European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet)

EMODnet, the European Marine Observation and Data Network, aims to open up the wealth of marine observations and make them  optimally accessible so as to invest in sustainable growth and employment. VLIZ has been commissioned by the Government of Flanders to accommodate and support the EMODnet secretariat.

In 2007 the new integrated maritime policy for the European Union recognised the need to set up an adequate infrastructure for marine data and information. After all, strategic decision-making with regard to maritime policy is only possible if a wide range of data concerning the natural conditions and human activities in the oceans is available and easily accessible.

Through the EMODnet platform, the European Commission intendeds to channel the huge flow of data from monitoring and earth observation programmes and to make them more readily available both for research and for commercial purposes. By collecting existing and new knowledge and measurements and by making them optimally accessible, the efficiency of research conducted by companies, the government and researchers will be considerably increased, resulting in new, innovative proposals.

The concept of a European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) was first unlocked in a Green Paper published by the European Commission in 2006:  “Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas”. This concept would continue to develop until 2008 when the European Commission took the necessary steps to enable the setting up of six pilot portals conveying marine data on Bathymetry, Geology, Seabed Habitats, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. EMODnet has since been identified as having a very positive impact amongst its users and relevant stakeholders. Therefore, the European Commission released new calls for tender for the 2nd  phase of EMODnet, building on the existing infrastructure and adding new features, including a new lot, Human Activities.

VLIZ has been involved right from the beginning  coordinating EMODnet Biology. Moreover, VLIZ, together with the Government of Flanders have proposed to the European Commission to host and support the EMODnet Secretariat (operational since 2012), as well as fully develop the EMODnet Central Portal under the auspices of the EMODnet Steering Committee.

The EMODnet Central Portal allows users to access data products from each of the lots under one single interface. As EMODnet is an on-going project, a lot more developments are yet to come.

Since 2012, the Government of Flanders has reserved € 180,000 a year to support the EMODnet secretariat in Ostend. Within this scope, VLIZ has been commissioned to invest in hardware, IT support, office furnishings and the development of the central data portal providing access to the different thematic EMODnet portals. This way Flanders makes a valuable contribution to the Europe 2020 targets (employment, innovation, education and coping with climate change).

Read more about the EMODnet activities of last year in the VLIZ annual report

More information on EMODnet and the 'Marine Board vision statement on EMODnet'.

More information on the EMODnet Biology Portal.

More information on the EMODnet Central Portal.

More information on the EMODnet secretariat staff.