Marine Data News Issue 35
April 2017 
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In this issue of Marine Data News...
Information Portal for the Celtic Seas – helping users find Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) relevant data and information

We are coming to the end of the Celtic Seas Partnership (CSP) project, a 4-year project part funded by EU LIFE+, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment. WWF-UK is the lead with partners the Natural Environment Research Council, SeaWeb Europe, the University of Liverpool, Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly. The project’s aim was to draw people together from across the Celtic Seas to set up collaborative and innovative approaches to managing their marine environment.

The Celtic Seas, designated as one of the MSFD regions, includes parts of the open Atlantic west of Ireland and Scotland, shallow seas surrounded by land in the Irish Sea and west of Scotland, numerous sea lochs, and large estuaries like the Shannon, Severn and Solway Firth.
A key output of the Partnership has been the development of a web-based information portal by the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) to provide access to data, metadata and documentation specifically relating to the MSFD.
The information portal comprises of two parts: 
  • A data catalogue for users to find datasets relevant to the 11 MSFD Descriptors
  • A resource library for MSFD related websites, articles and reports
The data catalogue is a signposting service providing the user with links to 363 discovery metadata records plus links to view and download services where these are available.

For ease of discovery, datasets are grouped by Descriptor and on each Descriptor page by MSFD Criteria and Indicator (based on the EC 2010 Commission Descriptor Decision).  The user can also filter on country of origin and where datasets are formally used as a member states’ MSFD assessment. For the most part, the latter information is not in the public domain so this information is unknown for many datasets. For those users not interested in MSFD, the data catalogue still provides an easily searchable tool for finding data sets for the Celtic Seas region.

The resource library area provides access to 283 websites, reports and articles relevant to MSFD and the Celtic Seas and a suite of filters allow easy searching of the catalogue.
The Information Portal is built on Linked Data

We have used a Linked Data approach to expose the content of the two metadata databases via a SPARQL endpoint so that SPARQL queries can be used to retrieve the metadata held in the data catalogue and resource library databases directly. Linked data is the current recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs.  By exposing the metadata in this way, the content has become part of the Web of Data, meaning that it is freely discoverable and usable by any third part application. It also underline’s BODC’s aim to make as much of its data as possible rated as 5*.  The star system for data refers to how accessible and open (i.e. free to reuse) the data are, and is promoted by the UK’s Cabinet Office. Various initiatives, such as the portal, are designed to help organisations increase the * rating of the data that they hold. As this is still a relatively novel way to expose metadata, particularly in the environmental sciences, we have presented the technical development work as a poster at two international conferences and as an oral presentation at the International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems.
For further information and to answer any questions, please email Gaynor Evans,

EMODnet High Resolution Seabed Mapping Project

The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) Bathymetry "High Resolution Seabed Mapping - HRSM" project was kicked off in March during a meeting and training workshop held at CNR-ISMAR offices in Venice, Italy.

The HRSM Project has been awarded to a consortium headed by the French Hydrographic Office (SHOM) and Dutch company, Maris BV, with OceanWise providing input for the UK as a full partner.  OceanWise will be working closely with the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and British Geological Survey (BGS), as well as other partners across Europe and around the seaboard of the North Atlantic.
The EMODnet data infrastructure is being developed in three major phases and includes seven themes - or lots.  The EMODnet Bathymetry Portal was started during Phase 1 (2009 - 2012) and  enhanced during Phase 2 (2013 - 2016).  During Phase 3 (2017 - 2020), the portal is being developed, together with the six other EMODnet sub-portals, towards an operational service with full coverage of all European sea-basins, a wider selection of parameters and higher resolution data products.  The UK's involvement in EMODnet  is unlikely to be affected by Brexit, as multiple partners from outside the European Union (EU) have been participating in the project since its inception.
OceanWise is responsible for creating the high resolution seabed map for UK Waters utilising hydrographic survey data acquired under the Civil Hydrography Programme (CHP) and other survey data that is made publicly available.  The CHP is administered by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.  The lion share of this data is provided via the UK Hydrographic Office under licence to OceanWise, however, unlike Phases 1 and 2 of the EMODnet Bathymetry Lot, this phase includes the coastal zone, so additional data is being provided by the Channel Coastal Observatory, the Environment Agency, and the Scottish and Welsh Governments.  OceanWise provides a European wide Web Map Service for the shipwrecks sub-theme and this will continue into Phase 3. 
OceanWise already acts as a repository for hydrographic survey data and submits cleaned and consolidated metadata to the central EMODnet portal.  Portal users are able to query and select survey datasets according to need, although most users choose to use the EMODnet Seabed Digital Elevation Model (DEM), which is currently provided at zero cost to end users at a 15 arc second resolution.  Users requiring a higher resolution dataset are able to license the OceanWise Marine Themes DEM, which is available at a resolution of up to 1 arc second (approx. 25m x 25m).  The plan for Phase 3 is to increase the resolution of the freely available DEM and to integrate this with terrestrial DEMs from, for example, Ordnance Survey (OS).  OceanWise is already working closely with OSGB on harmonising their land and marine mapping products, so EMODnet complements this work.  NOC is involved in collating data from the UK and Ireland and in the project’s link to GEBCO.  BGS will be involved in linking the project to the EMODnet Geology Theme and in the work on the coastal zone.
For examples and an overview of all OceanWise's Marine Mapping Data Products, please see  OceanWise's datasets and data services are used widely across the private and public sectors, including under frameworks to the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

