Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


EMODnet Secretariat progress update – March 2016

Published on: Wed, 30/03/2016 - 12:53
Table of Contents
    EMODnet progress update largely based on the bi-monthly reports of the thematic lots covering the months January-February 2016, supplemented with updates from the Secretariat.

    EMODnet progress overview

    Main progress highlights

    • EMODnet Bathymetry and EMODnet Seabed Habitats are developing a methodology that enables assessing confidence levels for seabed habitats maps.
    • EMODnet Seabed Habitats delivered a unified light layer for the whole EU marine area using the last modification in an algorithm used by the European Space Agency (ESA).
    • Significant increase in usage of EMODnet Physics portal which saw the number of data downloads using WMS services increase by a factor of ten since last reporting period.
    • All EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints websites have been improved and are accessible through the Central Portal information gate.
    • EMODnet Geology developed a new data portal using a new version of Geonetwork introducing a simplified map and is now running tests for formal launch in the following weeks.

    Specific progress and achievements of thematic lots

    • EMODnet Bathymetry was approached by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI, formerly  NGDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US to include EMODnet Bathymetry Web Map and Web Feature Services (WMS/WFS) in a viewer. The  prototype is now available and may be the start of a fruitful collaboration in the spirit of the Galway Declaration on transatlantic collaboration. In addition, a quality indicator methodology was developed for the EMODnet DTM in consultation with EMODnet Seabed Habitats following the cross-thematic meetings held during the Ostend Jamboree (see EMODnet Secretariat Progress update report, November 2015). This methodology will be used in turn to assess the confidence level of Seabed Habitats maps, which is highly dependent on bathymetry data.
    • EMODnet Geology developed a new data portal using a new version of Geonetwork currently undergoing testing. New data sets have been received and incorporated in most of the working areas. Remaining national seabed substrate data sets were received to produce a final map in the current EMODnet phase. Work on geomorphological terms and definitions to inform potential users, together with an additional 16 quaternary data sets has provided the basis for a new paper to be published. Finally, EMODnet Geology reports fruitful external interactions with Minerals4EU project (with some of the EMODnet layers being accessible through the project portal) and with EMODnet Human Activities (possible contribution with information on aggregates used for beach replenishment).
    • EMODnet Seabed Habitats delivered a unified light layer for the whole EU marine area using the last modification in an algorithm used by the European Space Agency (see EMODnet Secretariat Progress update report, January 2016). In addition, partners collated new base layers (waves, water transparency), biological data (Posidonia data from Cyprus and Greece) as well as survey maps.
    • EMODnet Chemistry reported progress on the update and validation of products entries feeding the SEXTANT catalogue and the finalization of maps for the last harvesting of parameters. Following agreed actions during the EMODnet Steering Committee held in Ispra in June 2015, a videoconference was held with representatives of the IPChem project (coordinated by JRC) on how to effectively link both projects. IPChem would like to set up a single access point for discovering and retrieving chemical monitoring data in Europe and requested EMODnet to provide data and metadata.
    • EMODnet Biology has been busy preparing the trait workshop that will take place in June this year. There has also been some progress in a new data download tool, that should be ready to be incorporated to the EMODnet Biology portal in the next weeks. Four new datasets (including around 30000 new records) have been received and made available through the portal.
    • This period has been full of activity for EMODnet Physics with several meetings with other organizations in the realm of operational oceanography, including Mercator Ocean, the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology in-situ Observing Programmes Support Centre (JCOMMOPS), the Regional Ocean Observing Systems (ROOSs) and the Coastal Observing System for Northern and Arctic Seas (COSYNA). The general objective of all those meetings was to make sure that the activities of these inter-alia organizations are well aligned and can benefit from each other. The portal continues to improve with the addition of new data sets and data products, such as animations of water currents from High Frequency (HF) Radar, or the new layout of the wind data products page.
    • The recently implemented EMODnet Human Activities Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy is beginning to bear fruit. Dataset pages are now appearing in Google rankings and a blog has been prepared in WordPress with a view to increasing the visibility of the thematic lot activities. Another action that is progressing is the one related with collecting feedback through a questionnaire aiming at improving the users experience when using the portal. More than 100 responses have been received (approximately one third of the number of questionnaires sent) and will be analysed during the next reporting period.  
    • EMODnet Coastal Mapping has started collecting information from its core partners on coastal surveying to develop a Coastal Mapping Planner. Results from other surveys are also being analysed such as the one linked to the vertical datum and the one concerning economical models and governance. It is also worth outlining the continuous updating of the portal launched in December 2015, with the addition of 33 datasets grouped in 4 themes (even though downloading is not possible yet).

    EMODnet sea-basin checkpoints progress

    • Considerable progress has been made by all sea-basin checkpoint projects. The senior ones (Mediterranean and the North Sea) are now entering their last year of their first contract. The Mediterranean checkpoint is organizing a splinter meeting during the European Geophysical Union (EGU) Assembly in Vienna (17-22 April 2016), where they will present their findings and services giving access to the information generated by the project. The North Sea Check Point project has completed and submitted to DG MARE the Rivers Input Data Adequacy Report. All reports of the North Sea Checkpoint are now also available via the North Sea Checkpoint webpages hosted by the central portal.
    • All the new sea-basin checkpoints initiated in 2015 (Artic, Atlantic, Baltic and Black Sea) have reported considerable progress in their Literature Survey as well as in the enhancement of their websites which are now fully operational. The websites will progressively incorporate new capabilities, information and products for stakeholders and serve as a platform for exchanging documents between the partners. All sea-basin checkpoints are now ready to issue an oil-spill impact bulletin, which is part of the challenge related to the occurrence of an oil platform leak. Finally, a new section has been added to the top menu of the Central Portal to ease the access to all checkpoint webpages in a centralised way.

