All thematic lots and the Coastal Mapping project finished their current contracts (corresponding to EMODnet phase II) throughout the second part of 2016. Final reports were submitted and revised by the contractor authority (EASME) and subsequently modified. As a consequence, some of the more technical activities have reduced or put in a halt until the new EMODnet phase III contracts are signed. Notwithstanding, EMODnet thematic lots remained active and thematic data portals kept receiving many visitors interested in their data and products. Likewise, EMODnet partners went on disseminating results at different fora. EMODnet Bathymetry, for instance, was presented at AGU2016 in San Francisco - USA in December 2016 by Dick M.A. Schaap as mentioned in the section “Recent meetings and events” of this report.
A major step forward in making the Network more inclusive entailed the creation of an EMODnet 'Associated Partner' category to respond to increasing requests from organisations to join the EMODnet partnership in a facilitated way. Up to now, three associated partners have been added to the network: The Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) in Spain, the Coastal Research and Engineering Services (CORES) in Bulgaria, and Dredging, Environmental & Marine Engineering (DEME) in Belgium.
In December 2016, the Data Ingestion Project presented their first results after 9 months of work towards a facility that helps all kinds of data holders to make their data available through EMODnet for re-use by others. The data ingestion portal is available via www.emodnet-ingestion.eu.
The EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints had a busy end-of-year period. Actions were taken by all Checkpoints to prepare the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoint Stakeholder Conference taking place in Brussels on 14 and 15 February 2017. This included the preparation of lists of contacts to be invited to the Conference and some interaction to distil the most important messages stemming from the Data Adequacy Reports already submitted by the checkpoints.
During this reporting period, the Atlantic, Baltic and Black Sea Checkpoints presented their progress to an Expert Panel whose members represented different stakeholder communities, not only scientists, but also public bodies and industry. More in particular, Expert Panels for the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea met in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Sofia (Bulgaria) respectively in November 2016, whereas the Atlantic Checkpoint project met its Expert Panel in December 2016, in Brussels (Belgium).
Each checkpoint prepared the meeting independently: agenda, meeting chairs and participants were also different. Nevertheless, in the three cases presentations were focussed mostly on the two main deliverables already provided by the checkpoints, i.e. the Literature Review and the Data Adequacy Report. The respective EMODnet checkpoint webpages were also introduced to the Panel. The Expert Panel had to evaluate the work undertaken so far and propose recommendations for further improvement. There was time for discussion between the experts and the coordinators of the checkpoints, as well as with members of EMODnet checkpoint teams working in each of the challenges. In general, the Expert Panels were positive about the approach adopted by the different checkpoints to produce the deliverables presented so far. However, they also signalled certain deficiencies and made numerous suggestions to be taken into account by the checkpoints as they proceed. These suggestions vary greatly depending on the sea-basin, as each region has its own particularities and each project has followed its own approach and methodology. However, certain cross-cutting issues were raised in all three meetings. For instance, experts indicated doubts about the scope of the challenges, they wondered about the choice of topics and occasionally disagreed with the selection of products. There was also some confusion regarding the objective of the Checkpoints. Was it an exercise intended simply to stress-testing the data regardless of the fact that challenges were attained or not, or should the focus be put on the fitness for use of the concrete final products? There was also a recurrent question around the stakeholders, that is to say, from which perspective the fitness for use of the marine data should be evaluated. It was also clear that they found the “challenge approach” to the work very valuable both in terms of concept and in terms of how to present the results. During the discussions, experts pointed to additional sources of information that could be used to tackle the challenges. They also suggested that all the findings regarding datasets (for instance, issues related to the lack of visibility of data) were fed back to the data providers so that they could take action.
Some of the pages presenting the challenges in the Arctic checkpoint portal were updated. It is anticipated that a dashboard and map application service for each challenge is available at the beginning of 2017. The Arctic team also had to get ready for their first Panel Expert Meeting, which will take place in Brussels in January 2017. They indicated some difficulties to find enough members for their panel. The Arctic checkpoint also provided some statistics about the popularity of their webpages. The number of visits do not experience great changes, with around 40% being returning visitors, Russia being the origin of most of the visitors.
The Atlantic checkpoint has put online a new Checkpoint service (“Browser”) in their portal. This browser allows getting access to metadata of each of the datasets used in each of the challenges. The Atlantic checkpoint delivered their first DAR on 26th November, shortly before their Panel Expert Meeting. One of the difficulties that they expressed in terms of meeting the panel experts expectations is that preliminary work has focused mainly on assessing datasets particularly in regards of their availability and not yet to get to the products, whereas some of the experts were expecting to evaluate the products instead. This links also to some of the problems encountered during the assessment, as project partners doing the assessment are not necessarily data managers.
The Baltic checkpoint made progress on assessing data to face the coastal erosion challenge. After holding their Expert Panel Meeting on 8 November 2016, they revised their Data Adequacy Report to take into account Experts recommendations. They have provided some statistics concerning the visits to their portal, with a peak on the number of visits on November 2016 which was probably due to the Expert Panel Meeting.
Similarly to the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea checkpoint was busy with the organisation of its Expert Panel Meeting (14-15 November) and revision of its Data Adequacy Report accordingly. They also reported on the elaboration of an internal document that should guide project partners to provide the right information concerning their respective challenge products. This information must be clear so that products can be ultimately disseminated in a project GIS web portal.
Most of the Literature Survey Reports and Data Adequacy Reports are available in the DG MARE Maritime Forum, where it is possible to log in and add comments. They are also available in the respective Sea-basin Checkpoint web portals.
Recent meetings and events
Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events
The EMODnet Checkpoint Stakeholder Conference will take place over two days, 14-15 of February 2017, at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts in Brussels, Belgium. The programme will be composed of plenary sessions followed by workshops for each Sea-basin Checkpoint to meet with their respective regional stakeholders. The main objective is to inform interested stakeholders about the outputs and findings of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints. Feedback from stakeholders will be sought to improve the current data adequacy assessment process developed by the checkpoints with a view to give recommendations to improve marine observation activities in Europe and eventually set the basis of a European Ocean Observing System. More information available in http://www.emodnet.eu/upcoming-events.
Back to back with the Conference, there are a number of other Checkpoint-related events scheduled, like the Black Sea Partner meeting, the final MedSea Expert Panel Meeting and the final North Sea Expert Panel Meeting.
More detailed information can be found on the EMODnet thematic and Sea-basin Checkpoint portals, also accessible through the EMODnet Central Portal.