The full Mediterranean 'data' package
An EU-backed research team is developing a new interoperable and cost-effective platform to integrate and package marine and coastal data from sensors, together with oceanographic models and mobile applications for improved observation and forecasting across the Mediterranean Basin.
© vulcanus #160812905, source: fotolia.com, 2018
With so many different sources of and uses for information about Mediterranean coastal and marine conditions, a new one-stop-shop solution is needed to improve decision-making and develop new maritime services to benefit the entire region.
The EU-funded ODYSSEA project aims to boost accessibility to existing data while increasing the temporal and geographic coverage of observational data throughout the entire Mediterranean. It will extract and merge data from external databases maintained by agencies, public authorities, research institutions and universities and tailor those data into information services to respond to the needs of multiple maritime-sector end-users.
With participants from most Mediterranean countries (Member and non-Member States), the project aims to set up and maintain a network of nine local/regional model observatories in the Basin. Beneficiaries include energy, oil and gas providers, aquaculture businesses, port authorities, civil protection services, undersea cable operators, ports and shipping authorities, weather forecasters, policymakers and institutions.
According to Georgios Sylaios of Democritus University of Thrace, ODYSSEAs lead partner, We have identified a real need to harmonise existing Earth-observing systems operating around the Mediterranean and upgrade their operational oceanographic capacities to provide for the specialised information needs of a wide variety of end-users.
Mussel producers could tap into the projects marine and weather data for early warnings on approaching toxic algal blooms. Port authorities could take salinity and water-density readings to calculate buoyancy and optimise shipping movements in shallow harbours. Wind or wave farms could use the data to plan for energy peaks and lows, and many more applications are envisaged when the data are fully integrated into a single platform.
Using social networking tools (ODYSSEA Platform-Greece and similar pages for Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and more), the project will develop a community of Mediterranean data users and provide them with on-demand services via a single public portal. It will also train and educate end-users, scientists, policymakers and entrepreneurs on using marine data and demonstrate the new technologies (i.e. sensors, models, systems, apps) it develops. Capacity building will be important to fully exploit the integrated data to create business and research opportunities across the Mediterranean Basin.
More interoperable data and monitoring services means enhanced knowledge for protecting people and the environment, and greater opportunities for Blue Growth and job creation in the region.