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7th EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting Minutes

Published on: Thu, 16/06/2022 - 12:42
Table of Contents
    In this article, you can find the minutes of the 7th Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting (Spring 2022).

    7th EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) Meeting Minutes

    27 April and 16 May 2022, Remote Zoom meeting

    List of Participants: See Annex I

    The main aims of the 7th meeting of the European Commission (EC) Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) were to update members about the latest developments in the European Marine Observation and Data network (EMODnet), including the ongoing centralisation of services (including all data and data products), and to collect feedback from MKEG members on EMODnet status, recommendations for future development for EMODnet services, EMODnet for Business and other activities, and other related projects and initiatives such as the EC Ocean Observing: Sharing Responsibility initiative and the EU-China EMOD-PACE project.

    To optimise interaction and engagement with EMODnet, the 7th MKEG meeting was held in two sessions:  The first session was held on Wednesday 27th May 2022 (full day), held jointly with the 16th EMODnet Steering Committee (SC) meeting, and also attended by the EMODnet Technical Working Group. The joint session was chaired by Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC) (Head of the EMODnet Secretariat). This enabled MKEG members to hear the latest EMODnet thematic developments presented by EMODnet Coordinators, and interact directly with EMODnet SC and Technical Working Group (TWG) members (see full participants list in Annex I). This was followed by a closed MKEG session on Monday 16 May (morning), restricted to MKEG members, EC DG MARE and the EMODnet Secretariat (see Annex I). The closed session was chaired by Zoi Konstantinou (ZK) (Unit A1 Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investment, DG MARE, European Commission) and included further discussion and feedback from MKEG on strategic EMODnet developments e.g. centralisation, as well as feedback to further optimise Ocean Observation governance and links with the wider European Ocean Observing Community. The EMODnet Secretariat served as rapporteurs for all meetings.

    EMODnet 16th SC Actions are reported separately in the full 16th SC minutes here. All presentations from the 16th SC open session are also available here.


    Day 1, Wednesday 27 April 2022

    09:30-17:00: EMODnet SC Joint Session*

    *This Session was open for Members of the EMODnet Technical Working Group (TWG) and the EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG)

    Welcome and Updates (EMODnet Secretariat and DG MARE)


    Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC, Head of the EMODnet Secretariat) welcomed all to the EMODnet Steering Committee (SC) Open Session, which included members from the EMODnet SC, EMODnet Technical Working Group (TWG) and EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (MKEG) (see Participants list, Annex I). Following an overview of practical arrangements and housekeeping rules for the online meeting, JBC presented the meeting agenda.

    Zoi Konstantinou (ZK, EC DG MARE) then explained that following the celebration of EMODnet’s tenth anniversary last year, EMODnet has entered a new phase which will be characterised by the centralisation process and the continuation of services going forward. The centralisation process will make services more user-friendly so that EMODnet can support the development of the Digital Twin Ocean (DTO), of which EMODnet is one of the pillars. She emphasized that the deployment of the centralised services by the end of the year is a hard deadline. All efforts should focus on this objective as this milestone is key to maintaining EMODnet’s relevance as a key actor in the EU marine data landscape. She added the Central Portal (CP) will be a shared responsibility between the EMODnet Secretariat and the network. It has benefits in terms of security, visibility and opportunities.

    ZK concluded that the United Nations Ocean Decade (UN OD) will be important for EMODnet, constituting opportunities for increased visibility and collaborations. EMODnet leadership as a regional best practice should be promoted. It is an opportunity to show EMODnet partners’ experience at the global level.

    Centralisation overview: short updates on progress, implementation process and high-level updates from the 11th Technical Working Group (TWG, 26 April 2022) – see PPT

    Conor Delaney (CD, EMODnet Secretariat) gave a presentation with highlights on the EMODnet centralisation status. He noted that in 2021 the Secretariat and VLIZ achieved the migration of the EMODnet Central Portal to the EU Domain as part of the repatriation process requested by EC DG MARE.

    He explained that the centralisation of all EMODnet thematic portals is now well underway, with different time-lines for each thematic based on their contracts. He underlined that a benefit of the centralisation process was that EMODnet would have a common map viewer. The new map viewer is being developed by Bilbomática, demonstrated at the TWG meeting. CD explained that to support centralised data discovery and access it was also necessary to build a new GeoNetwork which is up on the development website.

    It was recognized that the individual thematic Portals have different technologies so it has been technically challenging to find the common path.

    Next steps: VLIZ (EMODnet Central Portal lead) and the Secretariat are progressing well with the latest status available on the development website. Regular meetings are held with each thematic and in late Spring – Summer 2022 Coordinators will have the chance to review the static web content on the development website. This process is progressing well and will be finished by September 2022. Full centralisation of all thematics is expected for completion by the end of 2022. The EMODnet Data Ingestion will be centralised in 2023, as outlined in the Data Ingestion contract.

    A question was raised as to whether the centralisation) will affect the way people can access data. This was answered noting that the user experience will be simplified post-centralisation and it will be possible to discover, access, visualise and download data directly from the Central Portal, as a centralised data service fitting the new paradigm of people using data quickly. Some data will be hosted in a distributed way but, for the users, the services will be available from a centralised access point.

    The discussion was closed noting the thematic portals will disappear but the work of the thematic lots will remain vital, bringing thematic expertise on in situ marine data management, data services and data products creation.

    Updates from EMODnet 7 Thematics & Data Ingestion (all coordinators) – see PPTs

    Each EMODnet thematic and data ingestion coordinator presented a status update on the work done by the consortium, identifying cross-thematic interactions and wider partnerships and collaborations since the last SC and TWG, and presenting a future outlook for their thematic area.

    EMODnet Geology: Henry Vallius (HV, GTK) highlighted that the conflict in Ukraine is a challenge and a major concern, especially for the EMODnet Geology contractual work to be done on the Caspian Sea. He noted that one of the consortium task leaders for the Caspian Sea was not active in EMODnet at this time, due to the geo-political situation and that the consortium may need to choose another task leader for the Caspian Sea if the situation continues. Bjarni Pjetursson (BP, GEUS) added some technical updates regarding the migration progress of EMODnet Geology to the Central Portal.

