Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission

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1 Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission Heads of Delegation Laulasmaa, Estonia, June 2016 HOD Document title Progress in modernization of HELCOM data management systems Code 4-23-Corr. Category INF Agenda Item 4 Matters arising from HELCOM Groups Submission date Submitted by Secretariat Reference Minutes of HELCOM HOD , para Background HELCOM HOD considered the update on modernization of HELCOM data management and systems (document 3-4) and exchanged views on the future direction for development of HELCOM databases as presented by the Secretariat. The Meeting supported that development of HELCOM data systems should strive for interoperability of databases, highlighted the importance of RSCs cooperation and striving for one reporting on monitoring data in the Baltic Sea serving both BSAP and MSFD and that when further considering the databases developments, the data needs should be considered. This document describes the overall data related outcomes since the latest update of the document, ongoing data related work in relation to HOLAS II assessment and current development processes. There is also consideration on future work and conclusions based on lessons learnt along the process. Action requested The meeting is invited to take note of the outcomes, ongoing and future work in relation to HELCOM data activities. Page 1 of 10

2 Progress in modernization of HELCOM data management systems: Solutions on how to cope with emerging needs to better serve the contracting parties in their work to achieve a good environmental status of the Baltic Sea 1. Introduction HELCOM decided in the Copenhagen Ministerial Meeting to continue the intensified efforts to improve data and information quality and availability as well as coordinated monitoring practices, constituting the basis of HELCOM work, which is to ensure a sufficient knowledge base for devising cost-efficient measures and overall the implementation of the ecosystem approach and management of human activities in the Baltic Sea. The Ministerial Declaration also includes a decision to further develop and update HELCOM data and information systems with the view to strengthen HELCOM s role as the key Baltic Sea data hub for online information on the state of the environment as well as on human activities and their impacts on the Baltic Sea. This activity should complement and be compatible with the ongoing national, regional and European data management developments, to support the national data functions, and taking into account the need to make available and utilizable the data that have been compiled during various assessment processes. This document, which is a second update to the document originally considered by HELCOM HOD (cf. document 3/21) and updated for HELCOM HOD , informs on the status, progress and plans in modernization activities related to HELCOM data and information. The earlier report from 2014 concluded that the already initiated modernization of HELCOM data management by the Secretariat as well as various database developments will enhance the use of existing regional HELCOM data know-how and architecture. The Contracting Parties of HELCOM have obligations stemming from various directions: global, European and national requirements. The way data is made available can have a bearing on the amount of overall effort to comply with various reporting obligations. There are numerous ongoing developments particularly linked to European but also global and wider regional policies which very much focus on enhancing marine and maritime data and information, such as related to blue growth, Maritime Spatial Planning, and in the EU member states and European Environment Agency, to the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. These developments in the field of data and information require a pro-active role from HELCOM in terms of sharing its experiences and providing contribution, in order to: make the best use of the data existing in HELCOM, maximize synergies and avoid duplication of work, orientate future developments in HELCOM to optimally serve the HELCOM Contracting Parties and develop regional added value. 2. Outcomes during Database on HELCOM MPAs (PROTECT/ECONET) HELCOM MPAs database was completely restructured during 2015 to suite for the emerging data needs not covered by the old BSPA database, which was technically outdated and lacked spatial element. Comprehensive development work was carried out to suite the diverse data needs of the ecological coherence assessment of MPA network and various user needs defined by the MPA task group and also the connection to the HELCOM GIS system was established. The development of the data model was carried out by making use of similar attributes as OSPAR MAIA database model when possible to allow best interoperability of data between MPA data between OSPAR Page 2 of 10

3 and HELCOM. The database also serves as databank for important species, biotopes, biotope complexes, pressures and activities within the HELCOM MPA areas. HELCOM MPAs database (Figure 1) is accessible online at Figure 1. HELCOM MPAs database, MPA sites table listing all sites. 2.2 Eutrophication data work flow (EUTRO OPER) EUTRO-OPER project produced streamlined data reporting work flow from reporting to assessment and explored the options on making the assessment process as automated as possible. The project developed a data workflow model where data is submitted to COMBINE database hosted by ICES with a possibility to include additional data, e.g. earth observation datasets to an assessment database. In addition to the raw data quality assurance procedure carried out for COMBINE data, the data used in an assessment will be reviewed by experts on three levels: 1) stations (temporal and spatial scope, are missing observations in the assessment data), 2) indicators and 3) assessment. A specific workspace containing data view (Figure 2) was developed to carry out the assessment data review. Page 3 of 10