    EMODnet data portals usage

    Thematic portals regularly report their user statistics as part of the EMODnet progress indicators which allows them to track interest and identify areas for improvement. The following summary covers the two month period January-February 2016.

    • The number of DTM downloads through EMODNET Bathymetry was similar to the previous period (4120). Numbers giving account of the popularity of the viewing and downloading web services are similar, with more than 15000 users, predominantly from the US, Spain and Germany.
    • Following the upgrade of the EMODnet Geology portal, it is expected that the user uptake of data and services accessible through the portal will increase considerably. Statistics concerning its usage will be available from March 2016 on and will be accounted for accordingly in future progress reports.
    • Slight increase in the number of maps downloaded (489 compared to 451 in the previous period) and number of visitors (1136 compared to 1109) to the EMODnet Seabed Habitats portal. In terms of visitor profile, most of the visitors (43%) indicated that they would be using the maps for research, followed  by commercial/industry and government. The most downloaded product corresponded to the OSPAR threatened and/or declining habitat layer.
    • The volume of data made available through the EMODnet Chemistry portal has increased from 785780 to 790042 Common Data Index (CDI) entries. In terms of downloading activity this period was less intensive with and only 10 registered basket transactions accounting for about 12606 downloaded CDIs. No significant changes in terms of popularity of products were noted: Black Sea products were the most demanded both using WMS services and directly or using OPENDAP.
    • EMODnet Biology portal received a total of 400 requests of downloads, almost double the amount compared to the previous reporting period. The data was downloaded mainly for scientific purposes as was the case previously.
    • Usage of web services from the EMODnet Physics portal has increased considerably: data downloads using web services has increased 10-fold over the last two months. Italy and Germany are still the countries requesting most data. Even though the volume of data made available has increased, this is not due to an equivalent increase in the volume of datasets available, but clearly a shift in the user’s way of accessing  the data. In any case, the volume of data accessible through the portal has also increased substantially (tripled).
    • In line with previous observations, half of the users of EMODnet Human Activities portal identified themselves as pertaining to the “Environment sector”. Visitors preferred to use the portal via the View Data and the Search Data pages, whereas the Home section was less visited. Number of downloads has doubled with respect to the previous period.
    • Coastal Mapping has provided the first statistics giving account of the type and number of visitors to their brand new portal. Not surprisingly most of the visits (77 unique visitors) came from France, followed by Italy and UK. Numbers are likely to increase in the future months as the project develops with support of additional communication efforts.

    Challenges to be addressed

    During this period, none of the thematic portals reported on any specific challenges envisioned for the following period. Coastal Mapping mentioned difficulties with gathering information about costs of surveys using their internal questionnaire on past experiences, but this should not cause major issues as information will be compiled throughout the project duration to fine-tune the algorithm configuration. The Atlantic Checkpoint suffered withdrawal of one of the main partners, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) from the partnership for unclear reasons. The Coordinator had to find a solution involving a contractor to make up for this loss.

    Recent meetings and events

    • EMODnet Geology partners presented a poster at the 32nd Nordic Geological Winter Meeting, 13 to 15 January 2016 in Helsinki.
    • Coastal Mapping provided an update on the project on the occasion of a meeting of the IEN Working Group on 18-19 January 2016 in Saint Mandé. IEN is the IHO-European Commission Network, which provides a framework ensuring a continuing liaison between the two sides in specific areas of common interest such as maritime spatial planning or implementation of MSFD.
    • EMODnet was very active during the VLIZ Marine Scientist Day, Bruges on 12 February 2016 with a booth and a pitch presentation given by the Head of EMODnet Secretariat, raising awareness amongst young scientists about the importance of contributing to it.
    • The Head of the Secretariat as well as the coordinator of EMODnet Physics represented EMODnet at a German EMODnet-EuroGOOS Workshop on challenges of open marine data management in Hamburg, Germany on the 18th February 2016. A short report of the meeting is available on the Maritime Forum here:  
    • EMODnet Seabed Habitats presented the EUSea Map at the EMBLAS Workshop, which was held in Odessa on 23-24 February 2016.
    • EMODnet Chemistry presented their contribution in support of MSFD implementation as part of ActionMed workshop in Venice, on 25-26 February 2016.
    • EMODnet was also present at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Ocean Sciences meeting, which took place on the 21-26 February 2016 in New Orleans (USA), with a poster from EMODnet Physics being presented. The conference was attended by the coordinators of EMODnet Bathymetry and EMODnet Geology.

    Upcoming EMODnet meetings and events

    • EMODnet will be present at Oceanology international, one of the biggest business conventions on ocean technology, taking place in London on the 15-17 March 2016 .
    • EMODnet has been invited at the "4th INSPIRE Marine Pilot Meeting" that will take place in Brussels, on 13th and 14th April 2016, hosted by DG ENV. Specific attention will be paid to the approach put in place for handling chlorophyll data. The EMODnet Chemistry lot has a very relevant role to play here, since it is a gate to many national repositories storing this type of data.
    • The EGU Assembly in Vienna on 17-22 April 2016 is another milestone in terms of EMODnet presence. On the 20th April, there is a specific session on “Informatics in Oceanography and Ocean Science”, with several presentations dealing with different aspects of EMODnet. Taking advantage of the venue, a  splinter meeting to promote the MedSea Checkpoint service is also scheduled on the 20th April. Find more information on the Maritime Forum here.
    • The participation of EMODnet in the European Maritime Day in Turku (Finland) on 18-19 May 2016 organised by DG MARE will be ensured with an EMODnet exhibition booth.

    More information

    More detailed information can be found on the EMODnet thematic and sea-basin checkpoint portals, also accessible through the EMODnet Central Portal.

    Thematic lot portals

    Sea-basic checkpoint portals