Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


Fourteenth meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group

Event date:
12/10/2011 - 17:00 to 13/10/2011 - 17:00
Table of Contents

    This was the fourteenth meeting of the Marine Observation and Data Expert Group. It was attended by Sükrü Besiktepe (MODEG), Simon Claus (MODEG), David Connor (DG-ENV), David Connor (DG ENV), Hans Dahlin (MODEG), Gerben de Boer (MODEG), Hugo De Groof (DG ENV), Raf Deroo (DG-MARE), Peter Edmonds (The Crown Estate), Nick Flemming (MODEG), Julius Gajewski (MODEG), Robert  Gatliff (MODEG), Ole Benjamin Hestvik (OLEX), Neil Holdsworth (MODEG), Christophe Jacob (Eumetnet), Colin Jacobs (GEBCO), Glenn Nolan (MODEG), Steve Noyes (Eumetnet), Sergio Pasquini (Eumetnet), Lesley Rickards (MODEG), Torsten  Riedlinger (DG ENTR), Dick Schaap (MODEG), Angela  Schäfer (MODEG), Iain Shepherd (DG-MARE), Stefania Sparnocchia (MODEG), Terje Thorsnes (MODEG), Ole Einar Tveito (Eumetnet) and Henry  Vallius (MODEG).

    The agenda and prsentations are here 

    Marine Spatial Planning and the Crown Estate’s Marine Resource System

    Pete Edmonds presented the Marine Resource System. The Crown Estate owns the seabed out to 12 nautical miles. leases it out for purposes such as renewable energy infrastructure and mineral extraction and advises the Marine Management Organisation, Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government and the  Northern Ireland Department of the Environment on spatial planning issues.

    Their Marine Resource System (MARS) was used to ensure that the UK's round 3 wind farm zones fitted within national jurisdiction borders and did not conflict with other sea-uses such as bird reserves, pipeline routes, aquaculture sites, dredging areas or hydrocarbon infrastructure. The system uses 400 data layers from 42 data providers, most of which concern human activity. Decisions on wind farm siting had to be made before detailed mapping on sediments was available and the licensees themselves will need to collect the necessary data.

    In general the Crown Estate looks favourably on requests for sharing of data from third parties although this depends on the licensing conditions under which the data were obtained.

    JERICO - Towards a Joint European Research Infrastructure Network for Coastal Observatories

    Glen Nolan informed MODEG about the JERICO project which started this year and aims to set up an European Research Infrastructure for observations in European coastal and shelf seas. Coordinated by Ifremer in France, its partners cover 27 marine research institutes, universities and small private enterprises from 17 European countries. It will promote standardization of operations and activities for the benefit of data quality and availability and stimulate the development of new automated measuring systems – particularly for biochemical parameters.

    INSPIRE - Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe

    INSPIRE is the basis by which Eupope's spatial data is found, described and made available. The European Marine Observation and Data Network is built on INSPIRE. Hugo de Groof said that a detailed data specification had been made available for consultation and testing and comments were currently being analysed.

    Dick Schaap had looked carefully to see how the data, metadata and data products (the digital terrain model) and services being constructed under the European Marine Observation and Data Network Hydrography pilot fitted with INSPIRE standards. The services are already in full compliance but for the metadata used in the CDI discovery service some upgrading is required and underway to ISO 19139. The pilot makes extensive use of the SeaDataNet Common Vocabularies. These are not yet included in INSPIRE but SeaDataNet as SDIC is proposing to include these in INSPIRE V3 as part of the ongoing INSPIRE V2 Consultation process. The EMODNet Hydrography pilot provides basic data sets (single and multibeam survey data sets) as NetCDF (CF) files. This format is included in the INSPIRE drafts for various themes, but not yet for Elevation. Therefore it will also be proposed to the INSPIRE Consultation for adoption. The resulting EMODNet DTMs are delivered in various formats, including NetCDF (CF). INSPIRE recommends to use BAG (S102) which is a typical thematic exchange format as developed by the IHO. SeaDataNet will propose to INSPIRE to include also NetCDF (CF) as it is used and allowed already for many other INSPIRE themes. Moreover the EMODNet Hydrography pilot will undertake action to extend the number of DTM download formats to include also the BAG (S102) format (once its specifications are fully mature and available).

