The overall aim of the EMODnet Checkpoints is to assess the adequacy of existing monitoring systems and data mechanisms at sea basin level. The scope are not primarily to test the effectiveness of EU initiatives, although this analysis should be included, but rather to assess how well all available marine data meet the needs of users or what else should be needed, at the scale of the EU seas and through the prism of downstream use cases called challenges.

To answer these questions, the sea basin checkpoint service has been defined a wide monitoring system assessment activity aiming to support the sustainable Blue Growth at the scale of the European Sea Basins and 6 regional checkpoints implemented (Arctic, Atlantic, Baltic, Black Sea, MedSea, North Sea) with a view to:

  • Clarify the observation landscape, of all compartments of the marine environment – Air, Ice, Fresh Water, Marine Water, Riverbed/Seabed, Biota/Biology and Human activities -, pointing out to the existing programs, European, National, and International;
  • Evaluate the adequacy of marine data that is how well the present data collection, monitoring and surveying programmes meet the needs of user, through the prism of blue applications of paramount importance for the European Marine Environment Strategy:
    • Energetic and food security (renewable energy, fisheries & aquaculture management);
    • Marine environment variability and change (climate change, eutrophication, river inputs, bathymetry, alien species);
    • Emergency management (oil spills, fishery impacts, coastal impacts);
    • Preservation of natural resources and biodiversity (connectivity of Marine Protected Areas).
  • Identify gaps in data and service infrastructure for selected use cases, called challenges, including the reluctance to use,

Identify the needs to optimize existing monitoring systems in terms of availability, operational reliability, efficiency, time consistency, space consistency, etc., as well as observational priorities required in the future to meet the challenges.

Challenges are required to assess three “ territories”.
They are supported by a standard method and operational tools

Checkpoint outcomes are tightly link to the definition of challenges and their terms of references but also on the configuration of partners to meet the attended results. They are the heart of the process. For the first checkpoint cycle, challenges has be mainly selected/defined for their experimental value, a stress test on input data. The resolution of gaps is outside the project perimeter.

The qualitative assessment can be described as successive actions, it is thought in 4 phases and 6 checkpoint tasks:

The sequence logic of the assessment process


The Literature Survey (LS) attempts to enlarge the project partners awareness of observing data landscape within the basin through published case studies.


The development of products & confidence limits within thematic challenges, made available – spatial and non-spatial alike – in a GIS system for dynamic mapping, along with clear product specification and requirements for upstream data, and feedback on their adequacy (compatible with INSPIRE, EMODnet and OGS).


The web-site portal is required to provide a free and unconditional access to outputs from challenges compatible with INSPIRE, EMODnet and OGS, and to EMODnet portals plus link to the EU’s maritime forum which will contain all reports and allow comments and feedback. The operations of checkpoint web tools and services releases description of data and products and assessment available for all in a standard and reproducible form.


The assessment of upstream data is achieved in two phases :

  • A first assessment achieved the first year (DAR 1) focused on releasing/revising the availability status of input data.
  • A second assessment achieved in a second phase / second year (DAR 2) focused on evaluating the data adequacy (fitness for use, appropriateness)