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Marine Data News Issue 48
June 2021
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In this issue of Marine Data News...
Online MEDIN workshop success 

The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN) and OceanWise premiered our online workshop: Marine Data Management, Governance and the MEDIN toolset over 5 days between the 19th and 23rd of April. The course was hosted on OceanTeacher Global Academy and attracted an international audience. After a year of being unable to run our usual workshops around the UK we were elated to be able to welcome over 30 attendees onto this course.
During the week we provided interactive training and discussion sessions, quizzes, and assignments to help attendees become familiar with: 

  • Why data management is important and how it can and arguably should be part of an organisations business management framework alongside quality, occupational health and safety, and information security.
  • The role of a data policy and management plan, and how data can be shared, published and re-used. 
  • Data management principles, standards, and components, including data lifecycle and quality, the role of vocabularies (or data dictionaries) and the importance of creating, maintaining, and publishing metadata. 
  • The resources and other benefits of MEDIN and practical instruction in the use of the MEDIN data guidelines, metadata standard, and controlled vocabularies.   
  • How data management ‘best practice’ can improve organisational efficiency in data acquisition, analysis, curation and sharing. This included data use with respect to corporate risk, re-use, audit and traceability, whilst at the same time helping minimising costs. 

90% of attendees were happy with the instruction and level of detail given during the course and would recommend the course. 100% of attendees said they would look to use MEDIN guidelines and/or the Metadata Standard in their work as a result of this workshop and would feel more confident in creating MEDIN compliant metadata than before completing the course.

Here’s what some of the attendees said about the course:

The sessions on the guidelines standards and Metadata were illuminating. I think I've absorbed a lot of material which I will use piece by piece to understand and improve the processes at my organisation.”

“MEDIN is a useful tool to search for existing data. The most useful thing I learnt was uploading Web Map Services (WMS) data into the portal - had no idea I could do that!”
The static resources for this course will soon be made openly accessible, so keep an eye on the OceanTeacher course page if you want to read-up about MEDIN and data management best practise in your own time!
JNCC image catalogue

The Joint Nature and Conservation Committee (JNCC) has a long-standing history in marine benthic surveys, and through its continued survey work around the UK has built up a collation of both historic and modern images. As part of its ongoing efforts to open up data to the public, these images are and will continued to be made available through JNCC’s new fully searchable online Image Catalogue.

Built on the open-source ResourceSpace Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution, the catalogue currently hosts ~28,000 images digitised from slides photographed during its historic “Marine Nature Conservation Review” surveys, covering themes from contextual site photographs and survey methods to individual taxa, all available under the UK’s Open Government License.
 
JNCC is also in the continued process of uploading its sample images from its continued offshore benthic surveys, captured via drop-down video and camera sledge equipment towed behind the survey vessel, showing everything from Nephrops burrows deep on the muddy plains to rocky seafloors encrusted with sponges, dead-mans fingers and brittlestars.

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 Cowes weather station is live! 

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) and OceanWise Ltd. have completed a Stakeholder Benefit project to install two  environmental monitoring stations on the River Medina to provide harbour users with tide and weather data allowing commercial and leisure vessels to make timely safety related navigational decisions. 
 
A fixed weather station at Shepards Marina provides tide height and visibility information, whilst a floating weather  station in the main harbour provides information on harbour wind speed and direction, temperature, and barometric pressure. The tide and weather sensors feed data to the online Cowes Weather Station that has just been launched on CHC’s mobile enabled website: cowesharbourcommission.co.uk/cowes_weather_station 

Hampshire-based OceanWise, specialists in marine environmental data management, have installed similar systems  at other ports in the UK, including ABP Southampton, London, Dover and Liverpool. For Cowes, OceanWise has used  a range of monitoring instruments including the Valeport Tide Gauge and Biral Visibility Sensor. Data from all the sensors is collected and transmitted using OceanWise’s smart telemetry service and data management and display  system (Port-Log), for use by Cowes Pilots and commercial vessels, and publication online. 

