Project overview

The flow of data within the EMIS.
The flow of data within the EMIS. ©

NETMAR aims to develop a pilot European Marine Information System (EMIS) for searching, downloading and integrating satellite, in situ and model data from ocean and coastal areas.

EMIS, a user-configurable system, will offer service discovery, access and chaining facilities using Open Geospatial Consortium, OPeNDAP and World Wide Web Consortium standards. It will use a semantic framework coupled with ontologies for identifying and accessing distributed data, such as near-real time, model forecast and historical data.

Additionally, EMIS will enable further processing to generate composite data products and statistics suitable for decision-making.

NETMAR is a European Commission Framework Programme 7 funded project and the consortium consists of seven partners from four countries. As it is a three-year project, NETMAR aims to deliver the EMIS prototype in 2013 with building blocks being produced throughout the life of the project.

How will this be achieved?

NETMAR will develop interoperability and connectivity between diverse data systems to meet the demand for information from different user groups. Several steps will be required to bridge existing data systems. These include

  1. Standardising data and metadata formats
  2. Standardising exchange protocols
  3. Defining the semantics of the services, including an uncertainty model, to allow transparent computer-based discovery
  4. Developing a semantic framework for marine data services, backed by multilingual and multi-domain ontologies, enabling searches across (human) languages and application domains

Having achieved these standardisation steps, EMIS will then be able to search for and merge the existing tools, using these as ‘building blocks’, to compose new and more powerful tools by service chaining. These composite tools will provide practical monitoring of the marine environment.

To test EMIS, the project has developed a set of use cases in different European seas. These include

  • The monitoring and forecasting of oil spills
  • The monitoring and forecasting of plankton blooms
  • The monitoring and forecasting of Arctic sea ice

Environmental specialists will be asked to test and evaluate EMIS. This will also be beneficial to the community as they will also be able to validate ecosystem models, study the relation between physical and biological variables, and exchange data within coastal web atlases.

Open Service Network for Marine Environmental Data (NETMAR) programme       Seventh Framework Programme      Leaf logo