    There were no questions for EMODnet Geology.

    EMODnet Physics: Antonio Novellino (AN, ETT) highlighted that most user requests are related to downloading or requests for more metadata details. He also noted that and that EMODnet Physics is very active in citizen science which is a growing area with increased interest from citizen science projects and initiatives to share their data with EMODnet.

    A remark was given about the repetitions of some datasets/products on different portals (e.g., the availability of some biogeochemical parameters on EMODnet Physics and EMODnet Chemistry). A discussion followed on “How EMODnet manages the links between portals?” concluding that the duplication of data and data products will be avoided with centralisation, offering a more holistic overview and seamless access to EMODnet data and data products from across thematic areas.

    EMODnet Seabed Habitats: Helen Lillis (HL, JNCC) explained that EMODnet Seabed Habitats depends upon data from other thematics for some key products (e.g. EUSeaMap dealing with e.g. physical data, depth, and chemistry). She added that one potential issue is that EMODnet Bathymetry does not have a contractual work obligation to provide bathymetry data layers or the Digital Terrain Model for the Caspian Sea, although this is a contractual requirement for EMODnet Seabed Habitats. This would require a meeting between the thematics, in dialogue with DG MARE and CINEA to resolve. She noted that when moving on to the centralisation, we have to think about the users’ point of view and avoid confusion.

    She noted that delays incurred in the previous contractual phase due to COVID were having a knock-on effect in the current phase. She also raised the issue that finding a thematic expert to partner with from the Caspian Sea had been a challenge although EMODnet Seabed Habitats is now working with a partner in Romania. She added that in some geographical areas e.g., Caspian Sea there are issues with a lack of data availability. 

    There were no questions for Seabed Habitats.

    EMODnet Biology: Joana Beja (JB, VLIZ) noted that EMODnet Biology also deals with data that are not necessarily biodiversity data (e.g. contaminants in biota).

    When asked about engagement with the Caribbean region and European overseas territories, JB noted that OBIS has an active node in the Caribbean and EMODnet Biology works closely with EurOBIS and OBIS. EMODnet Biology will therefore not activate that node but welcomes data that are submitted/offered from that region.

    When asked whether the data products can be enriched with data from Caribbean from OBIS, she noted that current EMODnet Biology data products and those under development are very much focused on European seas but that this question would be raised during their annual WP3 meeting the following week. It was proposed that the thematic could provide support in capacity building and other services, in collaboration with OBIS and an existing EMODnet Biology online course used by OBIS in global training sessions was highlighted that explains how to submit data to EMODnet Biology.

    Bathymetry: Dick Schaap (DS, MARIS) noted the latest developments of EMODnet Bathymetry on behalf of the Coordinators, SHOM.

    When asked about the work planned for the Venice Lagoon (tidal bathymetry) this was noted to be a very interesting area with a spectacular tidal pattern. The work on the Venice Lagoon is planned to be completed by the end of the year 2022. It was noted that in the future, more of these bathymetrically interesting locations could be mapped in more detail (e.g. UK, Bretagne).

    It was also noted that in Europe there are some interesting areas concerning bathymetry, such as the Wadden Sea with three countries (Germany, Denmark and Netherlands). It was noted there is a lot of detailed bathymetry data already openly available for this area although some gaps remain e.g., some data from Denmark.

    EMODnet Chemistry: Alessandra Giorgetti (AG, OGS) noted that over the years the scope and remit of EMODnet Chemistry has expanded. It was proposed that EMODnet Chemistry should consider if the thematic title was still relevant or if a new title was more fitting. This was noted to also be an opportunity for all thematics to consider this, considering the centralisation.

    The chemistry lot was asked whether there were any ambitions to handle ocean carbon data (pH, DIC, Alkalinity, pCO2). It was confirmed that EMODnet Chemistry is in contact with Benjamin Pfeil from the Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS) Ocean Thematic Centre who deliver the data management for ocean carbon and greenhouse gas emission data.

    It was noted that the JRC is absolutely delighted with their collaboration with EMODnet Chemistry and wishes to pursue this further and noted that this can be expanded further to include other lots.

    EMODnet Human Activities: Alessandra Pititto (AP, COGEA) highlighted that EMODnet Human Activities established an EMODnet data model for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) plans, and it is becoming the de facto standard plan. Some countries are already looking into publishing their plans in compliance with this model. As such, EMODnet Human Activities is sort of bridging a gap.

    It was highlighted that both the Secretariat and the thematic lots are approached more and more by the research community about data and various projects also (e.g. iAtlantic project need EMODnet Human Activities and environmental data). A discussion was held on how to handle these approaches, as well as, the possibility to enrich the datasets received from those contacts.

    Frontex is using EMODnet data on vessel density. Frontex was contacted for a discussion on their use of the data, as this could make an excellent use case, but there have not yet been any responses from Frontex.

    EMODnet Data ingestion: Dick Schaap (DS, MARIS) noted that EMODnet Data Ingestion (DI) started a new contract since April 2022. As a result migration and centralisation of DI will start after 2022. It was highlighted that DI is regularly contacted by industry with interesting data submissions. Some demands from the industry also come from the industry client themselves that want their data open.

    Key discussion points included:

    • The interest of both DI and the rest of the EMODnet network to provide good practices for data collection and sharing to the various marine communities;
    • How much of the data ingestion is due to chasing the producers by community. Which community is the easiest to reach, and which is not? It was explained that most data in DI is due to chasing after the data originators (about 90%), but some data producers do come by themselves and ask to publish their data. EMODnet still isn’t known by everybody, so work is needed by the EMOD-network to act as ambassadors. It was also noted that data sharing culture is different across the different thematics. Physics data is easiest to obtain due to the data sharing culture in the community. The most difficult is data from the Chemistry community due to diverse data. The Biology community ‘data culture’ is also different because data ownership is higher in that community due to the (sometimes) huge cost of collecting the data. It was also noted, that it is interesting that that the company/industry/NGO culture about data sharing has evolved and is done more easily by them. However, some work and training is still needed in terms of formats, but also the need for metadata.