    There was some discussion about the GEO/GEOSS initiative for making earth observation data available. A MODEG member suggested that this had been advocated by the United States to avoid a United Nations led effort. Although its aims are worthy, it is somewhat old-fashioned in that it relies on participants uploading data to a database rather than linking the portal to data held elsewhere. In any case, if there were an international standard it in unthinkable that it would not be based on INSPIRE.

    Fukushima Risk Assessment

    Iain Shepherd of DG-MARE summarised work done to assess the risk of importing radioactive fish from the Pacific. There is some concern that migratory fish such as tuna might ingest prey in the vicinity of Fukushima, be caught outside the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone and enter the European market. He said that it was useful having more than one circulation model for modelling currents because the United States NCOM gave different results to the European MERCATOR. In any case the major uncertainty in assessing the risk is the movement of tuna. ie what is the chance that a tuna caught in the Pacific has been feeding in the contaminated zone?


    Colin Jacobs presented the GEBCO initiative which is funded through voluntary contributions and aims to make available a digital terrain model of the oceans at an appropriate scale. Currently this is one half a minute for Europe but it is intended that the EMODnet quarter minute model be provided through GEBCO. It is constructed from primary data (soundings, single beam and multibeam surveys), and data compilations such as the International Bathymetric Chart of the Arctic Ocean and electronic navigational chart soundings harvested by hydrographic offices. Sources are acknowledged in the metadata unless the donor asks not to be identified which is the case for some United States Navy data. Where no data are available the depth is estimated from gravity anomalies. Both raw and clean data is stored at the International Oceanographic Commission’s Data Center for Digital Bathymetry, which is housed in the same facility as the United States National Geophysical Data Center, and delivered through United States technology.

    Colin Jacobs, the bathymetric editor is now working on the EMODnet team so is in a good position to see that both efforts benefit from each other.


    Ole Hestvik demonstrated the use of his OLEX system which uses a ship's own echosounder and GPS to scan the sea bottom at a 5 metre resolution and to displat it as a realistic three-dimensional view. The company has 4000 customers and focuses mostly on the North Atlantic. About one quarter of customers deliver the data they collect back to the company which has enable them to construct a high quality chart with very good coverage. Incorporating these data into the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) might be difficult because OLEX would want something in return. Since EMODnet data are free of use to allcomers, it is not obvious what EM ODnet  could provide to OLEX that it is not providing to everybody else.

    Providing gridded meteorological data for European sea-basins

    Another Ole, Ole Einar Tveito from EUMETNET, showed plans for coordinating and harmonising high resolution European climate data. The aim is to produce daily gridded climate data for the past 50-100 years on a resolution of less than 1km. The main parameters would be temperature and precipitation; possibly also snow. However the data would only be provided over land. There are too few observations over the sea and they do not provide the right parameters (maximum and minimum temperature for instance).

    Nevertheless the initiative is going in the right direction. The EUMETNET consortium were asked to get in touch if they were able to offer gridded meteorological data to the European Marine Observation and Data Network. EUMETNET though that their gridding algorithms might be applicable to data other than meteorological.

    Interim Evaluation of the European Marine Observation and Data Network

    Iain Shepherd from DG-MARE summarised progress in the interim evaluation of the European Marine Observation and Data Network.

    A primary aim of the exercise had been to see what lessons could be drawn that could feed into the next set of projects due to be launched next spring. An independent contractor had tested the portals functionality and some detailed points made but on the whole the projects had been well managed and had delivered useful results.

    At a previous meeting the experts had suggested that assembly of bathymetric data and geological sediments could be handled by the same group since the properties were derived from the same instruments. However this time the experts were less enthusiastic about this idea.

    They agreed that determining value for money was difficult since we do not know how much effort the consortia have put into assembling the data. However it was not quite fair to compare the number of parameters made available through EMODnet portals with the fisheries Data Collection Framework, research projects or the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative because EMODnet was built on these efforts and added value to them.

    Next meeting

    The next meeting will be in the second half of January or first half of February depending on the availability of members. It will primarily deal with the EMOdnet portals and the 2012 call for tenders. Current plans are that the budget for this call will be €19,200,000.

    Presentations are on