4 Figure 2. EUTRO OPER data reporting workspace. Dataview displays dynamic map and table that are read directly from ICES database, making possible the review of underlying data used in the assessment results Waterborne pollution load compilation (PLC) database The PLUS project ( ) aimed at modernizing HELCOM waterborne pollution load compilation (PLC) database, and development of a web application to access the data. Major components of the modernization have been accomplished - a new database has been developed and put into operation, while adjustments to the database will still be needed, to cater for PLC assessment related activities. The modernization has provided a more efficient data handling system including both reporting and retrieving data on water born pollution discharges into the Baltic Sea, and introduced an automatic quality assurance system ensuring more comparable, consistent and validated data. Furthermore, this development facilitates the elaboration of HELCOM evaluations and assessments and in general will support the decisionmaking process, and ease an access to the data for research purposes. In 2016 CPs are for the first time reporting their annual and periodic PLC data with the use of the web reporting tools and with experience gained the reporting will become more time-efficient and the workload lessened due to automation of the quality assurance procedures. Ultimately, the collected data will be openly available to the public, according to the current standards. 2.4 Major datasets published during Maritime related spatial datasets (BalticScope) Better utilization of comprehensive AIS data collected within the HELCOM AIS system was made possible in the BalticScope project (EU co-financed by Interreg) where HELCOM as a partner is responsible of producing shipping related data products to serve the needs of MSP in some case studies. A large effort has Page 4 of 10

5 been conducted on processing large volumes of raw AIS data into usable data products for planning purposes Fisheries related datasets HELCOM and ICES issued a data call to obtain information on spatial extent of fisheries based VMS and logbook data for the years In 2015 ICES collated Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and logbook data received; data from Russia were not received. HELCOM requested advice, as fishing abrasion pressure maps as well as fishing effort maps, were provided by ICES Working Group for Spatial Fisheries (WGSFD). Processing of the raw data was done by ICES WGSFD following conditions for VMS data use, so as to make use of required specific resources, knowledge and guarantee of anonymity for specific vessels. As a result of the advice, 52 different shapefiles were received displaying effort and intensity of fisheries activities grouped by temporal period and gear types. Results are available for view and download via the HELCOM Map and Data service Biodiversity spatial data (WISE-MARINE-RSC) The project WISE-MARINE-RSC for the development of a shared environmental information system between the EU and Regional Sea conventions, financed by DG ENV, had the aim of developing a shared data and information system between EU and the Regional Sea Conventions. The biodiversity component of the project assisted the secretariat to make available spatial data from the RED LIST project and supporting the development of HELCOM Map and Data Service. Outcome of the biodiversity component, publishing of ~100 maps on red listed biotopes and species with documented metadata as collected within the HELCOM RED LIST project, were published in the HELCOM Map service in the end of Ongoing and future development 3.1 Update of HELCOM Map and Data service Maritime spatial planning (MSP) sets high requirements on resolution and update interval of spatial data. As HELCOM collects and hosts various spatial datasets relevant to MSP and makes it openly available via the HELCOM Map and Data service, it would be efficient to make use of existing data collection framework to cater for data needs of MSP. The data requirements of MSP are needed to take into account already in the data collection and especially in solutions regarding data access and update interval. In case of MSP relevant data, distributed hosting solutions are essential to cater for best available accuracy and data being up-to-date without delays in data collation and processing. This challenges is being discussed among the HELCOM-VASAB MSP Data Expert group, which is currently defining the MSP input data needs thus constructing the basis for the Baltic Lines project to develop further the concept of Baltic MSDI following INSPIRE principles and specifying the priorities of datasets. HELCOM as partner in the EU co-financed Baltic Lines project ( ) will look into piloting Baltic Marine Spatial data infrastructure (Baltic MSDI) in practice. This means testing the concept of distributed data hosting in making publicly available distributed spatial data on linear infrastructures in the Baltic Sea from a single entry point. The aim is to develop and integrate a component to the HELCOM Map service to display spatial data from national authorities to be available to planners. Page 5 of 10

