The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) is an EU public marine data service of the EC Directorate-General Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), providing a European focal point and trusted source of in situ (field/in-water derived) marine data and data products, upon which many marine and maritime users depend.
EMODnet is made possible by a large network of experts (partners) who work with diverse data collectors and providers, data management initiatives e.g., SeaDataNet and others to aggregate, standardise and harmonise in situ marine data from the surface ocean to seafloor, spanning hundreds of parameters across the thematics of bathymetry, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, seabed habitats and human activities. In addition, EMODnet produces free and open access to added value data products, ranging from composite maps (e.g., Vessel Denisty) to Digital Terrain Models (Bathymetry), EUSeaMap (Seabed Habitats). In addition to marine environmental and human activities data, EMODnet also hosts the National Maritime Spatial Plans, offering these in geospatial formats.
From EMODnet’s inception in 2009, more than 120 organisations across Europe, together with thousands of experts, have continuously evolved EMODnet into the operational EU marine data service it is today. Throughout it all, EMODnet has retained and expanded its dynamic hub of marine data expertise and knowledge, connecting data providers, data managers, ICT experts and developers delivering innovative data products with a widening and ever-expanding user community.
Since the last EMODnet Open Conference on 14-16 June 2021, EMODnet has delivered the landmark achievement of full unification of thematic services, launching an upgraded Central Portal with centralised features and functionalities that are proving a game-changer for users. Whilst this landmark achievement saw all of EMODnet’s seven thematic portals being discontinued, the EMODnet ‘engine’ of thematic expertise continues behind the scenes, with EMODnet Data Ingestion centralisation ongoing in 2023.
EMODnet continues to evolve as the operational EU in situ marine data service, also increasing and diversifying its contribution to the European and global marine data community. This has been conducted in close alignment with and contribution to the wider marine/maritime landscape, namely evolving European marine data services to deliver next generation Marine Knowledge to underpin the multiple facets of the EU Green Deal (launched 2019), the EU strategy on adaptation to climate change (launched 2021), REPowerEU, Mission Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030 and its regional sea-basin lighthouses, the EU Digital Strategy and European Digital Twin Ocean, and global initiatives including the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and the UN 2030 Agenda.
EMODnet continues to evolve, responding to user feedback and emerging policy and user requirements. At a European level, EMODnet has:
- Continued its collaboration with SeaDataNet and National Oceanographic Data Centres, Research Infrastructures, Regional Sea Conventions, ICES and others, to optimise data flows into EMODnet;
- Continued to strengthen its partnership with Copernicus Marine Service including to:
- Provide EMODnet integrated in situ data to Copernicus Marine Service In Situ Thematic Assembly Centre (TAC), to validate satellite-derived data and as input to modelling activities;
- Deliver the backbone infrastructure and data lake for the European Digital Twin Ocean, and marine component of the EU Green Deal Data Space;
- Align and compliment EU marine data services for key societal areas e.g., coastal resilience;
- For EU Policy:
- For Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), EMODnet is actively collaborating with EC JRC, amongst others, to deliver the most comprehensive EU marine litter database to support Descriptor 10, and working with other MSFD Technical Groups to further optimize EMODnet marine environmental data use in MSFD National assessments, also in dialogue with European Environment Agency and EC (DG MARE and ENV);
- For Maritime Spatial Planning, EMODnet Human Activities now hosts EU Member States National Maritime Spatial Plans, together with a plethora of other data and information on human activities at sea, a truly unique EU asset, particularly considering the interoperability with cross-border marine environmental data, delivered by the same EMODnet service;
- For the Blue Economy, EMODnet has paved the way for private-public data sharing to accelerate the green transition, investing in dialogues with marine and maritime sectors including Marine Aquaculture (2020-2021), Offshore Renewable Energy (2022) and Coastal Tourism (2023), and in international efforts in this area, including with the IOC-UNESCO (see below);
- EMODnet is set to continue expand its relevance to wider society, including increasing the ingestion of data from societal activities e.g., citizen science that deliver ocean observations to fill data gaps in key regions e.g., Arctic and coastal zone, and increasing the use of EMODnet data by society through expanding the provision of EMODnet data layers into the EC Communication tool the European Atlas of the Seas which is powered by EMODnet and increasing its impact across Europe and beyond for wider society, including for ocean literacy and formal/informal education.
- At a global level:
- EMODnet has completed its first bilateral collaboration between EU-China (EMOD-PACE), providing EU best practice in marine data interoperability and data sharing, paving the way for new regional partnerships worldwide, including EU-Canada, building on the first meeting in October 2022;
- EMODnet is now an endorsed Implementing Partner of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (UN Ocean Decade) and has set up its own internal EMODnet UN Ocean Decade group to coordinate EMODnet inputs and activities for the UN Ocean Decade, including the UN Ocean Decade Data Coordination Group, advice to UN Ocean Decade actions and Collaborative Centres;
- EMODnet is embedded as a key European actor in the international Ocean Information Hub (Ocean Infohub) of the IOC-UNESCO IODE;
- EMODnet has actively contributed to multiple IODE Ocean Data Conferences, including Sopot, Poland (2022) and Paris, France (March, 2023);