    EMODnet thematic, data ingestion and Centralisation discussion and Q&A

    Following the thematic and data ingestion presentations where specific thematic questions were raised, a more general discussion followed. With regards to governance arrangements it was indicated that once centralisation is done, something to keep in mind is how to maintain the different products and services in practical and operational sense. It was confirmed that there is a development or staging environment in place where e.g. new products can first be tested before official release. It was indicated that in the future this could be done through JIRA.

    There are specific guidelines and framework conditions for the centralisation that will be communicated by the EC, and training offered. The Secretariat will also develop pre-publication guidelines/protocols to share with coordinators, so that there is shared responsibility and a safety check before the publication of static content and services.

    The Secretariat indicated it is important that the thematic coordinators and communication partners keep updating and contacting the Secretariat with a timetable for dataset/product releases.

    European Ocean Observing: Update on EC Ocean Observation initiative & EMODnet work plan alignment and contributions (desktop studies, targeted assessments, Representation on European Ocean Observing for a e.g., EOOS, future developments) – see PPTs

    Rémy Dénos (RD, EC DG MARE) gave an update on the European Commission (EC) Ocean Observation initiative (see slides). He noted that the objective of the EU Ocean Observation – sharing responsibility initiative is to bring transparency and foster collaborations between Member States. It was noted there remains a lack of standardisation and a need to work on best practices in the data collection efforts and reporting. RD noted that further information on the EC Ocean Observation initiative will be available in July 2022.

    It was pointed out that there is a bottom up coordination system for ocean observation from scientists (European Ocean Observing System, EOOS) and that overall coordination between initiatives has to be ensured.

    Kate Larkin (KL, Secretariat) presented the ongoing EMODnet activities in relation to European Ocean Observation, highlighting EMODnet and wider community activities to-date and noting the upcoming EMODnet Secretariat activities in the new workplan (2022-2023). These include an assessment of the added value and benefits of the EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints, desk studies and targeted assessments related to the mapping of marine data capacity and marine data pipeline from national to regional and European data services, and the ongoing representation of the EMODnet Secretariat and wider network to European and Global Ocean Observation governance meetings (e.g., EOOS), dialogues (e.g., EU4OceanObs) and events (e.g., EuroSea project meetings, GOOS, OECD and All Atlantic meetings).

    She invited the EMODnet Steering Committee to consider the two concept notes (SC Document 5) developed by the Secretariat outlining the scope, methodology and time-line for activities supporting the EC Ocean Observation initiative in 2022 and 2023 and to contact the Secretariat if they have any comments as soon as possible after the SC meeting.

    EMODnet for Business: Updates on events 2022 & interaction with MKEG – see PPT

    KL presented an update on EMODnet for Business, noting that the Secretariat and wider network were active at industry-led meetings and Conferences (e.g., Oceanology International, March 2022). She highlighted ongoing dialogue with Fugro who were interested in the EMODnet Associated Partnership Scheme and in data sharing and use opportunities.

    ZK noted that in Autumn 2022, EMODnet would organise two EMODnet for Business online events, both focusing on marine renewable energy. The workshops would have a regional focus, with one workshop covering the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, the other one will cover the North Sea and Baltic Sea. She added that this format would be repeated in 2023 focusing on a different industry/sector and that suggestions were welcome.

    The EMODnet Secretariat stated its interest to hear from all, and particularly the members of the EC MKEG, which industry events they think could be interesting to attend, which sectors EMODnet should focus on and how they think the relation with the Associated Partners could evolve.

    EMODnet Communication: updates on latest Strategy – see PPT

    Francis Strobbe (FS, Secretariat) presented the EMODnet Communication Strategy, which is being updated as part of the new Secretariat workplan. He reiterated that during and after centralisation there will be one central helpdesk, where thematic lot coordinators can follow up on user requests. He presented the value proposition of EMODnet and a new proposition for audience segmentation.

    JBC invited the SC to give feedback/ideas on any aspect of the Strategy, also for the newsletter, videos, infographics, etc. Existing material will be updated, in some cases there will be substantial changes.

    With regard to the audience segmentation, it was commented that “Data originators” should be added as an additional level before the “Data holders and managers” as the data collectors/originators are an important stakeholder in the marine data value chain. It was also suggested that the “Decision makers and funders” should be renamed to “Decision makers, policy makers and funders”.

    It was noted that the Secretariat communications team will be launching a tele-meeting to gather key contacts for communication from the different thematic lots, to brief everyone and create common guidelines and optimise the workflow.

    EMODnet flagship events 2022-2023 – see PPTs

    Open Sea Lab 3: Francis Strobbe presented the proposed concept for the upcoming Open Sea Lab (OSL) 3 in early 2023, highlighting the objectives and a preliminary timeline. The OSL3 will build on the success of the previous two OSL editions. There will be a call for co-creation in the Summer (2022). Key open questions on the table, still to be answered, were: will the hackathon be online vs hybrid? If hybrid, where will it take place?

    A concern was voiced by DG MARE (ZK) about the complexity of the event, noting that this could potentially be further optimised to be most efficient and yet still impactful. The Secretariat recognised it would be important to rationalise the human resources whilst ensuring that OSL3 was designed as an important stress-test for the EMODnet centralised data services. The importance of having multi-disciplinary challenges was also noted, together with the need to be not too restrictive and to offer a wild card to allow the community to come up with out-of-the-box ideas.

    Third EMODnet Open Conference 2023: Kate Larkin presented the early concept for the third EMODnet Open Conference 2023, to take place in late Autumn 2023. She noted the planning for this flagship event would start relatively soon, in parallel with the Open Sea Lab 3 preparations. She highlighted that after the Open Conference 2021 had to move to a largely online event (With hybrid hub in Ostend, Belgium), it would be important to organise in in-person physical event to bring the EMODnet-partnership together with the wider stakeholder community.

    It was noted that building on the successful co-operation of the coordinators in the previous (second) EMODnet Open Conference, the Secretariat welcomes input from coordinators on the programme content and overall planning. It was noted that the location is not yet fixed and coordinators were invited to send ideas for location, or offers for in-kind support to the Secretariat.

    External partnerships and interactions

    European partnerships: Copernicus Marine Service, Regional Sea Conventions & Other - see PPT

    KL presented an overview of the recent partnerships and interactions of EMODnet at European level, including the important collaboration with Copernicus Marine Service.