6 3.2 Implementing workspace approach to other themes in HOLAS II The piloting work done within EUTRO OPER project is planned to be operationalized for other thematic assessments as well in the context of HOLAS II assessment with the support of EU co-financed TAPAS project. This approach will make sure that the underlying data used in the assessment can be reviewed and accepted efficiently by the experts and made publicly available when the assessment is published. Another key element of TAPAS project ( ) is starting the process of updating HELCOM Map and Data service to a new device-independent technology also enabling better access to metadata, searchable table of contents and easier end-user experience. 3.3 HELCOM data collection activities Many HELCOM assessments require data beyond the scope of current regular HELCOM data collection. At present, some spatial datasets/ databases related to marine environment, pressures and human activities are regularly collected / hosted within HELCOM framework (Table 1). The data covered by the regular data collection is in a format typically defined by a HELCOM guideline or an agreement. Quality of data is assured by a verification process within relevant HELCOM expert group and accompanied with metadata. This type of datasets are generally readily usable for HELCOM assessment purposes. Data collection on emerging issues, or which concern issues in the fringes of HELCOM activities is in many cases not reasonable to carry out on a regular basis. However, such data may be important for HELCOM assessments and thus often need to be collected ad hoc. This chapter summarizes ongoing work in relation to development of regular thematic data collection activities (3.3.1) and ad-hoc data collection (3.3.2) to HOLAS II assessment Regular data collections activities Regular data collection activities have been carried out and some thematic databases have been developed further when resources have been made available. Status of each data collection activity is displayed in Table 1. Biodiversity datasets: Birds, Coastal fish, Seals (BalticBoost) Collection of biodiversity data to cater the data needs of indicator is made much more efficiently with operational solution and web platform where to store data and openly access indicator results and raw data. The EU-financed BalticBoost project ( ) work package 1.2 aims at providing operational database solution and visualization tools to serve for the data needs of HELCOM indicators related to birds, coastal fish and seals. To date the data collection for these themes have been done manually by the experts/secretariat using excel files which is resource intensive and prone for errors. Each thematic database will have a specific data model which is developed together with indicator experts and implemented as a tabular database with a connection to HELCOM Map service to enable spatial component for the dataset. When developing the thematic data models, specific focus has been directed to making use of what has been already defined in existing data models, e.g. OSPAR data model in case of seal distribution and abundance counts and European Seabirds at Sea (ESAS) model in case of offshore bird counts. Page 6 of 10

7 Table 1. List of HELCOM databases/datasets collected regularly and current status of hosting and access arrangements. Database and datasets (Status / Pressures) COMBINE database (Status) Pollution Load Compilation (PLC database) (Pressures) Monitoring of Radioactive Substances (MORS Environment database) (Status) Monitoring of Radioactive Substances (MORS Discharge database) (Pressures) Automatic Identification System (AIS database) (Pressures) Dredged material HELCOM MPAs Current Host, current reporting mechanism and QA ICES, ICES reporting format and QA report to data provider (SQL database) Access point Raw data and time series plots available from ICES website Current status Data work flow updated with data host ICES (Eutrophication completed, Contaminants under preparation) BNI (SQL database) Under development PLUS project finalized, development continues as a regular activity MAI CART OPER project will help to operationalize assessments within verification and Expert Group approval (MS Access database) Finnish Radiation Safety Authority (STUK), Excel sheet reporting in agreed format, QA within verification and Expert Group (MS Access database) DMA (until end of 2016), Automated data collection process from national AIS systems within verification Secretariat, Dedicated website for reporting data in agreed format, QA within verification Dedicated webpage 1, service; IAEA s MARiS database Dedicated webpage 2, service; IAEA s DIRATA database Public access for aggregated data products from HELCOM Map and data service service Dedicated website 3 and service Annual update and verification in MORS meetings. Annual update and verification in MORS meetings. AIS EWG recommended to move hosting to Norway (Kystverket) before the end of 2016 Baltic Scope and Baltic Lines projects to process raw data into usable data products for various purposes (MSP, HOLAS II) PRESSURE meeting and follow up expert online meeting discussed the need to revise the reporting guideline to suite better reporting and cater for better quality data. Suggested modifications to be reviewed by expert by August Development needed. Web application published in Q4/2015. Content updated by CPs for the ecological coherence assessment. Some development requests pending implementation Page 7 of 10

