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Associated Projects & EC Projects

European Marine Geoscience Projects

Associated Projects

European Marine Geoscience Projects

European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet)

The gateway to marine data in Europe.

EMODnet is a network of organisations across Europe who work together to produce and deliver harmonised marine datasets for the European sea regions.

EMODnet is a long term marine data initiative which began in 2009. The second phase (2013-2016) saw the number of organisations and partners increase, along with the expansion of the geographical area and further development of the data portals.

EMODnet Phase 3 began earlier this year and has seven discipline-based themes, which provide free access to marine data: Geology, Bathymetry, Seabed Habitats, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Human Activities.

The INFOMAR programme is contributing to the Bathymetry, Geology and Seabed Habitats themes.


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EMODNET - Bathymetry - High Resolution Seabed Mapping - HRSM (Commmenced Jan 2017)

The objective of the EMODnet Bathymetry project is to develop and provide a harmonised Digital Terrain Model (DTM) for the European sea regions.

Phase I (2009-2012) produced a DTM of 463m resolution and created the portal for viewing and downloading the data. Users can click on the map and retrieve the depth and other associated information such as minimum depth, maximum depth, average depth, smoothed depth, standard deviation depth and metadata. Data can be downloaded in tiles in a variety of formats: ESRI Ascii, Geotiff, NetCDF, Fledermaus SD and xyz.

Phase II (2013-2016) produced a DTM of 231m resolution with extended coverage and improved portal functionality. Improvements included allowing users to download data in their area of interest and also to configure the display of the source reference layer and the map. High resolution coastal DTM’s (between 10 - 30m) were generated for three pilot study areas (including one in Ireland).

Phase III (2017-2020) aims to produce a multi-resolution DTM. The overall resolution will increase from 231m to 116m and coastal high resolution DTM’s (14m) will also be provided where available.

Data gaps in the DTM are currently filled in using General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) data. Phase III also plans to use Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB) data to cover gaps in survey coverage.

Coverage of the DTM will be extended to include the European Arctic waters and Barents Sea. New surveys and an increased number of data providers will also help to increase coverage.

The DTM will be improved to include a quality indicator at grid cell level. This means that users can click on a depth and evaluate the quality of the bathymetric data.

The new DTM is due to be released in May 2018.

EMODnet Bathymetry DTM coverage 2017

Phase III will establish best-estimate European digital coastlines for a range of vertical levels (using the European tidal model for vertical referencing).

The portal will be upgraded to provide 3D visualisation directly in the browser, without plug-ins.

View and download data from the EMODnet Bathymetry portal

View the Geology & Bathymetry data with INFOMAR's viewer.

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EMODNET 3 - Geology (Commmenced May 2017)

The objective of the EMODnet Geology project is to develop and provide harmonised marine geological data for the European sea regions.

The project is coordinated by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK). There are 34 consortium members.

EMODnet Geology phase 3 seeks to compile new information on; seabed substrate (including rate of accumulation of recent sediments), seabed geology (bedrock and quaternary geology) including all boundaries and faults with information on Lithology (physical characteristics) and age of the geological units; minerals; geological events (e.g. earthquakes) and probabilities along with information on rates of coastal erosion and sedimentation.

Additional data for phase 3 will include the submerged landscapes of the European continental shelf at various time-frames (e.g. Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and older low sea-level stages), with particular focus on: shorelines and coastal environments and deposits (lagoons, dunes, estuaries etc., marine terraces, beachrocks); valleys and riverbeds, terraces and associated deposits; river-deltas and delta-clinoforms; submerged water points, e.g. submarine groundwater discharges (=submerged springs), and freshwater lakes; thickness of Holocene deposits above the LGM landscape, as well as flora and fauna on the submerged landscapes.

The web portal will build on the portal developed in the second phase of the EMODnet-Geology Project, but several additions and improvements will be implemented.

The GSI will continue to lead on the Minerals work package which has the objective of identifying and mapping areas of minerals (including aggregates, oil, gas and metalliferous minerals) in each of the partner countries based on information available, including publicly-available information (e.g. published scientific papers etc.). Data products and associated metadata will be provided at a scale of 1:100,000 or finer where available through a single web portal allowing data users globally to discover, view and download a range of marine datasets.

