Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


Minutes of the 23nd and Final Meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group (MODEG)

Event date:
19/10/2015 - 02:00
Table of Contents
    Minutes and agenda of the final meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group (MODEG) organised back to back with the EMODnet Open Conference and Partner Meetings (20-23 October 2015, Oostende Belgium)

    Date: Monday 19 October 2015

    Location: IODE Conference hall, EMODnet@InnovOcean site, Ostend (Belgium)

    Meeting Chair: Professor Franciscus Colijn (FC)

    Minutes Prepared by the EMODnet Secretariat

    Meeting Participants

    First name

    Family name




    UNESCO-IOC, Belgium



    Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey



    IEO, Spain



    Ifremer, France



    EMODnet Secretariat, Belgium



    VLIZ, Belgium



    HZG, Germany



    Wrocław University of Technology, Poland



    OGS, Italy



    EuroGOOS, Belgium



    ICES, Denmark


    Martín Míguez

    EMODnet Secretariat, Belgium






    SHOM, France



    UoS, UK



    OGS, Italy



    ETT, Italy



    Cogea, Italy



    IFREMER, France



    MARIS, Netherlands



    AWI, Germany



    DG MARE, Belgium


    Souza Dias

    VLIZ, Belgium



    CNR ISMAR, Italy



    BGS, UK



    GTK, Finland






    Start at 9:00 on Monday 19 October 2015

    • Welcome and adoption of the Agenda – Chair and DG MARE

    • Invited talks and discussion on EMODnet thematic and regional portals – EMODnet Steering Committee

    • Update from new activities – EMODnet Checkpoints – DG MARE

    Lunch 12:30-14:00

    • Invited talks on specific topics of interest in relation to marine observation and data management practices

      • Metrology in marine observation and data: filling the gap - Rajesh Nair (OGS, Italy)

      • Integrating observation, modeling and data management techniques: the
        Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas (COSYNA) - Holger Brix

    • Updates on the EMODnet governance and advisory system – EMODnet Secretariat & DG MARE

    • Perspectives on EMODnet Phase III – open discussion

    End at 17:00 on Monday 19 October 2015

    Meeting Minutes


    Welcome and Adoption of the agenda

    Welcome and introduction to the meeting by the MODEG Chair, announcing that this will be the last meeting of the Group of Experts in its current design. He next invites the coordinators of the EMODnet thematic lots to give their talks on the progress achieved and main highlights since the last meeting.

    Invited talks and discussion on EMODnet thematic and regional portals – EMODnet Steering Committee

    Dick Schaap (Bathymetry) stressed the importance of the updated version of the EMODnet Digital Terrain Model (DTM) released in September 2015, clarifying that it is a work in progress and new improvements will follow in the future. He showed the Bathymetry portal and its main functionalities. He mentioned the importance of acknowledging data providers via DTM tile on the map viewer.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Some clarifications were requested concerning the nature of the users, the use of multiple sources to produce the maps and the degree of confidence in the products.

    Jacques Populus (Seabed Habitats) described the scope of the project and how they depended on the availability of data from hydrodynamic models at high-resolution scale, which could be a hindrance.  He also informed about the upheaval of the European Nature Information System EUNIS, which will enable a better integration of regional maps. The noted that feedback from the users has been rather scarce so far and they looking into ways to improve this.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Following some questions from the public, Jacques Populus offered some explanations around the different existing EUNIS categories and how they linked with the Marine Spatial Planning programme. Some further information was provided concerning previous work undertaken in the framework of MeshAtlantic and MAIA projects.

    Alessandra Giorgetti (Chemistry portal) presented an overview of the Chemical thematic lot, describing the consortium and highlighting the progress achieved in the last year. She showed the increase in amount of data available and some of the new products that can be found in the portal. She then focused on the work which will be undertaken in the next year, underlining the strengthening the links with MSFD and Regional conventions and more in particular the Black Sea Commission.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Following several questions from the audience, Alessandra Giorgetti provided some clarifications concerning some of the data and products available at the portal as well as the use of them, especially for MSFD purposes.

    Simon Claus (Biology portal) described the structure of the project in the different Work Packages and emphasised the changes implemented in the website, whose new version was published in May 2015. He also highlighted the huge increase in the number of datasets available and the close connection they try to have with users, and more in particular with ICES, as they are developing OOPS products for them.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Several questions were raised concerning the lack of coverage in certain areas (Mediterranean, Artic), the degree of confidence and the difficulties around identifying common traits useful throughout several groups. There was also some discussion because Seabed Habitats lot cannot make a simple use of the data provided by the Biology lot. Biology data illustrate biodiversity but they refer to taxons which do not match necessarily with habitats. 

