Marine Data News Issue 40
November 2018
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In this issue of Marine Data News...

EOOS - The European Ocean Observing System 

In the middle of November around 350 marine scientists from across Europe met in Brussels for the launch of the EOOS Strategy and Implementation plan.  Co-organised by the secretariats of EMODnet, the European Marine Board and EuroGOOS the event served as a showcase for current and planned ocean observing and monitoring activities, an opportunity to identify gaps and requirements in these activities and a look at the economic case for sustained, co-ordinated monitoring across Europe.
The event was ambitious in its aims, but attracted an impressive range of speakers including members of the European Parliament, Senior IOC officials, policy makers, NGO representatives, academics and industry representatives.  Over three days and a range of presentations and break-out sessions it became clear that there are still significant challenges ahead in the coordination and integration of activities, and central to tackling these challenges are data standards, effective data management and an open and FAIR approach to data.
Or as Karen Wiltshire, Vice-Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute put it “every data point collected with public money that goes unpublished is disservice to humankind”.
What is it?
The European Ocean Observing System (EOOS) is a community-driven framework for the coordination of Europe’s ocean observing capacity.  It plans to link the currently fragmented observing landscape and promote shared strategies, data standardisation, open access, infrastructure development and capacity building.

Why do we need it?
As previously mentioned the current landscape of ocean observing activities is fragmented and in some cases unsustainable beyond the time limitations of short-term projects and initiatives.  EOOS aims to become the focal point to engage and foster interaction across the wide-ranging sectors related to ocean observation and encourage dialogue between funders, implementers and users.
How can I get involved?
Chances are, if you’re working on a EU project or submitting data to an EU infrastructure you already are involved given the scale of the framework. Specific details are laid out in the Strategy and Implementation Plan which are available to download and the Implementation Plan includes a template for stakeholders to propose an EOOS project to aid in the development of the network and ensure the ambitious aims have a chance of fruition.  The conference itself concluded with a “Call to Action” which can be viewed in full but in summary requests:
1. Countries should coordinate all national marine and coastal data collection efforts to improve efficiency, and identify priorities and gaps to meet policy and societal needs. Observations should be standardised and operationalised within and across regional seas, building on the work done via existing regional coordination frameworks;

2. EU agencies and authorities should consider how the EU can best rationalize its investment and activities related to ocean observing activities. This requires a concerted effort to ensure that different EU investments in marine and coastal data collection infrastructures are better connected and are linked to existing data management and sharing initiatives; and

3. Both national and European authorities should support integration and drive innovation in infrastructure and technology development to reduce the cost and expand the coverage of ocean data collection, while optimising data analyses, synthesis and use.

Dan Lear (DASSH, Marine Biological Association, Plymouth)
GEBCO launches it's new-look websites! 

In October 2018, the GEBCO project (General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans) launched its new-look project web site. The site contains information about the project; recent news and events and how to access its bathymetric data sets and products.

GEBCO makes available a number of bathymetric data sets and products including a global bathymetric grid and a gazetteer of undersea feature names. Its data sets can be downloaded from the internet or accessed via web services. GEBCO operates under the joint auspices of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.
Also re-launched was the web site for the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 project: Seabed2030 is a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation and GEBCO. It aims to bring together all available bathymetric data to produce the definitive map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it available to all. It builds on more than 100 years of GEBCO's history in global seafloor mapping.

The operational launch of the project was in February 2018 and it is aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goal #14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
Seabed 2030 comprises four Regional Centers and a Global Center. The Regional Centers are responsible for championing mapping activities; assembling and compiling bathymetric information and collaborating with existing mapping initiatives in their regions. The Global Center is responsible for producing and delivering centralized GEBCO products, such as GEBCO’s global bathymetric grid.

The British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) of the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) acts as the Global Center for Seabed 2030 and maintains and updates the GEBCO and Seabed 2030 web sites on behalf of the project. and Google Dataset Search  
The FAIR principles (Findable – Accessible – Interoperable – Reusable) have provided an overarching framework for many developments in research data management over recent years. In terms of “Findability”, one promising area has been the overlap between the dialect of structured data promoted by the leading online search engines (Google; Bing; Yahoo; and Yandex) and research data management., the structured data dialect promoted by these companies, is familiar to web users from so-called “rich-snippets”, the augmented search results for recipes which give details of serving temperature, variations, country and region of origin; or for feature films which give showing times, cast, running time and review scores. Similarly, users of online email services will recognise the highlighting of bookings for flights or the addition of hotel reservations to online maps which use the same structured data. A recent addition to is the Datasets pattern.
Within, many types of dataset we would recognise from oceanography are covered by the definition of the Dataset pattern and as such there have been a number of projects interested in the application of in the marine domain. At the Marine Institute in Ireland, we have extended the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA's) ERDDAP data server to deliver Datasets structured data from the metadata landing pages native in ERDDAP.
We have also been involved in work in the Horizon 2020 SeaDataCloud project mapping the various catalogues of the SeaDataNet infrastructure to patterns – including Datasets for the European Directory of Marine Environmental Data (EDMED) datasets catalogue and for the Common Data Index (CDI) data granule metadata.
In the United States, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) EarthCube cyberinfrastructure programme has also funded “Project 418” which has developed publishing pathways for data in around 10 NSF data providers, including the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Closing the loop to Findable datasets, Google also launched a “Dataset Search” demonstrator in late summer 2018. The datasets served by ERDDAP servers around the world are indexed in this search through the work we undertook at the Marine Institute, and other datasets will soon arrive there from the other work described above. For networks such as Ireland’s Integrated Digital Ocean and UK's Marine Environmental Data and Information Netowrk (MEDIN), should not replace the metadata requirements for those programmes but does provide a framework for combining metadata from multiple networks in one location and using one high-level metadata profile. The ability to search in one location for data from these multiple sources is a great advantage to end users.