Visit the portal

View the Geology & Bathymetry data with INFOMAR's viewer.

EMODnet Viewer

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EMODNET 3 - Seabed Habitats (Commmenced May 2017)

The objectives of the EMODnet Seabed Habitats Project are to collate a library of detailed marine habitat maps and to generate a broadscale predictive seabed habitat map. All maps can be viewed and downloaded from an interactive portal which is permanently maintained by the Project Coordinators, the Joint Nature Conservation Commission UK.

Contents of the data portal include:
1. Over 300 habitat maps from surveys – A collection of EUNIS classified habitat maps at various scales from marine surveys across Europe. The Portal is also the official repository for data on OSPAR threatened and/or declining habitats in the North East Atlantic.

2. The 2016 EMODnet broad-scale seabed habitat map for Europe (EUSeaMap) – Covering over 23 million km2 of European Seas, is classified according to the EUNIS habitat classification system and Predominant Habitats of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The current phase of the project (2017-2019) will improve EUSeaMap by updating input data and extending coverage to include the Barents Sea.

Current version of EUSeaMap downloadable from http://www.emodnet-seabedhabitats.eu/

EMODNET Coastal (Completed Jan 2017)

The main objective of the EMODnet Coastal Mapping project, unlike the other EMODnet portals, is not to provide data or products, but to build a coastal mapping programme.

The EMODnet Coastal Mapping project assessed the current availability of digital coastal maps in Europe, shared experience of coastal mapping and developed standards for best practice and proposed how a future Joint European Coastal Mapping Programme (JECMAP) could operate.

The following data is available on the portal:

Bathymetry DTMs


Imagery (aerial photography)

Most appropriate techniques for future mapping

Data from other organisations (EEA, EMODnet portals)

Visit the EMODnet Coastal site.

Open the EMODnet Coastal portal

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Geo-Seas (Completed June 2013)

Geo-seas LogoThe Geo-Seas project is implementing an e-infrastructure of 26 marine geological and geophysical data centres, located in 17 European maritime countries and comprising 30 organisations across Europe.

Users will be able to identify, locate and access pan-European, harmonised and federated marine geological and geophysical datasets and derived data products held by the data centres through a single common data portal.

The project aims to expand the existing SeaDataNet infrastructure to include marine geological and geophysical data held by the Geo-Seas partners. Catalogues of data, data products and services available from the Geo-Seas data centres will be published and maintained. Quality standards and data exchange/delivery formats will be harmonised across the partners. The project will facilitate access to federated, marine geological and geophysical datasets and deliver the data via the internet.

The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) is involved in several work packages involving a range of activities including; the development of standards of formats for the transport and visualization of geological and geophysical data; identifying user requirements for standard data products and viewing services; development, demonstration and documentation of software components for providing high resolution geophysical data viewing services, exploration of the use and coupling of international, open-source software plug-ins for modeling and visualization along with capacity building and training and development activities.

The Geo-Seas data, data products and services will be used by the following sectors: environmental research and monitoring; academic research; government; national and regional agencies; dredging; marine hydrocarbons; beach nourishment; land reclamation; sustainable energy; civil engineering (pipelines, offshore construction, aggregates); communications (submarine cables); shipping; fisheries; tourism; and health.

Geo-Seas populates and provides common catalogues of available data sets, such as samples, cores and seismic survey data and data products, such as various maps, managed by national geological surveys and research institutes in Europe.

To provide a detailed inventory of data sets Geo-Seas has adopted the Common Data Index (CDI) Data Discovery and Access service of SeaDataNet.

A catalogue of data products, such as various maps, and services for viewing and downloading these maps will be achieved by cooperation of Geo-Seas with the One-Geology Europe and EMODNET Geology projects.

In the context of the EMODNET and Geo-Seas projects, the GSI benefits from an opportunity to develop and maintain close relations with other scientific institutions within Europe. By these activities the GSI and the INFOMAR programme in particular, adds value by cooperation and coordination across national frontiers endeavoring to promote, share and gain new knowledge and expertise in marine geosciences.

