Skip to main content
European Commission logo

EMODnet Black Sea Checkpoint


The concept of the EMODnet Checkpoint originated from the Marine Knowledge 2020 Communication 11, which foresaw the development of new European Instruments such as Thematic Assembly centers (the EMODnet Portals). The first two Pilot Checkpoint initiatives started in 2013 in the Mediterranean Sea and North Sea, followed two years later by the Black Sea, the Arctic basin, the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The sea basin approach is also being followed by the other large European initiative of Copernicus Marine Environment Service (CMEMS) for space and ocean forecasting and has proven to be effective in pooling the expertise together in order to collect, assemble and assess the monitoring data.  The Challenge products are practical examples of how the monitoring data might be used by Member States governmental organizations and/or private companies for developing a renewable energy strategy, and protecting the sea from natural and man-made hazards and impacts (climate, oil spills, alien  species, etc.). They were selected by DGMARE stakeholders and hopefully they will increase to cover all possible usages of marine data for the Blue Economy goals.


Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Question this practice may help answer

What marine data related to human activities is available for the North Sea region?
What is the role of EU initiatives such as EMODnet and Copernicus in providing information?

Implementation Context

The EMODNET  Black Sea checkpoint is a wide ranging monitoring assessment system activity aiming to support sustainable Blue Growth of the European Black Sea Basin by clarifying the observation for landscape; evaluating the fitness for use of current observations and data assembly programs towards targeted applications (challenges); prioritizing the needs to optimize monitoring systems in terms of availability, operational reliability, efficiency, time consistency, space consistency, etc.; and observational priorities required in the future to meet the challenges.


The basic aim of the EMODnet Checkpoints is to assess how well the available marine monitoring data in the Black Sea meet the needs of institutional stakeholders and policy makers and to inform data providers of the adequacy of their data supply chain. The EMODnet Checkpoint approach consists of assessing the basinscale monitoring, extracting the synergies between data set and identifying the gaps of the present data sets of these data sets for the whole Black Sea with regard to eleven end-user applications or ‘Challenges’: CH1- Windfarm Siting, CH2- Marine Protected Areas, CH3- Oil Platform Leak, CH4- Climate, CH5-Coasts, CH6- Fishery Management, CH7- Fishery Impacts, CH8- Eutrophication, CH9- River Inputs, CH10- Bathymetry, CH11- Alien species.


The sea basin checkpoint service has been defined a wide monitoring system assessment aiming to support the sustainable Blue Growth at the scale of the European Sea Basins with a view to:

Clarify the landscape observation, of all elements of the marine environment – Air, Ice, Fresh Water, Marine Water, Riverbed/Seabed, Biota/Biology and Human activities -, pointing out existing programs, European, national, and international programs;

Evaluate the adequacy of marine data i.e. how well the present data collection, monitoring and surveying programmes meet the needs of user, through the prism of blue growth component with most importance for the European Marine Environment Strategy:

Energy and food security (renewable energy, fisheries & aquaculture management);
Marine environment variability and change (climate change, eutrophication, river inputs, bathymetry, alien species);
Emergency management (oil spills, fishery impacts, coastal impacts);
Preservation of natural resources and biodiversity (connectivity of Marine Protected Areas).

Identify gaps in data and service infrastructure for selected uses, challenges, including the reluctance to use.

The Checkpoint methodology was developed following two basic principles:

1) to develop a service to facilitate access to upstream data for the Challenges and make available the Challenge products as open data following the recommendations of INSPIRE;

2) to use the EEA core set of indicator concepts (EEA, 200512) and develop indicators to assess the data adequacy following ISO-adapted standards.

The qualitative assessment can be described a series of actions, in 4 phases and 6 checkpoint tasks:



The Literature Survey (LS) attempts to increase the project partners awareness of the data landscape within the basin through published case studies.


The development of products and confidence limits within thematic challenges, made available – spatial and non-spatial, alike – GIS system for dynamic mapping; e.g. clear product specification and requirements for upstream data, and feedback on their adequacy (compatible with INSPIRE, EMODnet and OGS).


The web-site portal provides free access to outputs from challenges compatible with INSPIRE, EMODnet and OGS, and to EMODnet portals plus a link to the EU’s maritime forum which will contain all reports and allow comments and feedback. The operations of checkpoint web tools and services provides description of data and products and assessment available for all in a standard and reproducible form.


The assessment of upstream data is achieved in two phases :

A first assessment during the first year (DAR 1) focused on releasing/revising the availability status of input data.
A second assessment during a second phase / second year (DAR 2) focused on evaluating data adequacy (fitness for use, appropriateness)

Main Outputs / Results

The activities carried out by the Checkpoints can be summarized in two main streams:

1) produce Checkpoint information: development of a metadatabase, targeted products and indicators

2) produce Checkpoint results and services: Literature Survey, Data Adequacy Reports and Checkpoint Service


The eleven Challenges will produce several “Targeted products”, that will serve as the basis for the assessment of the input data sets adequacy.


The Checkpoint Service is an open data service and it will provide:

1) a metadatabase which describes the Upstream Data to be used for the Challenges;

2) the Challenge products with explanations about their quality and the methodology for their construction;

3) the indicators on the basis of which the Data Adequacy Assessment will be carried out.

The service works on Sextant13 platform, that is entirely interoperable by adopting ISO rules and OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) standards to get access to data.

A Sextant metadatabase has been organized for the Black Sea EMODnet Checkpoint which contains information about the upstream data and the indicators for the Data Adequacy assessment.


Assembled data and related targeted products, made accessible through the portal, can be used in other studies and projects on the Black Sea. The general methodology based on testing the data against specific end-user challenges is shared among all other EMODnet Sea Basin Checkpoints.

The EMODnet website also allows exploring challenges across the different investigated sea basins. The specific methodology adopted by Black Sea Checkpoint, based on European wide principles (ISO and INSPIRE), is completely transferrable to other contexts.

Synthesis information provides support for decision making on observations and monitoring, helps them to monitor gaps and prioritize needs for future development / improvement of overall observing infrastructure.

Data Browser, LS Dashboard and metadata catalogue are used as a discovery/downloading service, to clarify the observation landscape, to browse in the region the existing monitoring data, according to different criteria, with a gateway to source catalogue/data.

Responsible Entity

The EMODnet Black Sea consortium is comprised of 10 partners led by IO-BAS.

Each partner within the consortium are responsible for different challenges.

Costs / Funding Source

The European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) is a long-term marine data initiative funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which together with the Copernicus space programme and the Data Collection Framework for fisheries, implements the EU’s Marine Knowledge 2020 strategy.

Contact Person

EMODnet Secretariat, (secretariat[at]emodnet[dot]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)