Adam Leadbetter, Marine Institute Ireland.

OceanWise improves environmental data storage and publishing. 

As connectivity becomes more and more important and the volume and complexity of data increases, businesses are seeking applications and systems that can ‘talk to each other’ to provide integrated solutions. Avoiding ‘data silos’ (a repository of fixed data that is isolated from other applications or departments) and allowing systems to connect can lead to many benefits including improved clarity and flexibility as well as savings in time, resources and money.

An Application Programming Interface (API) can allow programs to communicate with each other by metaphorically ‘opening the door’ on one application and allowing another to interact with it.

Connectivity is particularly important for real-time environmental data, as this data is often essential for operational decision making.  When timing and safety is critical - you need your environmental data easily accessible, in one place, up to date and in the right format.

OceanWise is fast becoming the go-to provider for environmental monitoring systems and is well known for its expertise in integrating systems and sensors and publishing varied, and sometimes complex, data into a single output (I.E a web page – see below image).  

OceanWise’s latest development for Port-Log, the quick and easy storage and publishing solution for environmental data, is the addition of an API. Essentially what the API does is allow customers to gain control over how Port-Log (or rather their environmental data stored within Port-Log) is used in their organization, maximising the benefits of the data and providing a way for customers to integrate data into their own processes and workflows and support their specific business needs.

Commemorating the Forgotten U-boat War Around the Welsh Coast  

In November last year the Heritage Lottery Fund announced a grant for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales’ (RCAHMW) partnership project: Commemorating the Forgotten U-boat War Around the Welsh Coast, 1914-18, to reveal underwater wrecks from WWI, and support coastal communities around Wales to tell their previously untold stories about the Great War at sea. In partnership with the Centre for Applied Marine Sciences at Bangor University, the project has been using marine geophysical survey to capture high-resolution data of several wrecks around the Welsh coast. Scientists from Bangor University, using the research vessel the Prince Madog, have been surveying the coast of Wales as part of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-funded SEACAMS2 project led by the University in partnership with Swansea University, and data from this project will provide new insights to marine renewable energy companies on what might happen when artificial structures are placed in the same or similar areas of seabed. This work has also allowed them to use multi-beam sonar to survey several wrecks for the U-boat project. 17 wrecks were highlighted as priorities for survey at the outset of the project, and to-date RCAHMW has received data for the majority of these.

Below: Rendered image of the German submarine U-87, sunk on Christmas Day 1917.

This community-based project also employs two Community Engagement Officers to support a programme of activities based at maritime museums around Wales. They are developing a ‘Community Research Toolkit’ and training materials to guide participants in archive and museum collections and to the resources online.  Material generated by these activities will form the core of travelling exhibitions and will be available on the People’s Collection Wales website as well as the Project’s own website. Online digital resources will include underwater footage, and 3D models of the wrecks based on the high-resolution survey data produced by Bangor University, as well as learning resources for schools relating to submarine warfare and sound detection technology.
Above: "Ghost" model of the Derbent, a British tanker sunk in November 1917.

Participants in the community elements of the project will have an opportunity to showcase their work at a Project Conference in November 2018 and a Project Legacy Workshop in September 2019 at the Marine Centre Wales, Bangor University. 

The International Conference on Marine Data and Information Systems

The International Marine Data and Information Systems (IMDIS) brings together marine data management specialists to raise awareness of existing marine information systems and promote the latest tools, standards and services being developed to encourage usability and global interoperability of marine data. The conference typically convenes every two years, with this year’s edition organised by the Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC), within the frame of the H2020 SeaDataCloud project.
Dr Louise Darroch from the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) presents her work on sensor web enablement.
The Conference was arranged around four sessions:
  1. Data services and tools in ocean science
  2. Technical developments for marine information and data management
  3. Marine environmental infrastructures for observation data (data management and access)
  4. Data products, information and knowledge
In total there were 53 oral presentations and 96 poster presentations.
Lots of established and exciting new technologies were presented at IMDIS, which provided much food for thought for those attending. Reoccurring themes of IMDIS included the importance of FAIR principles, Linked Data (including possibilities presented by the likes of Google/, Sensor Web Enablement technologies, data Quality Assurance versus Quality Control and Cloud services and workspaces.

The challenge of presenting a unified voice on a European/global scale and communicating activity with society and policy makers was also emphasised, particularly with the need to address both public and private sector needs.

There is clearly some momentum behind particular emerging topics (e.g. machine learning and Artificial Intelligence) and tools (e.g. Jupyter Notebook, glider toolboxes).
Finally, the importance of robust vocabularies and quality metadata were flagged up as vital components underpinning marine data management. All presentations available under:

Scotland's Underwater Archaeology Conference

On the 7th and 8th December, Scotland's Underwater Archaeology Conference will bring together academic, commercial and governmental archaeology at the forefront of maritime archaeology in Scotland to present current research, discuss and improve capacity and standards in the discipline and to foster a culture of collaboration and ambition within the community. 

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