The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) is a network of organisations supported by the EU’s integrated maritime policy and funded by the European Commission (DG Mare). These organisations work together to monitor the sea, process the data according to international standards, and make this information freely available as interoperable data layers and data products. This “collect once and use many times” philosophy benefits all marine data users, including policy makers, scientists, private industry and the public. It has been estimated that such an integrated marine data policy will save at least one billion euros per year, as well as opening up new opportunities for innovation and growth.For more information, see EMODnet Central Portal.

The challenges are tasks that have been chosen in order to make the bridge with end-user applications and to test how comprehensive and accurate the monitoring and forecasting datasets are at a Mediterranean scale. They include the blue economy sector (offshore industry, fisheries), marine environment understanding (for MFSD health assessments and climate change issues) preservation of natural resources and biodiversity (Protected Marine Areas and red list species), 7 areas altogether:

  1. Windfarm Farm Siting
  2. Marine Protected Areas
  3. Oil Platforms Leaks
  4. Climate and Coastal Protection
  5. Fisheries Management
  6. Marine Environment
  7. River Inputs

For more information on challenges see Challenges Section.

The regional Checkpoint projects are quality-monitoring system assessments aimed at clarifying the observation landscape at the scale of the marine region. The assessment methodology has defined the monitoring information system (ie. the framework for the collection of descriptors and indicators) and its supporting GIS Platform to hold and manage all this information in order for its assessment and to make the results available to users. The assessment is performed by developing targeted products based on the monitoring data and by determining whether the products are meeting the needs of industry and public authorities (the fitness for use).


For more information on the methodology applied see Checkpoint Information Section.

The target audiences are the research community, the European ‘institutional’ policy makers, the ‘intermediate users’, i.e., users capable of understanding basic raw data but who benefit from seeing the Checkpoint targeted products and the assessment of the fitness for purpose. 

User categories and Checkpoint Web Portal information

Checkpoints should be permanent services, because:

  1. monitoring systems will evolve, and every few years re-assessments will be required;
  2. different/further Challenges are required to really show gaps and complementarities in the various monitoring system components (e.g. eutrophication is only one of the issues of the ‘Marine Environment’ Challenges);
  3. the evolution of the monitoring system for the European Sea and the global ocean require constant upgrading of the assessment indicators and descriptors;
  4. the tools to make Challenge products could be disseminated if appropriate at a certain stage of the Checkpoint development;
  5. best practice guides need to be developed to use the data with respect to Challenge targeted products together with training/educational tools;
  6. strong and permanent links need to be established with intermediate and end users from industry to public authorities, and a feasible ‘regional’ approach is required;
  7. the process and methodology used need to be maintained and applied

The checkpoints deliver Challenge targeted products and information (as defined in the Checkpoint Information page) and not the input data (they do not re-distribute).

Input data or upstream data are made available by the source portal (EMODnet Thematic Portals, Copernicus, Fishery and other data sources) and are directly linked in the information system and/or appropriately acknowledged.

If the Checkpoint targeted product is a collation of different data sets (which quite often it is) then the ‘collated data set’ is provided.

To search and discover checkpoint information, see Checkpoint Service Section.

The regional checkpoint projects produce Checkpoint information and products:
1)         Checkpoint information is made up of descriptors and indicators, made available in the Checkpoint Service Section;
2)         Checkpoint products are Challenge targeted outputs, Literature Survey, Data Adequacy Reports, made available in the Reports and News Section.

The Checkpoint Service is connected to data source portals in order to harvest product metadata that are needed for gap analyses. The Checkpoint Information contains methodological aspects and explanations on how to use the Checkpoint information and products.