Cowes Harbour Master Ed Walker said: “As a trust port, we work to ensure navigational safety remains a top priority in the harbour. The new Cowes Weather Station is the latest CHC Stakeholder Benefit project designed to  help us, leisure and commercial stakeholders continue to operate safely. Delivered with OceanWise’s expertise in  marine data it will also enable CHC to monitor and manage key environmental data for the harbour.” 
 
Mark Jonas, Technical Director at OceanWise commented: “We are proud to have worked with Cowes Harbour Commission on this project. CHC has not only taken a proactive approach to their monitoring requirements but are  innovating and thinking ‘outside the box’ to seek out the best solutions to support their operations.   
 
“We are assisting more ports and harbours than ever to improve and modernise their environmental monitoring 
capabilities. Robust and integrated marine data management systems are helping our customers to improve safety,  respond to changing weather patterns, and enhance decision-making.” 
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The Crown Estate's new-look Marine Data Exchange makes access to offshore data easier than ever 

The UK seabed holds some of the richest resources in the world, underpinning the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore wind and as one of the world's most developed marine aggregate industries. The Crown Estate is uniquely placed to look at the bigger picture across a breadth of offshore sectors. The Marine Data Exchange is one tool used to address key consenting and planning challenges through better data sharing and encouraging evidence-based decisions.

Knowledge is powerful, and even more so when it is shared. Ever since 2013 The Crown Estate have been working to open up information about the seabed for a wide variety of people and organisations, to help foster a wider, more holistic understanding of this vast space and maximise the potential of the offshore environment. That's why an innovative data clause is included in The Crown Estate’s offshore leases that requires customers to deliver their survey data to the Marine Data Exchange – the authoritative source of offshore renewable survey data in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As the offshore space becomes increasingly crowded, access to high-quality data has never been more important for informing evidence-based decisions. The Marine Data Exchange gives those involved in new offshore projects a valuable head start. It allows them to benefit from the surveys and insights of those who have gone before them and potentially helps to de-risk investment. It is also vital to those with a wider interest in the marine environment, including academics, environmental charities, government bodies and the general public.

Since its creation in 2013, demands on the marine environment have increased significantly and technology has transformed. In response, The Crown Estate have taken action and are extremely proud to launch the new-look Marine Data Exchange.

The new-look Marine Data Exchange is more visual, more inspiring, more accessible and more adaptable; all of which will help maintain the UK's world-leading reputation for offshore data gathering and sharing, and in turn help build the UK's global competitiveness in this sector.

Over the next 12 months The Crown Estate will work with users to test, adapt and refine the Marine Data Exchange. Anyone wishing to provide feedback can do so by emailing MDE@thecrownestate.co.uk.

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Updates to the Northern Ireland Marine Map Viewer
The Northern Ireland Marine Map Viewer (daera-ni.gov.uk) had a major update in March 2021 with additional datasets, improved functionality and an updated user guide.
Above image- shipping density in the Irish Sea on the Northern Ireland Marine Map Viewer.

The Northern Ireland Marine Map Viewer (daera-ni.gov.uk) had a major update in March 2021 with additional datasets, improved functionality and an updated user guide.
 
There are new species, habitat and protected area datasets in the biodiversity category. New shipping density data from the European Maritime Safety Agency is now available with the aim to update the shipping datasets every 4 months. As part of this update, new dive site info has been provided by DiveNI

Improved functionality includes a new metadata catalogue with a full list of layers and an improved pop-up design throughout. An improved user guide with full instructions for every tool is now available for users along with new topic specific screening reports for Biodiversity, Heritage Assets and Uses and Activities. The bathymetry and chart layer opacity is optimised to allow complementary viewing on the Northern Ireland Marine Map Viewer.
 
All feedback welcome: Marine.MapViewer@daera-ni.gov.uk

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The NERC Vocabulary Server gets a new User Interface

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Vocabulary Server (NVS) provides lists of controlled vocabularies to be used in data and metadata files and schemas. These controlled vocabularies are published as Linked Data on the web using the Simple Knowledge Organisation System (SKOS) data model. They can also be accessed as web services (RESTful, SOAP) or through a SPARQL endpoint. Their utilisation ensures consistency between data records and facilitates data interoperability and discovery. The NVS is managed and operated by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) at the National Oceanography Centre.