    Following the dialogue at the 15th SC on Regional Sea Convention dialogue, the SC decided to further coordinate across thematic, data ingestion and Secretariat interactions.

    It was asked whether EMODnet has any priorities in the list of partners or if they have any key partners. It was explained that EMODnet has been built from a community up, from a core stakeholder group. Now that EMODnet is very mature, it is timely to enhance the dialogue up and down the stream, with the ocean observing community to also diversifying the data providers to include also citizen science, industry, and with users. The EC DG MARE noted that EMODnet is already investing time into these dialogues e.g., with the European ocean observing communities.

    The number of requests from projects shows the visibility and relevance of EMODnet, but in some cases we need to be selective. EC DG MARE confirmed EMODnet is a big network and demands are higher than in the beginning. The priorities are: (i) making the user base larger and expanding to new categories of users, and (ii) becoming the foundation of the Digital Twin Ocean (DTO). A huge volume of activity will be generated from Mission Ocean. It will be important to look at the Work Programme to identify where the working load will be. It was pointed out that the development of partnerships is a shared responsibility, that the Secretariat plays a facilitator role, and that the Secretariat and thematic coordinators share the load.

    It was also noted that the mandate of EMODnet is to support all Directives related to the sea (e.g. Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD), etc.) and for this reason the EMODnet SC includes representation from across EC DGs, including DG ENV. It was noted it may be timely to revisit the Nature Directives and see what progress has been made over the years.

    EMODnet for society: European Atlas of the Seas, EU4Ocean #MakeEUBlue – see PPT

    Tim Collart (TC, Secretariat) presented the European Atlas of the Seas. Almost half of the currently available 300 layers originate from EMODnet, with the EMODnet Secretariat also powering the technical coordination and communication of the tool.

    Nathalie Van Isacker (NVI, Secretariat) highlighted the three objectives of the European Atlas of the Seas Communication Strategy, which was updated to adapt it to the audience: (i) to inform users of the dynamics in the atlas, (ii) to connect with them, (iii) to expand the audiences and reach out to new users. NVI then introduced EU4Ocean as the European Ocean literacy coalition set-up in 2020 connecting marine and maritime stakeholders for joint actions in ocean sustainability and ocean literacy. She explained that EU4Ocean launched an advocacy campaign with the objective to show how everybody is connected to the ocean (#MakeEUBlue). She added that EMODnet has delivered nine pledges including the EMODnet Secretariat, European Atlas of the Seas, seven thematics and data ingestion. 

    KL noted that these EMODnet pledges were very welcome and completed the 15th SC Action for Coordinators to submit pledges. A promotion campaign was underway through EMODnet twitter to communicate these EMODnet pledges to the wider public. It was mentioned that the EU ocean literacy summit will take place on 20 May 2022 as part of European Maritime Day 2022 in Ravenna, Italy. The EMODnet Secretariat would be active at the Summit and would also be showcasing the European Atlas of the Seas.

    Global partnerships: EMOD-PACE, IODE, GEOSS & GEO-Blue Planet, UN Ocean Decade – see PPT

    JBC presented EMODnet activities at the global level. He noted that Europe has one of the most advanced capabilities in ocean data and marine knowledge sharing in the world. He added the datasets that EMODnet collectively integrates, standardises and makes available are becoming increasingly relevant.

    He presented that under the UN Ocean Decade (UN OD), a Data Coordination platform was set up with two components (Data Coordination Group and Technical Data Group). EMODnet is represented with JBC as co-Chair, a good platform to share its expertise in this forum and the wider international community. He added the main aim of the platform is to discuss how to best develop a strategy for the UN OD. EMODnet already contributes to the UN OD through the Decade Actions DITTO, COAST PREDICT and Ocean Best Practices.

    With this growing number of roles and demands, and to keep track of who does what and where in all of these OD initiatives, JBC explained it had been decided to also set up an internal EMODnet4OceanDecade Coordination Group, open to all EMODnet partners (core, associated, ...). In the coming weeks there will be a kick-off meeting of this group.

    A discussion was held on the relationship between the EMODnet Coordination group and the UN OD coordination group. The Secretariat explained that the EMODnet4OceanDecade is an internal (EMODnet) group, open to all partner organizations who can send one or more persons, set up to provide clarity and internal coordination. The remit of this (internal) group is to act as a channel between everything happing in the Decade, exchange information and how to strategically send resources; while the Ocean Decade coordination group (35 people only) is driven by IOC and the Decade Coordination Unit.

    The Secretariat noted that a number of applications had already been received for the internal EMODnet4OceanDecade Coordination Group, but the call to the EMOD-network would be relaunched.

    It was noted that EMODnet is already committing a lot of in-kind support to the UN OD on top of its workplan and the EC was invited to think about what dedicated sources can be made available for this, noting that invitations, 

    opportunities and demands would continue to increase throughout the UN Ocean Decade which is ongoing until 2030. 

    Two upcoming EMODnet for global events were noted, namely two UN OD satellite activities of the Laboratory on a transparent and accessible ocean:

    1. EMODnet-Copernicus Marine Service event on EU marine data services for the All-Atlantic and Global Ocean Data Spaces, 11 May 2022 PM;
    2. EMOD-PACE-CEMDnet EU-China marine data interoperability, 11 May 2022 AM

    External events: Recent and upcoming to end of 2022

    It was noted that Document 4 lists the events where EMODnet will participate, present and/or co-organise until end of September 2022.

    EC DG MARE updated the EMODnet SC that the EC is organising the 10th anniversary of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the EC and International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO):

    Closing remarks and Any Other Business (AOB)

    The 16th Steering Committee convened on Thursday 28th April 2022 for a closed meeting.



