Marine monitoring, observation and data collection networks have been largely put in place for specific purposes or to demonstrate technological capabilities. Besides they cover the 7 layers of the environmental matrix (Air, Ice, Marine water, Fresh waters, Riverbed / Seabed, Biota/Biology, Human activities), there is no comprehensive overview on a sea-basin scale of

  • Gaps and duplications or how well the data “meet” the user needs ?
  • What the priorities are for further 1 – marine observations, and better 2 – data assembling and  3 – data dissemination ?

EU initiatives such as the European Marine Observation and Data NetworkCopernicus and the Data Collection Framework for Fisheries have managed to deliver seamless layers of marine data across national boundaries, there are still some shortcomings with Europe’s marine data architecture. However they may require to be improved. Moreover, technological developments and new deployment possibilities such as ferry boxes or renewable energy platforms mean that some parameters can be measured more easily or cheaply than before. This possibility has not been fully exploited.


The different sources of marine data

EMODnet today is formed by 160 organizations working together to make European marine data more accessible to all kind of users, and in conformance with Inspire. They are organized by thematic lots, 7 at whole: bathymetry, geology, seabed habitats, chemistry, biology, physics, human activities and coastal mapping.


The EMODnet hierarchical layers: Countries –> Thematic domains –> Sea basin
In red, the 3 checkpoints applying the same operational methods

Nevertheless and up to now observations of the sea have been made for specific purposes, e.g. seabeds are surveyed to ensure safe navigation and fish are sampled to estimate the size of the stock. Once the direct link between the collection of data and its application is broken, it becomes hard to determine what the priorities are for monitoring and who should monitor what.