Integrated and Sustained Ocean Observing System: A European Strategy
A full-day EOOS forum on 8 March brought together 80 ocean science managers, researchers, policymakers and private companies on the topic of ocean observations.
The information required to do business, research or ensure security at sea is based on an array of ocean observing infrastructures. We rely heavily on ocean information, but its sources are disparate, with measurements taken for various purposes, over disrupted time scales, and to different standards. Europe, trying to capitalize on the shared benefits of cooperation in ocean research and the blue economy, needs an end-to-end and sustained European Ocean Observing System (EOOS), allowing all users and implementers of ocean observations find information and help they need.
The EOOS framework is being developed by EuroGOOS and European Marine Board with experts and advisors from many regional, national and pan-European organizations. While there’s a broad agreement that an integrated EOOS is urgently needed for Europe, it is still unclear how exactly to fulfill this ambitious task. At the EOOS forum on 8 March, delegates brainstormed on the critical EOOS questions, including system design tools, funding, governance, technologies and innovation, as well as communications.
"Without ocean observations we are living in the dark" was stated at one of the group discussions, but "a cultural step change is needed to break the silos between multiple stakeholders".
EOOS will gather information on monitoring plans, discuss funding priorities, and engage with new partners. EOOS will also help make a business case for ocean observations and allow the community to reach out to governments, engage more systematically with regional efforts and inform pan-European research programming. EOOS forum delegates strongly emphasized the need to listen to the needs of various ocean observing users, to ensure EOOS is genuinely fit-for-purpose.
Elements of EOOS are already taking place at various geographical scales. However, while the space-borne observations are sustainably funded through the Copernicus programme, in situ (in water) observations are supported through numerous programmes and short-term projects. These capabilities are not only fragmented but also not guaranteed for long-term funding. An overarching strategy across all measurement platforms is required to ensure that best use is made of limited resources in European countries and at pan-European level, thus feeding into the global systems. EOOS will link the currently disparate components of the observing system in Europe and promote novel technology and infrastructure development, standardization, open access to data, and capacity building (EOOS Consultation Document 2016).
The EOOS forum was convened by the EOOS steering group composed of several ocean observing experts and representatives from the European Commission Directorates-General for Research and Innovation (DG R&I), Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), and Maritime Affaires and Fisheries (DG MARE). In addition, a high-level events committee was convened to advise on stakeholder engagement and prioritization.
An EOOS strategy and implementation plan will take on board the valuable intellectual inputs from the EOOS forum. These documents will present an EOOS vision and concrete steps over the coming five years and be open for stakeholder consultation in the spring. The finalized drafts will be presented for adoption at the EOOS conference on 21-23 November.
More than a workshop: key EO data event approaches 3rd and biggest year
Time is running out to register for the 3rd GEO Data Providers Workshop, or to get involved as a sponsor. Much more than a workshop, this is an important and highly valuable international Earth observations (EO) community event. As one of the most inclusive and independent venues for the EO international community to get together, this event is a fabulous opportunity to share important progress in EO, whether in the public, private or third sector.
The 1st GEO Data Providers Workshop took place during the 2016 GEO Plenary in St Petersburg, Russia, when a number of EO practitioners and experts got together to discuss the infrastructure that supports the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).
In 2017, nearly 100 Earth observations data providers came together in Florence, Italy, for the 2nd GEO Data Providers Workshop. The event report sums up the event, which addressed issues related to community, technology, data and policy.
From 2-4 May 2018, we look forward to welcoming the GEO community to the European Space Agency in Frascati, Italy for the 3rd Data Providers Workshop. This year’s event will differ from past years in that it will also include data users and discussions on their requirements. Another notable change is the increased involvement from the private sector, as well as a number of end users attending for the first time.
Participants are invited to share knowledge and good practice on the management and use of EO data, while working together to enhance the GEOSS Platform. This workshop will also include a hackathon, GEOSS/HACK2018, also aimed at connecting data providers and users.
With 150 participants already registered we are nearing full capacity. The high level of interest in this event is a sign that the community wants and needs such a forum for discussing Earth observations.
Sponsorship opportunities remain available to support numerous aspects of the event, particularly the prizes for the two-day Hackathon. We’d like to thank our current sponsors Development Seed and TeamDev, and invite others to join them in support of this important event. A special thanks to the European Space Agency for hosting the meeting and making it possible in the first place.
I look forward to seeing many of you there. Please contact me if you are interested in supporting the international EO community through sponsorship of the 3rd GEO Data Providers Workshop.