The EMODnet 1st Open Conference took place in Ostend on 20 October. The event was followed by a series of partner meetings for the seven EMODnet lots, on 21 and 22 October.
Over 350 participants got together in the Ostend cultural centre De Grote Poste for the open conference. The conference presented an impressive progress of EMODnet in a series of flash talks on the seven thematic lots and regional EMODnet checkpoints. High-level speakers and guests congratulated the community and the EMODnet secretariat on their achievements. In the afternoon, the participants were split in small groups to brainstorm on the next stages of EMODnet and European ocean data management. The quality-controlled interoperable data is critical for each end-user of EMODnet, stressed the participants. Other priorities set out during the brainstorming included an increased promotion of the open data policy and dialogue with end-users. The partner meetings afterwards joined efforts to find solutions for common challenges such as measuring the quality of the service, engaging the private sector, helping EU countries report the state of their marine environment or reducing the formalities involved in downloading data whilst tracking usage in order to improve the service.
The EuroGOOS Secretary General, Glenn Nolan, moderated a cross-cutting session on 21 October dedicated to marine data and information systems. The wide range of marine data services in Europe may show a scattered picture to an external observer. However, the session agreed that most actors operate in synergy and work towards enhancing the added value to the European system, trying to avoid duplication. Communication, on the other hand, needs to be improved, to represent a joint voice of the community to decision and policymakers.