    Day 2, Monday 16th  May 2022

    9:30-12:30: EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group (Closed session)

    Welcome & introduction


    Zoi Konstantinou (ZK, EC DG MARE A1) welcomed all EC MKEG experts to the second session of the 6th MKEG meeting, noting this was a closed session for MKEG members only, chaired by the EC DG MARE, with reporting by the EMODnet Secretariat. She referred to discussions that had already taken place at the Open Session of the EMODnet 16th Steering Committee on 27 April 2022, noting that this Closed Session offered a chance for further discussion on the following EMODnet and related activities: 

    • Updates on EMOD-PACE data collaboration with China;
    • Discussion on the status of EMODnet services and progress of the integration of EMODnet portals towards fully centralised EMODnet services by the end of 2022;
    • Feedback and discussion on the EU Ocean Observation initiative progress, on the challenges and opportunities and on links with the European Ocean Observing Community;
    • Updates and discussion on the European Digital Twin Ocean developments and impact on EMODnet.

    Zoi then introduced the new MARE A1 Deputy Head of Unit Rémy Dénos (RD, DG MARE A1) noting his role spans EMODnet, European Atlas of the Seas, the EC Ocean Observation initiative and the EC Maritime Forum. She also introduced Marcin Sadowski (MS, DG MARE A1) noting his role including the EU-China EMOD-PACE project. She invited the EC Marine Knowledge Expert Group members to introduce themselves in a short tour-de-table.

    Gus Jeans (GJ): Physical oceanographer, Met-ocean consultant and intermediate user of all types of marine data mainly physical marine environmental parameters; co-Chair of IMAREST special interest group operational oceanography.

    Quillon Harpham (QH): Hydrographics informatics expert at HR Wallingford, specialist in metadata working in the areas of hydrodynamics, offshore energy sitting between academia and industry.

    Fiona Buckley (FB): Marine engineer working in Research and Development (R&D) at a major utility company, working in the areas of offshore construction for the Marine Renewable Energy sector including the development of offshore parks.

    Other MKEG members joined throughout the session (see Annex I for the full list of participants).


    Updates on EMOD-PACE data collaboration with China – See PPT 


    ZK noted that the EMOD-PACE project is an EU-China project engaging all EMODnet Coordinators and the National Marine Data & Information Service (NMDIS) in China. It is a key example of EMODnet’s regional partnerships beyond Europe. She explained that the Terms and Conditions of EMOD-PACE specify to present updates from EMOD-PACE to EC MKEG.

    Julie Auerbach (JA, EMODnet Secretariat) presented an overview of the status of EMOD-PACE. She noted that a high-level partnership meeting had taken place between EMOD-PACE partners, the EC (multiple services) and the National Marine Data and Information Service (NMDIS) on 11-12 May 2022. She highlighted:

    • EMOD-PACE Map viewer: Invitation to explore, with data and metadata:!/;
    • The EMOD-PACE project has established a brokerage platform through Geodab, as a collaboration between EMODnet and NMDIS. The project has also  set up an ERDDAP server to host all data made available through the collaboration with China, which includes 29 perameters for bathymetry, chemistry, physics and biology. It is planned in the coming months to increase the number of datasets. There is the aim to have the brokerage in place as a long-term sustainable resource, which can sustain the efforts made during the EMOD-PACE project;
    • Common workplans (CWPs) have been developed in the first year of the project between EMOD-PACE EU partners and CEMDnet counterparts from NMDIS. These CWPs have since been progressed and several supporting joint activities have resulted. These products support the optimal achievement of the EMOD-PACE contractual objectives;
    • The substantive work-packages, i.e., 1, 2 ad 3 are working upon the final product layers as well as the reports which will support their interpretation and analysis. Final reports will be available for review by mid September 2022 and will be publicly accessible;
    • Work Package 4 Seabed Habitat analysis is producing risk/hazard maps for the Bay of Biscay, with the potential for use in the implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) and is conducting habitat mapping for an Asian sea-basin and is assessing environmental carrying capacity;
    • Work Package 5 Coastal adaptation is developing marine traffic routes according to likely climate change/adaption and is developing products on wetland degradation, coming soon;
    • In the future it is planned to expand the remit and network to ensure that wider stakeholders are aware of EMOD-PACE. Potential avenues include engagement with the Ocean Data and Information Network for the Western Pacific (ODINWESTPAC) through the Chinese focal point based within NMDIS;
    • On 11 May 2022 EMOD-PACE had co-organised a satellite activity within the United Nations Ocean Decade Laboratory “an accessible ocean”. Speakers included those from Europe and China as well as from Malaysia and Thailand presenting how they collaborate with NMDIS already, and providing an opportunity to identify common areas for synergy and collaboration. These countries have expressed an interest to join the EMOD-PACE CEMDnet Partnership in order to make marine/maritime data accessible. The satellite activity also provided a public platform for communicating about the project with a view to further increasing the impact of project outputs and extending the stakeholders aware of, and using the EMOD-PACE Map viewer and other outputs;
    • In terms of legacy, the Legacy working document is being developed, to optimise the impacts with focused communication, promotion and outreach to make the project visible to wider stakeholders;
    • An online survey for the Map Viewer is open now (;
    • A questionnaire specifically for EC MKEG will be circulated in the coming weeks, which will refer to the updated map-viewer with enhanced functionality, e.g., increased number of products, and selection of specific areas of interest by bounding boxes. Final results will be presented to MKEG later this year e.g., at the 17th EMODnet Steering Committee (October 2022, to be confirmed).


    QH recognised the progress made and noted the many static data layers (S China Sea and coast of India) already available. He had the following questions and suggestions:

    • He noted that the ‘download’ animated data layers do not yet download and had a more general question about downloading the data. He suggested this could be made more clear with a ‘download button’ and requested more information on access to the EMOD-PACE ERDDAP and the knowledge broker.
      • The EMODnet Secretariat responded that currently the download function is only available for imagery, but that the project is looking into download functionalists as a Web Feature Service (WFS). They also noted that some datasets take a long time to download. For example, Relative Sea Level is a huge dataset so there are delays in loading – this is being worked upon. You can select shorter time spans to make the download easier and faster. See post-meeting note below for information on access data download, etc.
    • He noted that the EMOD-PACE project could potentially communicate more strongly about the added value i.e. what can I get on the map viewer/from this project that I cannot get elsewhere?
    • He noted his interest regarding further data sharing and interoperability by the EMOD-PACE collaboration with NMDIS.
      • The EMODnet Secretariat responded that there is a plan with China to make more data available from thematic areas of Bathymetry, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. This is ongoing.


