Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


First meeting of marine knowledge expert group

Event date:
19/01/2018 - 00:00
Table of Contents
    aim is to get to know each other and discuss ideas and priorities for improving EU services for marine data

    19 January, 2018, Room 00/53, Rue Joseph II, 99, Brussels 

    This aim of the first meeting is to familiarise Members of the group with each other, with EU marine data programmes and to obtain preliminary indications of how these programmes could move closer to the needs of industry.


    It is universally acknowledged that better availability of knowledge of the state and dynamics of our seas and oceans will stimulate the development of innovative new products and services and reduce the cost and risks of coastal and offshore business. EU programmes, especially the Copernicus Marine Service and the European Marine Observation and Data Network, are already making substantial contributions to improving this knowledge and are thus supporting business. Engineers tell us that the planning of offshore infrastructure and assessment of their environmental impact is more efficient than it was only three years ago; before these programmes entered a fully operational phase.

    In order to maximise usage, both Copernicus and EMODnet are breaking down the walls that separated different maritime activities. A guiding principle is "collect data once, use many times". Both programmes offer data that is free of charge and free of restrictions of data. And it is paying off. Surveys originally undertaken to ensure safe navigation were the basis of the topographic maps used in planning wind farms and are now used in meteorological forecasts. The digital maps produced by the EMODnet team have massively improved storm surge forecasts in the North Sea thus allowing operators to take appropriate measures to protect lives and property.

    But the work is by no means complete. Whilst data held in national or regional repositories are largely available, many other data held by smaller institutions remain inaccessible. This is being tackled through a continuous improvement approach. New parameters are being added, coverage is increasing and access is simplifying. And, in order to ensure that the priorities of business feed into this process, a new marine knowledge expert group has been set up.

    Last week this group met for the first time. The aim was first to see how the EU's marine data programmes could meet the needs of enterprises in the blue economy and second to see how industry could demonstrate their corporate social responsibility by providing their own data for the public good.

    The group included those with expertise in developing, maintaining or operating a wide variety of coastal of offshore installations including offshore oil and gas, renewable energy, shipping, aquaculture and port installations. This, together with the participatory approach adopted for the meeting, helped all participants come away from the meeting with a more rounded view of the blue economy.

    Some of the group had used EMODnet and Copernicus for initial studies when looking for a suitable site but the relatively coarse resolution of many products and services from these systems meant that they needed to collect their own data once the site had been selected. Others, even those dealing with marine data on a daily basis, were unaware of how much EMODnet and Copernicus had to offer and generally bought data from commercial suppliers. It may be that the suppliers had themselves built their products using services from Copernicus or EMODnet. It is indeed part of the EU's marine knowledge strategy to support these added value services. In any case, acquiring and processing marine data always has a significant cost so anything that can reduce this overhead in any component of the value chain is a significant boost to the blue economy.

    Some sectors have particular priorities. The wind farm operators, predictably, wanted better data on windspeed; up to 100 metres above the sea surface. Currently only measurements of surface wind are readily available. So before deciding on a site they need to erect masts which cost between €10 million and €15 million each. Those looking to build new tidal sites of course need precise data on tides. Other issues were common to more than one industry – the high cost of updating nautical charts and the difficulty in ascertaining whether a pipeline or cable is still in operation were cited by more than one in the group.

    Private companies are not going to release data that could give a competitor a commercial advantage. But many data are not sensitive; particularly data used for evaluating or monitoring environmental impact. Indeed it is already mandatory in many cases for these data to be provided to public authorities but these data frequently do not find their way into the public domain; partly because of the different formats and standards used. If they are going to provide more data, they need their contribution to be recognised.

    The group thought that it would be better for Copernicus and EMODnet to engage industry by attending their events rather than expecting industry to come to them. They undertook to send lists of suitable events to the Commission services as well as data needs for their industry.

    The next meeting, in about six months' time, will look in more detail at the issues raised.

    minutes of meeting



    1. Welcome and introduction by Mr. Haitze Siemers, DG MARE


    1. rules of procedure

    9.35- 10.05

    1. Tour de table – introduction participants and expectations from expert group


    4.     Presentation of EU initiatives

    EMODnet by Mr Jan - Bart  Calewaert, EMODnet Secretariat 

    presentation on EMODnet and Atlas of the Seas

    Copernicus by Ms. Laurence Crosnier, Mercator Ocean 

    presentation on Copernicus

    10.35- 11.05

    Coffee break


    5. discussions about access to data 

    The aim is to discover from users and potential users experience of using EU data infrastructure and their prioritoies for future investment. Aspects that might be covered include:

    • completeness of product catalogue
    • priority of near coast or deep sea
    • geographical coverage 
    • facility of downloading
    • missing parameters
    • usefulness or deterrence of sign-in procedures
    • machine-to-machine communication
    • coherence and comparison with other initiatives


    Lunch break


    6. Presentation of data ingestion by Mr Jan-Bart  Calewaert, EMODnet Secretariat  and ocean commitments by Charlotte Herman

     presentation on European Ocean Observing System

    slide on ocean commitments


    7. Discussion on how industry can provide data for the common good.

    Business has often expressed interest in helping the public good and providing more data but turning good intentions into reality has been challenging. Members of the group are invited to consider:  

    • existing good practices where industry provides data
    • barriers to providing data
    • possible incentives to encourage industry to provide data


    Coffee break


    8. Conclusions and next meeting


    Mr Anagnopoulos Nikolaos


    Mr Altena Paul


    Mr Blanchet Hugo


    Ms Buckley Fiona


    Mr De Gier Wouter


    Ms Delafosse Coline


    Ms Devos Sandrine


    Ms Dhomé Diane


    Mr Franzosini Carlo


    Mr Giacomi Armando


    Mr Harpham Quillon Karl


    Mr Holthus Paul


    Mr Jeans Gus


    Ms Long Caitlin Rowenna


    Ms Löbl Martina


    Ms Martos Barba Ana


    Mr Murphy Jimmy


    Mr Nicolaus Ernst Erhard Manuel


    Mr Blanco Jorge


    Ms Rusu Liliana Celia


    Mr Sala Antonello


    Ms Sansoglou Paris


    Mr Szymanski Pawel


    Mr Tanhua Toste


    Mr Vanheule Bernard


    Mr De Boer Gerben J


    Ms Chojnacka Katarzyna



    Ms Herman Charlotte

    Mr Siemers Haitze

    Mr Iain Shepherd

    Mr Stulgis Maris

    DG RTD F4

    Mr Inguscio Agostino


    Mr Fernandez Gomez Juan Carlos

    Ms Detant Anja

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Mr Callewaert Jan-Bart

    Ms Marsan Andree-Anne

    Mr Derycke Pascal


    Ms Donati Cecilia

    Ms Crosnier Laurence

    Security form for faster access to building

    Please fill in this form (it is a bit tedious but you will be thankful you did it afterwards. it will save a lot of time.

    Documents needed for reimbursement of expenses

    reimbursement form

    legal identification form

    financial identification form (this requires a stamp from your bank)