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ATLAS Deliverable 8.4: Delivery of research outputs

Collart, T; Larkin, K; Pesant, S; Gafeira, J

Marine data are needed for many purposes: for acquiring a better scientific understanding of the
marine environment, but also, increasingly, to provide information and knowledge to support ocean
and coastal economic developments and underpin evidence‐based ocean and wider environmental
management decision making. Data must be of sufficient quality and at the right resolution to meet
the specific users’ needs. They must also be accessible in a timely manner and in appropriate formats
– not only in raw data but as integrated datasets, data products, etc. – for use by marine and maritime
professionals. Such expert users span scientific research, policy and industry. In addition, providing
engaging and user‐friendly interfaces and tools for wider society to explore marine data and
information e.g. through visualisations, is vital to promote a knowledge‐driven, ocean literate society.
In addition, the blue economy, policy makers, researchers and wider society increasingly require data
that are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) across multiple parameters, spatial
scales and resolutions. Many data services and initiatives already exist in Europe and there is a drive
towards collaboration and interoperability of these to ensure data can be discovered through web
services by human queries and through machine‐to‐machine communication.
This ATLAS deliverable (D8.4) is driven by the philosophy of Open Data and Open Science, adding value
to the diverse datasets produced by ATLAS, making them more FAIR and so, ultimately, increasing
their long‐term use and impact. To this end, project partner Seascape Belgium (SBE) provided and
customised a web‐GIS Platform for the ATLAS project. Using an open source geospatial content
management system – GeoNode – the ATLAS GeoNode was developed as a tool to share, visualise and
download geospatial data with the ATLAS consortium and wider stakeholders. In addition, ATLAS data
and data products are being ingested into the European Marine Observation Data Network
(EMODnet) as a long‐term solution to data availability, discovery and use. This report summarises the
work conducted by SBE, in collaboration with University of Bremen (UniHB) and the PANGAEA2
information and data publisher for earth and environmental data, British Geological Survey (BGS) and
others partners, to valorise the marine data being produced by ATLAS, namely building on existing
methods and tools to add value, use and impact of marine data along the pipeline from data
production to end‐user. This contributes in particular to the 3rd key objective of ATLAS, to transform
new data, tools and understanding and make it accessible to wider stakeholders for effective ocean
governance. To achieve this, SBE has worked together with UniHB (as data management and WP8 lead) and BGS to assess, optimise and – where possible – innovate the data flows in place. A key focus
has been at the mid‐point of the “data pipeline”, where curated data can be ‘valorised’ through
methods including data visualisation and data integration, to make them more accessible to multiand
inter‐disciplinary research communities and to wider stakeholders including policy and industry.
SBE administers the EMODnet Secretariat, and so has been able to facilitate direct dialogues between
EMODnet Data Ingestion and the seven thematic areas of EMODnet (Bathymetry, Biology, Chemistry,
Geology, Human Activities, Physics and Seabed Habitats) with ATLAS data providers to ensure a
longer‐term ingestion of data into EMODnet.
As a North Atlantic basin scale project with strong industry partnerships ATLAS has offered an
opportunity to assess data flows and pipelines from major research activities and projects via existing
data publishers and assembly centres to EMODnet, and to recommend further ways to optimise these
in the future. This report also looks at the relevance of ATLAS data and outputs to policy and industry,
including recommendations from meetings and consultations conducted by ATLAS WP6 and WP7.
These include recommendations from ATLAS D6.4 that a desire from offshore maritime industry to
see greater connectivity and interoperability between marine data to increase their impact and use
and to streamline the process of marine data discovery, uptake and exploitation.
Particular focus has also been dedicated to investigate the flow of data from PANGAEA data publisher
to EMODnet. This has resulted in stronger collaborations between the two initiatives, leading to more
systemic and operational exchanges in data flows, including a move towards automated data
harvesting. The project has also offered an opportunity to develop an innovative online GIS platform
as a community tool for sharing and integrating geospatial data. This was developed as a pilot and the
positive user feedback shows its potential for making data ‘come alive’, connecting it to wider
stakeholders and offering useful maps and products which marine and maritime professionals can use
for their professional needs e.g. marine spatial planning.
Recommendations from this report in terms of data stewardship and data flows can be taken forward
by marine data initiatives and by the marine research community in the future. The advances that
have been taken in ATLAS towards FAIR data are important steps towards streamlining the ingestion
of data into EMODnet. In EMODnet, data are discoverable through data and web services, contributing
to the European Union’s policy on marine knowledge, the “Marine Knowledge 2020” initiative. Here,
EMODnet has a key mandate to transform Europe’s fragmented data landscape into an interoperable
sharing framework, in addition to supporting coordinated European observation activities. This will
increases the information available, and therefore the efficiency, for marine and maritime
professionals from industry, public authorities and academia to discover and use marine data, information and knowledge. This encourages innovation that reduces our present uncertainty as to
what is happening beneath the sea surface. Beyond 2020, EMODnet is working with key data
initiatives to federate existing infrastructure and contribute to a Blue‐Cloud cyber platform3 that will
offer enhanced capabilities for marine research including a virtual research laboratories,
computational power and storage and the latest data discovery and interoperability to access data
from a large diversity of data initiatives and data providers. 

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