    Post meeting note: Following the request for further information on the download function for EMOD-PACE, the following information is shared by EMOD-PACE WP1 on how to download the data:


    2) e.g. select the layer "Vessel traffic density All 2019" (available in EU-China EMOD-PACE project > Products)

    3) click the (i) icon next to the name - a pop-up is displayed with a hyperlink 'Download'.

    To note, not all layers have such a "Download" button - something that will be added in the future. Another way to download data is by checking the catalogue:


    2) use the searchbox: e.g.: 'DY37-MEO-GTS'

    3) Click the first result (

    4) Click the "..." in the tab pages (next to [...], Quality, DomainConsistancy) and select 'Distribution'

    5) Scroll down to "Linkage", there you'll find the link to download the data.

    Licenses are Creative Commons (CC-BY) for the EU data and biological data from NMIDS seems to be CC-BY-NC (non-commercial) (according to IPT). EMOD-PACE is under discussion with NMDIS for licenses of other datasets.

    The new EMOD-PACE map viewer will be available by Autumn 2022 and will be more intuitive, with download possible by selecting/drawing a bounding box/. Users will be able to select the (subset) of the data they want to download – further information will follow, upon its release.

    Jan-Bart Calewaert (JBC, EMODnet Secretariat) noted that EMOD-PACE enables collaboration across a triple axis:

    • Partnership establish collaboration;
    • making data harmonised and openly accessible and interoperable (technical challenges);
    • Tools (ERDDAP flexible and quick way for datasets to be shared and brokerage service based on GEODAP – more data preparation needed back-end and products vessel density maps etc.).

    ZK noted that EMODnet has proven the added value of creating interoperability between different Member States. EMOD-PACE is a first concrete initiative working in marine data interoperability in a bilateral country outside of the EU. It had been a challenge to build trust and share capacity. From a strategic point of view it was important for EC DG MARE and could extend to the wider Asia region and could be replicated in other regions.

    In conclusion, it was noted that a lot of progress has been made in EMOD-PACE so far. Comments from EC MKEG inputs are welcomed at any time and all insights can be taken up in EMOD-PACE tri-monthly reports. Further updates on EMOD-PACE will be presented at the next EMODnet 17th Steering Committee Open Session which is planned as a physical event in Belgium.


    Discussion on input from EMODnet Thematic groups and on the progress of the integration of EMODnet portals – see PPTs from EMODnet 16th SC open session

    ZK noted that EMODnet was centralising all services by the end of 2022, moving towards a single point of access for EMODnet lots. She explained:

    • The EMODnet Central Portal (CP) has already been transferred under the Europa domain, under corporate identity of the EC. She noted the benefits of this include the increased security that Europa domain provides and the branding that shows the importance of EMODnet for the EC;
    • Currently, existing static content from each thematic portal is being transferred, to maintain content for the community of users;
    • After centralization, thematic portals would cease to exist, with the single point of entry being the EMODnet Central Portal. All thematic lots and experts will keep working back-end to deliver the services;
    • EMODnet Data Ingestion will also be centralised, although this is a longer time-line for centralization in 2023;
    • EMODnet centralization is a good preparation for the infrastructure to support the Digital Twin Ocean;
    • Centralisation will also help with EMODnet for Business, offering a more simplified user interface;
    • The pilot map viewer was demonstrated although at this point it is not possible to provide direct access to the staging environment. It was noted there will be an opportunity to do this in Autumn 2022;
    • The next Open Sea Lab III (Hackathon) planned for Spring 2023 would be a good stress-test of EMODnet centralised services;
    • The new Central Portal (CP) would be the platform to allow many things to scale up in EMODnet, including European and International relations and support to the EC OO initiative;


    Feedback and discussion on the EU Ocean Observation initiative progress, on the challenges and opportunities and on links with the European Ocean Observing Community – see PPTs from EMODnet 16th SC open session

    RD gave an overview of the EU Ocean Observation – sharing responsibility (OO) initiative, highlighting the challenges and the rationale for more efficient planning, coordination, sharing of information and development of common standards to lead to cost savings. Currently many ministries are involved in Ocean Observation. It was stressed that the OO will not provide data, but a gateway for data and that the initiative is currently focused on public organisations.

    GJ was very supportive, nothing that further coordination in data collection was essential to help support the energy transition from both a climate and geo-political perspective. He reflected that different countries are doing different things and also have different levels of open information. He also noted the opportunity to have dialogue with offshore wind developments to see if data sharing can be initiated earlier on, and also more exchange on useful marine (e.g., from EMODnet) and atmospheric data for the sector.

    KL noted that the EMODnet 'offer' of physical parameters does include wind speed and direction. EMODnet Physics currently covers temperature, salinity and currents profiles, sea level trends, wave height and period, wind speed and direction, water turbidity (light attenuation), underwater noise, river flow, and sea-ice coverage. In situ data recorded by fixed platforms (moorings, tide gauges, HF radars, etc.), moving platforms (ARGO, Lagrangian buoys, ferryboxes, etc.) and repeated observations (CTDs, etc.) are available. Data products are collections of in-situ data, reanalysis and trends of parameters, space and time aggregated in situ data and model outputs.

    She added that EMODnet welcome more data especially from the private sector and the EMODnet for Business events in September 2022 with the Marine Renewable Offshore Energy sector will be important for raising awareness and communicating the win-win benefits of data sharing with EMODnet, and the multiple and diverse uses of the data to support operations at sea.

    It was noted that EMODnet Human Activities are already offering a platform for national Maritime Spatial Planning plans with 5 Member States already sharing their MSP plans. There is ongoing dialogue harmonise such MSPs under same nomenclature.

    Liliana Rusu (LS, EC MKEG) who joined later in the meeting congratulated the EMODnet team on a great job done so far. She noted that she used various data provided by the platform (wave measurements, bathymetry and vessel traffic density). She remarked:

    • It would be useful to find some wave measurements (especially the main wave parameters that are used in various applications, such as significant wave height, mean wave period, peak period, wave energy period, and mean wave direction) with the same format in the downloaded files. Now we can find various formats depending on who provides the data measurements;
    • It would be interesting to be able to identify the geographical coordinates for the vessel routes (based on vessel traffic density) in an area chosen by the user, in order to analyse the evolution of the sea state conditions along the chosen routes, etc.


