the last year and plans ahead (presentations are available as pdfs here ).

North Sea

Quillon Harpham reported that most of the North Sea Challenges have been completed including wind-farm sitting, oil spill and fisheries management. He described the approach they had used to evaluate data-adequacy, the criteria they took into account and the concept of “Data advisor” and its potential to become a standard user feedback tool. Focusing on EMODnet, he insisted on the need to develop some SME-friendly standardisation to facilitate the uptake of data from the private sector.


Nadia Pinardi clarified the methodology they had developed during the project where data adequacy is assessed through Checkpoint indicators. At present, there is a set of indicators already available and quantified to assess the “appropriateness” of the datasets. She also introduced some of the Targeted Products that had been developed for some challenges, such as a suitability index for wind farming in the NW Mediterranean. Finally, she presented the results of a Questionnaire circulated to get feedback on the partial results of the project, and more in particular on the Checkpoint Service.


Jun She provided a general overview on the work done so far, beginning with the Literature Survey where they identified some new relevant datasets. The portal has been operational since a very early stage of the project and is now providing access to tailored products for some challenges. He also pointed to outreach activities and publications of some papers by members of the consortium.


Jacques Populus explained how the Atlantic Checkpoint will follow the methodology devised by the MedSea Checkpoint where datasets availability and appropriateness is assessed with indicators. The Atlantic Checkpoint has already produced a Literature Survey report studying 540 datasets potentially relevant to face the challenges. The Atlantic Checkpoint encountered some difficulties to set up a group of stakeholders who could provide guidance to the project. The next Atlantic Stakeholder Conference that will take place in Dublin in September 2016 was identified as a convenient place to present the Checkpoint and get in touch with stakeholders.

Post-Meeting Note:

During the Atlantic Stakeholder Conference that will take place in Dublin on 27 September 2016, EMODnet Secretariat is hosting a dedicated workshop on “Open data for Blue Growth in the Atlantic area” (Workshop 2D) which will include a presentation of the Atlantic Checkpoint concept and results so far. For more information and registration consult:

Black Sea

Atanas Palazov explained how the Black Sea Checkpoint has also adopted the MedSea methodology on assessing availability and appropriateness of data sets, and used BODC vocabularies to stablish categories. They produced and submitted their Literature Survey in May 2016.


Elinne van Onselen explained why the Artic Checkpoint could be regarded as an “odd one out” due to its particular geographical scope. She elucidated how they had proceeded with the Literature survey and how they selected the most relevant sources of information to be considered in the report. The work to produce Data Adequacy Reports has started for all challenges and she gave an example on how the work was done for the Climate Change Challenge and the difficulties they had encountered so far.

Day 2 – Wednesday 22 June 14.00 – 15.30

Many of the attendees had to leave before lunch so the last agenda items were dealt with collectively. It was agreed that remaining issues could be followed up by email if necessary.

Agenda item 10: Communication and visibility: EMODnet Communication Strategy update and guidelines

Agenda item 11: EMODnet events and calendar 2016‐2017

Agenda item 12: Administrative and reporting issues

Agenda item 13: AOB

Agenda item 14: Next SC Meeting date and location

Agenda item 15: Wrap up and closing of the Meeting

The Secretariat has updated the EMODnet Communication Strategy and new tools such as a regular EMODnet e-news digest will be released later ion 2016.

The new EMODnet ‘Partnership Composition and Strategy’ was presented. The scheme introduces a new category of membership, ‘Associated Members,’ which would allow interested parties which are not formal project partners to contribute to and benefit more from the EMOD-network. The Secretariat was asked to proceed with the development of a Terms of Reference for Associated Partners and to elaborate and implement the network’s Partnership Expansion Strategy.

Action 14 - Develop Terms of Reference for Associated Partners and elaborate/implement the EMODnet Partnership Expansion Strategy (Secretariat, report on progress at next Steering Committee Meeting)

An EMODnet Checkpoint Stakeholder Conference will take place in Brussels on 13, 14 and possibly 15 February 2016. Scope, dates and venue for the workshop were discussed. It was stressed that this is a collective workshop and that all sea-basin Checkpoints must coordinate and make sure they take full advantage of the opportunity and maximize results in terms of engaging with stakeholders.

In terms of future calls launched by DG MARE, Iain Shepherd explained that there may be funding available to support monitoring/observation activities (i.e. to get more data). The results obtained by Checkpoints could be helpful to identify observational priorities and better define the calls conditions.

The next Steering Committee Meeting is likely to take place in Brussels on 15 February 2016, back to back with the EMODnet Checkpoint Stakeholder Conference.

The Meeting closed at 15:00