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Associated Projects

The INFOMAR programme works to ensure that data from both the INSS and INFOMAR is easily available and integrated with other relevant data sets in order to promote innovation and the development of value added products and decision support systems. Examples of projects supported through funding or participation by INFOMAR in this area include the development of the Irish Spatial Data Exchange, the IMAGIN project to develop a strategic framework for marine aggregates, and the MESH project to develop integrated habitat maps.


BRITICE-CHRONO is a five-year NERC-funded consortium of more than 40 researchers comprising glaciologists, marine and terrestrial Quaternary scientists and ice-sheet modellers.

Given concerns about retreat/stability of the marine-influenced West Antarctic and Greenland ice Sheets, and consequent sea-level rise, it is imperative that we can predict the future rates of change of these large ice masses.

Our current ability to do so is limited and a weakness in climate science. Numerical ice sheet models – capable of making predictions – exist and are being refined, but they have yet to be adequately tested against data on the pattern and timing of a shrinking ice sheet. We are conducting a systematic and directed campaign to collect and date material to constrain the timing and rates of change of the collapsing British Irish Ice Sheet ice sheet.

By the end of BRITICE-CHRONO the British Irish Ice Sheet will become the best constrained anywhere and a benchmark against which predictive ice sheet models can be improved and tested

INFOMAR is a partner on the project. Read more about the project here.

Follow the Blog here.


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The GEOCOAST project aimed to develop an online educational resource about Ireland's coastal and marine environments with particular focus on coastal geology and geomorphology.

The GEOCOAST project has produced a dedicated YouTube Channel: GEOCOAST http://www.youtube.com/user/GEOCOAST.

The YouTube channel is accompanied by an online mapping guide (see the “Video Map” tab of http://www.geocoast.ucc.ie) allowing the selection of videos based on their geographical location.

It is hoped that GEOCOAST videos will increase peoples awareness, understanding and appreciation of Ireland's coastal and marine environments.

The GEOCOAST has been supported by the Irish Government funded INFOMAR programme http://www.infomar.ie/

CMRC Logo UCC Logo

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INIS Hydro - Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland Hydrographic Survey project

INIS Hydro Logo Reliable maps of the seabed are essential for safe shipping and for effective management and conservation of the marine environment. While terrestrial maps are largely very accurate, seabed maps are much less so. Many 'current' nautical charts are based on data from the mid 19th century when depth was measured by lowering lead lines to the seabed at wide intervals.

The INIS Hydro project brings together seven partners from the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland to generate high-resolution bathymetric charts of 1400 km2 of key coastal seabed areas. Using a fleet of coastal survey vessels and multibeam sonar technology, our scientists produce and apply a standardised specification and survey seven seabed areas that are currently poorly charted but important navigation channels, have high environmental significance or are candidate areas for marine renewables development. On completion of survey operations, the data will be made freely available.

The project will thus contribute to complying with international Safety of Life at Sea requirements, will underpin all forms of marine data including marine geology, habitat and environmental information, and will also enhance oceanographic modelling and marine spatial planning.

Project funding and duration

INIS Hydro is part of the EU funded INTERREG IVA Programme, Priority 2, Theme 2: Environment

Total project costs: £3.2 million
Match funders: UK Natural Environment Research Council; Northern Lighthouse Board; Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Project duration: 1 January 2011 - 31 March 2014

Read more about the project on the INIS Hydro's website Click here

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JIBS (Completed June 2008)

Jibs LogoThe Maritime and Coastguard Agency is leading the Joint Irish Bathymetric Survey Project (JIBS), approved under the INTERREG IIIA Programme, with the Marine Institute of Ireland as project partner. The objective of the JIBS Project is to promote joint action to survey the seabed in such a way as to satisfy the needs of many organisations.