    GJ noted that the United Nations Ocean Decade (UN OD) was also an important initiative that would accelerate the energy transition and would see greater industry involvement, where EMODnet can further expand its role.

    KL noted that there is a UN OD Data Coordination Group Platform that has been set up to develop a strategy and coordinate efforts related to marine data for the UN OD. Jan-Bart Calewaert is co-Chair of this group and EMODnet is already active in this, and a number of UN OD actions, collaborative centres and laboratory activities.

    JBC added that an additional group dedicated to the private sector was being set up which would also further mobilise industry into data sharing, in the context of the UN OD. He also noted that EMODnet has applied – together with Fugro, IOC-UNESCO, Copernicus Marine Service and VLIZ, for a side event on marine data interoperability at the UN Ocean Conference. Further information would be sent to the EC MKEG upon news of the submission. 

    GJ reacted saying that at IMAREST, Steve De Mora (IMAREST Ambassador for the UN OD) and Bev Mackenzie (BIMCO) would also be good people to involve

    KL presented EMODnet Secretariat activities supporting EU OO initiative 2022-2023 (see separate PPT). She noted that since a few years the EMODnet Secretariat workplan has included support to connecting with the ocean observation community, in the context of the EU Ocean Observation initiative. In the new workplan which started January 2022, the EMODnet Secretariat are involved in the following three key activities:

    Task 5.1: Assess benefits of EMODnet Sea-basin Checkpoints

    Task 5.2: Support DG MARE in advancing activities related to Ocean Observation (OO) governance in the EU through targeted assessments and focused studies

    Task 5.3: Continue strengthen dialogue with key European OO actors to align EMODnet with EOOS process & Contribute targeted input, advice and expertise at third EMODnet Conference and Jamboree.


    The presentation provided examples of past, present and future activities, including the methodology and time-line for new activities. Further contact would be taken up with EMODnet Sea-Basin Checkpoint Coordinators and the wider community, including EC MKEG for input to these activities, as they develop.

    ZK then introduced the concept for EMODnet for Business workshops in 2022. These will be a series of two webinars taking place in September 2022 targeted at the Marine Renewable Energy sector to bring together operators of offshore platforms, intermediate and end users, data services, national authorities and more to demonstrate the value of EMODnet data and data products for this sector, and to encourage actors from the sector to provide data to EMODnet through Data Ingestion. She invited suggestions from the EC MKEG on key actors and stakeholders to invite, noting further opportunities to input would follow in the coming weeks.

    GJ recommended to engage the Global energy council and Wind Europe.


    Updates and discussion on the European Digital Twin Ocean developments and impact on EMODnet – see PPT 

    EU Digital Twin Ocean

    ZK provided an overview of the current status of development on the European Digital Twin Ocean (DTO) and related Horizon Europe, Mission Ocean and other funding. She noted the Horizon Europe Green Deal call (19 Million Euro) had been awarded to project ILIAD. She noted this project and wider developments would take into consideration the investment into assets like EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service and the European Marine Research Infrastructures.

    She also updated the EC MKEG about the EU Mission Restore our ocean and (inland) waters by 2030 (Mission Ocean) in support to the EU Green Deal and Digital Agenda, noting an upcoming Mission Ocean 2022 public presentation on 17 May 2022. The Mission Ocean is the larger framework for the European DTO, where the DTO will contribute to the cross-cutting areas of the European Digital ocean and water knowledge system. For this, she noted that the core infrastructure / back-bone for the DTO (i.e. upgrading of EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service) would need to be ready by 2024. ZK noted there was a grant for dedicated beneficiaries already in place to make this happen, and there would be more funding opportunities for the community to participate in this endeavor in due course.

    After 2024 the DTO will be an upcoming part into the Destination Earth which will link various and diverse twins from different thematics and disciplines. And she noted the aspiration and long-term goal is that by 2030, ocean modelling will take place through the Digital Twin Ocean.

    The EC MKEG raised the issue of interoperability as key to achieving the Digital Twin Ocean(s).

    ZK highlighted that data are the most important aspect of this application – applications will follow but will only be as good as the data. She noted that the EC will coordinate actions as much as possible towards a common vision: There will be 1 platform in which multiple platforms will be able to co-develop. Copernicus, EMODnet and ILIAD are in close collaboration for the shared vision and developments towards the same direction.

    She noted coordination across the community was already happening, referring to the Digital Ocean Forum which took place on 20-21 April 2022 in Paris where 70 marine, digital, modelling experts from across Europe came together to discuss the challenges created by this challenge. She also noted the DITTO Summit which took place in London in early May 2022 and gathered the international community (30 countries) in London discussed this. At the base of these endeavours is the need for collaboration and integration is the need to develop interoperability between data something promoted through EMODnet and international channels.

    She added that the DTO will be a public good and service for all. Actions in the next Mission Ocean calls and actions coming from other intervention areas across clusters of Horizon Europe are an opportunity for the research community to work closer with private sector and wider society, including engaging different users that may come from different directions to ensure success.



    QH noted that the DTO is an enormous standards initiative. Common, sensible and agreed standards were essential to make it a success. He noted that EMODnet has shown its not easy to get people to supply data in common standards, but it has achieved it. It would be essential to learn from progress made in the past.

    He also noted a Environmental Modelling and Software paper[1] he had published on standards how to choose based on spatio-temporal data. He proposed to give a presentation on this at a future meeting.

    GJ noted that quantification of uncertainty also a large challenge.

    ZK agreed that interpretability of data (provenance, uncertainties etc) and using standards were key. She recognized that a lot of such work in technical development, standards etc was ‘hidden work’ needed back-end, and yet crucial to underpin the DTO.

    Any Other Business (AOB)

    It was reiterated that EMODnet Secretariat and EC DG MARE would very much like to have MKEG experts involved to mobilise and to help shape the agenda for the EMODnet for Business events in September 2022 targeted at the Marine Renewable Energy Sector. Further communication would follow to ask input to identify key actors and stakeholders to participate and play active roles in these two webinars.

