Call for tender were launched on 9 August for two new sets of projects as part of the "marine knowledge 2020" initiative.
The aim of the exercise is to determine how current monitoring programmes and data availability meets the needs of public and private users. This is partly done through a literature survey and partly through practical test cases; for instance asking the project partners to see how well they can site a wind farm or estimate coastal erosion rates using readily available data. The results will then be checked by a panel incorporating representative users from both the public and private sector, including those that have a sea basin mandate such as Regional Sea Conventions, Advisory Councils for fisheries and regional hydrographic commissions. Two "checkpoints"are already running – in the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Bids are requested for setting them up in the Arctic, Atlantic, Baltic and Black Sea.
Whilst considerable progress has been made in mapping the topography of Europe's offshore waters and making the data available through digital terrain models , it is intrinsically more expensive to measure the depth of water in shallow coastal waters because of instrument characteristics and because there is a need to join up with land surveys. The Commission has therefore launched a call for tender for a project to take stock of what has been done already and to determine whether countries could benefit by undertaking a joint programme.