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Ur-EMODNET preparatory actions hydrography - progress reports

First progress report

EMODNET (European Marine Observation and Data Network) is a contribution to the EU Integrated Maritime Policy. Currently there are 5 Lots (pilots) under development. This report gives an overview of the activities undertaken for the Hydrography Lot during the first two months of the project (29th of May – 1st of August 2009). This period was mainly devoted to the project start-up.

The EMODNET Hydrography pilot has officially started 29th May 2009, so the first important contractual milestone will be 29th May 2010. At that date the proto-type EMODNET Hydrographic portal must be operational and serving out a number of hydrographic data products and metadata, describing the background data sets, that were used for the making of the data products. The data products will also be provided as data layers to the European Atlas of the Seas and to the European broad-scale seabed habitat mapping project.

Second progress report

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive’s Marine Regions will be largely based on the ICES Ecoregions. Following discussion in the MODEG group it has been agreed with the EU in September 2009 to adopt these boundaries, supplemented by EEZs (where they extend beyond ICES ecoregions). These boundaries are documented by VLIZ and made available in the VLIMAR website with the VLIZ Marine Gazetteer. This gives the boundaries of the EMODNET sea regions. E.g. the North Sea boundaries can be found at:

Third progress report

Atlis is well underway with getting the deliveries of the identified HO’s. So far all is provided for free. However HO’s are not willing to provide their original surveys itself, but aggregated DTM products from their core DTM database. Each HO maintains a DTM, that is updated for new incoming surveys. For the EMODNET Hydrography lot the HO’s are willing to deliver an extract from these DTM’s at a lower resolution scale, that should satisfy the specific requirements of EMODNET resolution. Atlis will still try to get the metadata associated with the underlying surveydata sets and hopes that the HO’s are willing to cooperate for this.

Fourth progress report

The EMODNET pilots have asked for a common coastline for the European seas. This should be an existing data product, because compiling a coastline or upgrading an existing one is not part of the project. There are a number of options:

  1. World Vector Shoreline (WVS): WVS was produced by the US National Imagery and Mapping Agency (formerly the US Defense Mapping Agency) and has been adopted as the standard world coastline for the updating of GEBCO north of 60°S. South of 60°S, the WVS has been replaced for GEBCO use by the SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) coastline of Antarctica. The WVS provides a digital coastline with consistent global coverage at a scale of 1 : 250.000. The WVS is used as the coastline in the GEBCO’s digital chart of the world. It has also been adopted as the standard coastline for use in IOC's Regional Ocean Mapping Projects. A description of the WVS may be found in Soluri,E.A. and V.A.Woodson (1990), ‘World Vector Shoreline’, International Hydrographic Review, Vol.LXVII(1), p27-36.
  2. Prototype Global Shoreline Data (GDS) (Satellite Derived High Water Line Data): The NGA Office of Global Navigation, Maritime Division is in the process of developing a new version of World Vector Shoreline and in support of this effort has acquired a prototype Global Shoreline Data set. This new shoreline is an approximation of the High Water Line. Plans are in work to fill cloud gaps. The prototype aims for a scale of 1 : 75.000. However it is not ready yet.
  3. Global Self-consistent, Hierarchical, High-resolution Shoreline Database (GSHHS). GSHHS is a high-resolution shoreline data set amalgamated from two databases (WVS and WDB) in the public domain. The data have undergone extensive processing and are free of internal inconsistencies such as erratic points and crossing segments. The shorelines are constructed entirely from hierarchically arranged closed polygons. The data can be used to simplify data searches and data selections, or to study the statistical characteristics of shorelines and land-masses. It comes with access software and routines to facilitate decimation based on a standard line-reduction algorithm. One can say that it is an upgraded version of the WVS with a comparable scale of 1 : 250.000. A description of the GSHHS may be found in Wessel,P. and Smith, W.H.F. (1996), ‘A global self-consistent, hierarchical, high-resolution shoreline database’, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol.101, No B4, p8741-8743, April 10, 1996.

After consideration of the proposal it is decided that the GSHHS coastline database provides the best choice and will be adopted in the EMODNET Hydrography lot. The portal will not provide a way to download the dataset, but it will refer to the official GSHHS website, where other users can download the product and can find additional background information and possible updates. The official website is:

Fifth progress report

The partners have agreed on the following planning to be ready with a good product and service at the EMODNET Concertation meeting 25th May 2010 in Copenhagen – Denmark at EEA:

  • May 3rd: First release of regional DTM’s by IFREMER and NOCS to ATLIS (including IEO, SHOM and ISMAR data)
  • May 3rd – 14th : Import and testing of regional DTM’s in central DTM by ATLIS and tuning portal functionalities, including coastline, underwater features and metadata
  • May 3rd - 17th : Improving and final release of regional DTM’s by IFREMER and NOCS to ATLIS for presentation (including IEO, SHOM, ISMAR and possible additional data)
  • May 7th: Release of CDI metadata by SHOM and IFREMER to MARIS for inclusion in EMODNET CDI service
  • May 10th: Release of central DTM by ATLIS to JNCC for use in EMODNET Marine Habitat Lot
  • May 14th : Exchange of CDI metadata from MARIS to ATLIS for inclusion in portal
  • May 17th: Release of metadata documents for aggregated DTM’s to ATLIS for inclusion in DTM
  • May 17th – 21st: Import and finalization of regional DTM’s and CDI metadata into central DTM by ATLIS, preparing download tiles and finetuning exchange with CDI service portal at MARIS. Operational testing between ATLIS and MARIS of combined portal services and finetuning with support of IFREMER, IEO, SHOM, GSI and ISMAR
  • May 25th: Presentation at EMODNET Concertation meeting

Sixth Progress Report

The feedback from the Copenhagen meeting has been analysed and a distinction has been made in issues that required action on short term and longer term issues. The short term issues for the Product Viewing Service have been executed by ATLIS before end of June 2010. One improvement is that the service now starts up with a default map so that users immediately can see the present coverage. Also the user interface has been adapted for easier understanding. Moreover the system has been transferred to an operational server environment provider better performance and back-up facilities.

The list of improvements also includes a number of items that will be undertaken and implemented as part of the second year activities. These will not be ready end June 2010. This also includes a further improving of the quality of the central DTM with updated contributions of partners and by resolving a number of identified errors such as a difference in the overall agreed resolution and the one delivered by GSI and NOC.

Seventh Progress Report

MARIS has updated several sections of the EMODNET Hydrography portal at to reflect the recent extension of the EMODNET Hydrography project with the EMODNET Seabed Mapping project and the establishment of associate partners. Also the 1st Annual Progress report has been included in the public portal in the 'Pilot approach' chapter so that really interested users can download it in PDF format.