SWE Pilot Report Published by MEDIN

Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) provides a suite of standards that allows environmental monitoring data to be published in a consistent way over the Internet.  SWE was developed by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and provides a means by which sensors can join the 'Internet of Things'.  In 2016 MEDIN funded a study undertaken by Cefas which considered how data from existing sensor networks could be combined and used in applications or harvested automatically, with SWE providing the consistent interface.  Three existing sensor networks were used in the study, two from the public sector, Cefas' SmartBuoy and WaveNet, and one from the private sector, OceanWise' which is in use by a majority of UK ports and harbours.
The report of the study has been published on the MEDIN website.  The results demonstrate how open source software can be deployed within a day or so to enable existing monitoring data to be published using a recognised international standard, thus avoiding the need to write and/or consume multiple APIs.  There are still challenges to overcome, such as how and where data are stored and quality assured, however, OceanWise is planning to use SWE to publish data from, where these issues are already addressed.  In addition to the report, a demonstration web application and web service was made available.

Marine Data Management Awareness Course

OceanWise, in co-operation with IMarEST, hosted a one-day Marine Data Management Awareness Course at IMarEST HQ in London on Wednesday 8th February 2017.  In a packed programme, sessions on data governance, the data life-cycle, data quality and publishing ensured  attendees were better able to appreciate just how important data management now is and how they can take control and improve it in their own organisations.  

Sean Gaffney from the MEDIN core team attended the course and was able to provide a background to MEDIN.  The course complements the MEDIN organised Discovery Metadata Workshops which cover topics such as the MEDIN Data Guidelines and Controlled Vocabularies in much more detail.  With 90% of all data being collected in just the last 2 years and business data doubling every 1.2 years, the need for data management best practise leading to more efficient ‘data-centric’ processes and workflows has never been greater.  The feedback from the course was excellent and it is hoped to run another course later this year.  Please contact IMarEST for details.


Coastal heritage and climate change project launched

A multi-million pound European research project investigating the risks of climate change to the coastal landscapes of Wales and Ireland was launched at Aberystwyth University on Thursday 23 March 2017.

The CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) project which will focus on the headlands and islands around Pembrokeshire, Cardigan Bay and the Llŷn Peninsula and sites along the south and east coast of Ireland is being led by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) in collaboration with Aberystwyth University.

More information...

New EMODnet Bathymetry portal unveiled

The EMODnet Bathymetry portal has undergone a major re-styling and the portal contents have been updated to reflect the extended consortium and the new HRSM challenges.

More information...


Marine & Coastal Civil Engineering exhibition

The Marine & Coastal Civil Engineering Expo featuring the world’s leading coastal engineering companies, alongside an extensive seminar and workshop schedule, will highlight new and effective ways to design and produce sustainable solutions to everything from climate change to maintaining coastal defenses. 

27 to 28 September 2017, London

More information...

MEDIN Workshops

Free one day workshop on the use of the MEDIN Data Guidelines and MEDIN Discovery Metadata Standard.

More information...

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