OSPAR and data

26 October 2015

Our data expert, Chris Moulton, was in Belgium last week at the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) conference.

The 'Consolidating the Foundations, Building the Future' Conference aimed to reinforce the foundations and consider avenues for the further development of an open, user-friendly and fit-for-purpose pan-European marine data infrastructure. A fully operational EMODnet corresponding to user requirements will reduce costs for offshore operators, stimulate innovation and blue growth, improve our knowledge of the marine environment and support effective marine management and maritime policy making.


EMODnet is a network of organisations working together to observe the sea, to make marine data freely available and interoperable, to create seamless data layers across sea-basins and to distribute the data and data products through the internet. Since its inception in 2009, EMODnet has evolved considerably. Currently it is moving towards full operational stage with coverage of all European sea-basins and making available higher resolution data layers. Consortia have grown both in size and geographic coverage and EMODnet now includes more than 110 partner organisations.

OSPAR's Data and Information Management System

May 2014 saw the start of a major project that will revolutionise OSPAR data and information management. ODIMS is an online tool to facilitate access to all the data and information gathered through OSPAR’s Joint Assessment and Monitoring Programme across the different thematic work areas. It will help ensure that data is readily accessible for OSPAR assessments, but also help users find out what data we have, facilitate access to it and make use of it.

We are all aware how much the data management landscape in Europe is evolving so it has been critically important over this past year to remain engaged with Contracting Parties, fellow Regional Seas Conventions, data centres (e.g. ICES), and European Union processes and projects to ensure we remain on track. We are now halfway through the ODIMS project and the testing of the first elements of the tool has begun. The project is currently on schedule for completion by OSPAR 2016 and to be put straight to the test in support of the IA 2017.

Images: Elif Ayater and DARPA (above)