    KL noted that EMODnet continues to engage with key actors across the European and Global Landscape, referring to a recent online webinar EU marine data services for the All-Atlantic and Global Ocean Data Spaces co-organised by EMODnet and Copernicus Marine Service, with the support of the European Commission, in the framework of the All AtlaNtic Cooperation for Ocean Research and innovation (AANChOR) project. As an approved satellite activity of the UN Ocean Decade LAboratory “An accessible Ocean” this webinar included presentations by EU marine data services, concrete use cases from the diverse user community and an interactive Panel on achieving marine data interoperability for the All-Atlantic Data Enterprise 2030 and Global Ocean Data Ecosystem. EMODnet Bathymetry, Seabed Habitats, Data Ingestion experts together with the EMODnet Secretariat will speak in a diverse programme that includes speakers and panelists from EMODnet; Copernicus Marine Service; the European Commission; AANCHOR; FAO; the international research community e.g., UNIVALI Brazil; Private sector/industry e.g., Fugro; NGOs e.g., Okeanos Foundation for the sea and more.

    KL then highlighted two upcoming events of potential interest for EC MKEG:

    European Maritime Day 2022 19-20 May 2022 (hybrid): EMODnet co-organised EMD2022 stakeholder workshop (Number 9) on 19 May 2022 15:45-16:45 CEST: titled “Ocean Observation, Marine Data and Services for the EU Green Deal” in collaboration with the European H2020 Blue-Cloud and EuroSea projects and the wider research community. The workshop will include a number of EMODnet experts from Bathymetry, Biology and Data Ingestion, together with other experts spanning the marine knowledge value chain from ocean observations to data services and marine knowledge users. In addition, the European Commission are organizing a thematic session (number 4 on 19 May 10:15-11:15 CEST) on “Ocean Observation and the Blue Economy Observatory”

    EU4Ocean European Ocean Literacy Summit 20 May 2022: The EU4Ocean Coalition is an initiative to connect and mobilise people, projects, organisations and initiatives for join actions on Ocean Literacy for Ocean Sustainability. Supported by the European Commission, EU4Ocean organised its first EU4Ocean European Ocean Literacy Summit on 20 May 2022, hosted by European Maritime Day in Ravenna, Italy. The event will bring together partners and wider practitioners from the marine and maritime community to showcase and celebrate achievements of the first two years of the EU4Ocean Coalition for Ocean Literacy Participation is possible on-site and online.

    KL invited MKEG members to notify the EMODnet Secretariat if there are interesting external events, particularly by the business and blue economy sector. EMODnet was always open to opportunities to connect more with the marine and maritime business and events would be added to the EMODnet Central Portal website events calendar, with a view to increasing the dissemination of information to the wider EMOD-network, and identifying priority events to participate in.

    To conclude, ZK thanked all MKEG members for their contributions and noted that the meeting minutes would be made available on the EC Maritime Forum in due course.

    Annex I: List of Participants

    EC MKEG members

    *Present only in MKEG Session 1 (Wednesday 27 April 2022 full day)

    ** Present only in MKEG Session 2 (Monday 16 May 2022 morning)

    ***Present in both MKEG Sessions 1 and 2


    EC MKEG Participant


    Liliana Rusu***

    "Dunarea de Jos" University of Galati

    Katarzyna Chojnacka*

    Wroclaw university of Science and Technology

    Gerben J De Boer*

    Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors B.V.

    Gus Jeans**

    Oceanalysis Ltd

    Ana Martos Barba *

    Iberdrola Engineering and Construction

    Fiona Buckley**

    Engie lab LABORELEC

    Toste Tanhua*

    GEOMAR Helmholtz centre for Ocean Research Kiel

    Quillon Harpham***

    HR Wallingford, UK

    Anagnopoulos Nikolaos*



    EMODnet Steering Committee, Technical Working Group and EC and CINEA representatives attending the Joint Session on Wednesday 27 April 2022

    * Apologies  ** Attended both the 16th SC open session and the EC MKEG Closed Session on 16 May 2022

    EMODnet Steering Committee and Technical Working Group

    EMODnet Thematic portal




    Dick Schaap

    MARIS, The Netherlands


    Henry Vallius

    GTK, Finland

    Bjarni Pjetursson

    GEUS, Denmark


    Uffe Larsen

    GEUS, Denmark


    Ulla Alanen

    GTK, Finland

    Seabed Habitats

    Mickäel Vasquez

    Ifremer, France

    Helen Lillis

    JNCC, UK

    Graeme Duncan

    JNCC, UK


    Alessandra Giorgetti

    OGS, Italy

    Menashè Eliezer

    OGS, Italy

    Erik Geletti

    OGS, Italy


    Joana Beja

    VLIZ, Belgium


    Patrick Gorringe

    SMHI, Sweden

    Marco Alba

    ETT, Italy

    Antonio Novellino

    ETT Italy

    Human Activities

    Alessandro Pititto

    COGEA, Italy

    Luigi Falco

    COGEA, Italy

    Data Ingestion

    Dick Schaap

    MARIS, The Netherlands

    Sissy Iona

    HCMR, Greece

    Central Portal

    Joana Beja

    VLIZ, Belgium

    Frederic Leclercq

    VLIZ, Belgium

    Bart Vanhoorne

    VLIZ, Belgium






    EMODnet Secretariat

    Jan-Bart Calewaert**

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Kate Larkin**

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Conor Delaney

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Tim Collart

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Nathalie Van Isacker

    EMODnet  Secretariat

    Nathalie Tonné

    EMODnet  Secretariat

    Francis Strobbe

    EMODnet  Secretariat

    Cécile Nys

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Julie Auerbach**

    EMODnet Secretariat

    Seascape Belgium

    Julia Vera

    Seascape Belgium


    Rémy Dénos**

    DG MARE A1

    Zoi Konstantinou**

    DG MARE A1

    Grigore Rischitor**

    DG MARE A1



    Marcin Sadowski**

    DG MARE A1

    Chantal Vanhove

    DG MARE A1

    Iain Shepherd

    Senior expert advisor, DG MARE


    Juan Carlos Fernández Gomez


    Lucie Pautet


    Fabrice Pourceau