The JIBS project commenced on 10 April 2007 and was completed in June 2008.
Read more about the project on the Marine Institute's website Click here

The JIBS data acquired may be viewed on the GSI built webmapping viewer here

The JIBS data acquired may be downloaded from GSI's Interactive Web Data Delivery System (IWDDS) Click here

The JIBS data can be explored in Titanic Ocean Exploration Centre Interactive 3D Seabed Simulation demo by RealSim Movies.

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IMAGIN Imagin logo - The Irish Sea Marine Aggregates Initiative (Completed June 2008)

The project started officially on Feb 3rd 2005, and was completed in 2008. It was funded under the Ireland/Wales INTERREG IIIA Community Initiative Programme 2000-2006.

Aggregates (sand and gravel) are essential products for the development and maintenance of infrastructure. Economically viable on-land sources in Britain and Ireland are rapidly diminishing, and in order to sustain competitive economic development, alternative sources need to be found.

Significant marine aggregate deposits are available in the southern Irish Sea, and these can contribute to competitive regional development. The exploitation of these resources must, however, be carried out in an environmentally sustainable way and take into account other legitimate uses of the area such as nature conservation, fishing and navigation.

Imagin websiteIMAGIN brings together an Ireland/Wales scientific consortium comprising organisations with expertise in coastal processes, geology and marine resource management for the purpose of developing a strategic framework and scientific rationale to underpin future policy development for Irish Sea aggregates. It is intended that this framework, once developed, will provide the operational guidelines and regulatory processes necessary for the environmentally sustainable management of Irish Sea aggregates.

Access to the marine database is via the IMAGIN GIS website Click Here

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MESH - Mapping European Seabed Habitats (Completed June 2008)

MESH logo

The MESH Project ran between 2004 and 2008 and is made up of a consortium of twelve partners from five European countries led by the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), with financial support from the EC’s INTERREG IIIB NWE Programme.

The MESH partnership draws together scientific and technical habitat-mapping skills, expertise in data collation and its management, and proven practical experience in the use of seabed-habitat maps for environmental management within national regulatory frameworks.

MESH websiteThe aim of the MESH project is to provide a central location for all information relating to Seabed Habitat Mapping.

The website is designed to give easy access to the hundreds of project outputs that include an interactive mapping page, a catalogue of mapping studies, practical guides, tool kits, data templates and technical reports. These items cover most aspects of seabed habitat mapping from planning surveys, fieldwork standards, data handling, predictive modelling, producing maps to how to communicate your results.



Visit the MESH Website Click Here

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MeshAtlantic - Mapping Atlantic Area Seabed Habitats (Completed September 2013)

MeshAtlantic logo

The MeshAtlantic Project aims to provide a harmonised seabed habitat map of the coastal and shelf areas of the Northeast Atlantic in order to aid the development of sustainable management plans at both regional and European levels.

The Marine Institute has teamed up with ten partners from institutions in other Atlantic Area countries (France, Portugal and Spain) to contribute to and deliver on all key areas of the project. The three-year project is divided into four operational work activities:

1. Map Collation bringing together habitat and substrate data from existing maps and datasets in the Atlantic Area.

2. New Surveys collection of data in pilot Marine Protected Areas (MPA), design of a habitat mapping survey specifically for MPA designation purposes and improvement of the EUNIS classification for southwest European regions.

3. Making New Maps delivery of a harmonised broadscale seabed habitat map for the Atlantic Area and of detailed maps at a local level on MPA sites

4. Communication stakeholder workshops and the creation of a WebGIS to deliver interactive maps.

MESH substrate data imageThe project will utilise existing spatial data from national repositories. Collation of the various datasets into standardised formats and the generation of a habitat map will add value to a relatively limited and dispersed set of data resources. Information on the broadscale distribution of EUNIS habitats will improve the quality of maritime spatial plans for the growing, sea-based economy in the Atlantic Area.



Substrate data for Irish EEZ collated from various research institutions that will be used in the generation of a broadscale EUNIS habitat map.

The MeshAtlantic Project (2010-2013) is financed by the Atlantic Area Programme, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

To discover more about the MeshAtlantic Project go to http://www.MeshAtlantic.eu

Download the pdf Mesh Atlantic: Habitat Mapping Using ArcGIS Tools

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