Vocabularies served by the NVS are used or recommended by many marine and oceanographic data networks including for example MEDIN in the UK, SeaDataNet and its associated European Marine Observation and Data network (EMODnet) in Europe, and the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS) at the global scale, as well as individual partner organisations and users in Europe, Australia, USA, Canada, and beyond.

As part of the EU Horizons 2020 ENVRI-FAIR project, which aims to improve the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability of environmental data, the NVS was selected by Euro-Argo European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) partner to support the Argo program by becoming the central repository for Argo’s own collection of controlled vocabularies, vocabularies that were, up until then, managed via tables in protocol manuals and spreadsheets. In addition to providing funding to migrate these vocabularies to the NVS, the project also funded technical developments of user-friendly tooling.

In parallel, UKRI-NERC allocated capital investment funds to further develop key elements of its Environmental Data Service including the NVS. This enabled BODC to commission a new user interface (http://vocab.nerc.ac.uk) based on VocPrez, an open-source software application that provides a new look and feel as well as greater functionality for both human users and machine-to-machine communication. It is now the central access point for all NVS-related tools and resources. This user interface was subsequently enhanced with a new more intuitive version of the NVS search tool. Users can now filter their search using a greater range of criteria including, for example, governance bodies or alternative labels; bookmark search results; easily see and toggle on/off search criteria; etc. The first iteration of the tool was released with an option to “explore mappings” by displaying collections that have concepts mapped to each other however future developments will enable the user to explore these relationships in more detail and at the individual concept level. Improvements will continue to be made to the NVS User Interface (UI) and its associated tools as funding becomes available.

Feedback on the new UI and associated tools is welcome and can be made via vocab.services@bodc.ac.uk.

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Storm Surge and Tsunami Hazard Modelling using UKHO datasets
Over the last 6 months the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) have been working with RMSI (a global leader in geospatial and engineering solutions) to conduct a sensitivity analysis of UKHO bathymetry datasets in storm surge and tsunami hazard modelling for Anguilla. The main aim of the study was to see if higher resolution data would produce more accurate results.
UKHO LiDAR data supplied at 10m and 50m                         GEBCO data at ~400m resolution
The results found that there was little difference in the model output between 10 and 50m resolution data but significant improvement in accuracy compared with the GEBCO data. This proves that open source bathymetry data can be enhanced by the finer resolution data held by UKHO. It has also raised questions around whether there is a need to always supply the highest resolution for non-navigation use, which may in the future help determine the source, storage, and supply of bathymetry data.
Tsunami hazard model results using, Top: GEBCO data, Middle: 50m UKHO bathymetry, Bottom: 10m UKHO bathymetry
 
More Events!
The Challenge on Marine Plastic Pollution
We are planning on running a 6-8 week innovation challenge in Autumn 2021 to explore the problem of marine plastics in the ocean, identify and ideate on solutions, and put them to the test.

To do so we are gathering the best data available including geospatial data from the Ordnance Survey and maritime data from the UK Hydrographic Office, the brightest minds, innovators and start-ups to work together and propose real solutions.
Our approach is grounded in research and collaboration.

We are looking for like-minded organisations to help us unlock this challenge and join in to find solutions to this endemic problem. Want to join us? We would love to have a chat and tell you more! Please contact carly.morris@geovation.uk for more details. 

Save the date - the next online MEDIN workshop

The second live course will be run on the week beginning the 13th of September 2021, with teaching in the morning and independent learning in the afternoons. 

This training course is suitable for anyone responsible for collecting or managing marine environmental data in the public sector, industry or for education or research. Familiarity with different marine data types, and how data is acquired and used, would be helpful but not essential. Prior knowledge or practical experience of data management is not required.    The course can be taken as a whole, or attendees can select modules according to two streams: Marine Data Governance; or Practical MEDIN. Some modules are common to both streams, for example, modules on marine data management principles and components.

Sign up details will be released shortly. 

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News
NMBAQC annual report 2019-2020 
The North East Atlantic Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control Scheme (NMBAQCS) annual report has been published. 

Read all about the activities, results and recommendations of the invertebrates, particle size analysis, fish, phytoplankton, macroalgae, epibiota and zooplankton components from 2019-2020 here.

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