    Antonio Novellino presented the Physics portal, its main capabilities and services provided and the new products they intend to make available. He underlined the good results of EMODnet workshops they had organized in France and Italy, with some others envisioned in a near future in Germany.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Some comments followed concerning the well stablished connections between EMODnet, EuroGOOS, GEOSS and Atlantos, in order to avoid duplication of efforts. There were also some questions regarding the handling of ancillary data (not physical parameters) provided by the platforms.

    Alessandro Pititto (Human Activities) focused on the new datasets made available through their portal and how they are working in formalising the relationship with data providers in order to guarantee a continuation of the provision of data in the future. He also mentioned the preparation of a questionnaire for users, to collect opinions and suggestions about the portal.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Alessandro Pititto offered then some explanations on the difficulties encountered to get access to aquaculture data, in particular when trying to get hold of production figures. He also explained how they had defined their groups of users basing on the feedback obtained in the first stage of the project.

    Gaël Morvan presented the Coastal Mapping project to the MODEG community. The contract with DG MARE was signed in July this year. He described the project consortium and responsibility of the partners in each of the working groups. During the week they will meet at InnovOcean to discuss how to develop a portal, which is due to be up and running by the end of the year.

    Questions, comments and discussions

    Some discussion followed about the scope of the project, which is mostly bringing the hydrographic communities together and agree on best practices and standards for bathymetry. Other type of data, such as back scattering data, are not object of this project. Likewise, even if the project intends to be as comprehensive as possible, there are already some limitations since there have been countries (UK, for instance) that have refused to be part of it and some others will impose restrictions to the access to data. 

    Update from new activities – EMODnet Checkpoints

    Iain Shepherd (DG MARE) explained the rationale behind the Sea-basin checkpoints projects and the (different) approaches followed by the Mediterranean and the North Sea projects. He summarized the main findings so far in both basins, highlighting the importance of having a Help Desk to help users find the data they need.

    After the Mediterranean and the North Sea, four more checkpoints have been awarded: the Atlantic, the Artic, the Baltic and the Black Sea. Jacques Populus is the coordinator of the Atlantic check point, which had its kick-off meeting at the beginning of October 2015. He was given the floor and briefly explained how they intended to produce the adequacy reports.  Next Dick Schaap, coordinator of the Artic check point, explained one of the particularities of this project, namely the involvement of industry. Following some questions from the audience, he specified that connections with USA, Russia and Canada are not excluded, but the project is focused on EU partners.


    Invited talks on specific topics of interest in relation to marine observation and data management practices

    Rajesh Nair, from OGS (Italy), gave a lecture on Metrology in marine observation and data. It was noted that there is little coordination in the field at the European level.

    Holger Brix described COSYNA, the Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas. Some discussion followed on the lessons learnt throughout the life time of the system, and more in particular regarding the interaction with users. He mentioned that they want to strengthen links with data portals such as EMODnet.

    After the invited talks, Alan Stevenson described the work undertaken in the Geology lot, describing briefly the Work Packages and main products available in the portal. Some clarifications were next requested, mostly related to coastal erosion data.

    Last talk was given by Francisco Souza Dias. He recalled the origin and main characteristics of the EMODnet Central Portal and the main difficulties to implement the Query Tool which should give the possibility to combine datasets from the different portals.

    Updates on the EMODnet governance and advisory system + Perspectives

    Franciscus Colijn in his capacity of chair of MODEG pronounced some farewell words as this is the last time that the group of experts meet, and hand it over to Iain Shepherd (DG MARE) so that he gave some insights into the way forward regarding EMODnet governance and advisory system. He explained that EMODnet was now in a different phase, having reached a state where it is necessary to involve users. So the idea would be to establish a strategic user group with representatives from different sectors.  A very productive discussion followed where members of MODEG provided some testimonies regarding their experience with user groups, how to engage and communicate with them. For instance, it was noted that having the right representative who could speak and act on behalf of a certain user group was normally very difficult. Instead, it was suggested that EMODnet representatives would go to meetings organised by those users, and try to learn there what their needs and expectations were. It was suggested that at some point it would be necessary to opt for a selection of specific user communities as EMODnet cannot serve them all. Stress was put on the importance of providing reliable data and how to qualify/quantify this as well as the linking with the Regional Sea Conventions. 

    Meeting end at 17:00 on Monday 19 October 2015