8 Biological data (RED LIST) (Status) Secretariat, no annual reporting Public access for aggregated data products from HELCOM Map and data service Completed for previous assessment. Harbour porpoise database (HELCOM/ASCOBANS) (Status & Pressures) within verification service Annual update in SEAL meetings. Other biodiversity databases (Seals, Coastal fish, Birds) Ad hoc solutions for indicators, no established data collection Databases to be developed and hosted by the Secretariat within BalticBoost project by the end of Shipping accidents database (Pressures) within verification Development needed Illegal oil discharges database (Pressures) within verification service Annual update by IWGAS. Development needed HELCOM-OSPAR Ballast water management risk assessment tool Secretariat Dedicated website Development needed HELCOM SeaTrackWeb SMHI, Oil Drift forecasting and response related information exchange Dedicated password protected access point for authorities responsible for oil pollution response HELCOM information on Maritime Accident Response within verification service A second generation HELCOM MARITIME/RESPONSE regional Baltic Sea information system needed Ad-hoc data collection to HELCOM Maritime assessment and HOLAS II assessment The HELCOM Maritime assessment and second HELCOM holistic assessment will be based on regular HELCOM data collection activities outlined in various recommendation and guidelines. In addition to the regular data collection, the preparation the assessments has indicated that there is various data needs beyond the scope of regular HELCOM data collection activities. Thus there has been efforts in projects and by the secretariat to gather best available data from existing sources when applicable. Typically the data needed for the assessment are not available online, thus a separate data call has been issued by the secretariat to complement the existing data collection in order to produce best available information on the status of and pressure to the Baltic Sea environment. For this purpose, the secretariat has issued the following data calls: - Distribution of certain key marine species and biotopes - Abundance of waterbirds - Human activities datasets - Dredging activities - Extraction of sand and gravel Page 8 of 10

9 The process for collection and acceptance of additional data for the HELCOM assessments has been described to ensure the same approach is taken within various HELCOM working strands (Figure 3). For transparency and replicability, the process of the data collection and acceptance will be documented and each dataset accompanied with proper metadata. Figure 3. Data collection and acceptance process for additional data for HELCOM assessment purposes. 4. Conclusions 4.1 Making available fisheries related datasets HELCOM and ICES issued a data call to obtain information on spatial extent of fisheries based on VMS and logbook data for the years HELCOM requested advice, as fishing abrasion pressure maps as well as fishing effort maps, which were provided by ICES Working Group for Spatial Fisheries (WGSFD). Results, including report and processed datasets, were published as ICES advice and available to all users via ICES portal and HELCOM Map and Data service. This approach made it possible to release spatial data on fisheries causing pressures to the marine environment in a scale that is in line with conditions for VMS data use. However, the processing of the raw VMS data to data products requires specific expertise and effort and the overhead to obtain the update within a possible future ICES advice in the way it was done for the data may be extensive, depending on how many simultaneous advice requests ICES receives (e.g. OSPAR, any EU related need). There is a scope for coordinating the requests, for which less ad hoc framework could be established, especially that the resulting datasets are open to public and potentially benefit many users and uses. For less demanding use, alternative ways to obtain information on fisheries related pressures have been explored, and more specifically to analyze the HELCOM AIS data combined with list of fisheries vessels, following similar conditions as for VMS data and to use same aggregation level (c-square) to ensure Page 9 of 10

10 anonymity. Other, more sustainable and far-reaching option would be that holders of national VMS data would be providing this information as aggregated data products. 4.2 Current approach on developing web-based services HELCOM Secretariat has been implementing a strategy for developing databases using a project-based approach where resources have been applied for a fixed time period and when available allocated to cater for a certain task, e.g. development of a specific database solution and web application. This approach is more suitable for deliverables which are unchangeable after completion. However, in case of database development and specifically in case of web applications, a certain level of maintenance is required also after completion of a product in order for the solution to be sustainable. It should be also noted that emerging end-user requirements typically require change in both the web application and the underlying database which may require considerable effort. The number of different thematic web services operated by the secretariat has been steadily growing over the past years based on the needs of the countries. Even if the development of the currently on-going application/database development projects come to an end, there will be effort required for maintaining and sustaining the solutions. The main reason being the amount of testing performed within the time frame of the project is very minimal due to the availability of limited resources at the secretariat and contracting parties. Due to this reason, the secretariat s relies more on the contracting parties and other end users to test the application once the development has been completed. In order to deliver a new set of web applications and also sustain the existing applications / platform (fixing emerging issues and also to take on board change requests), additional resourcing capabilities are needed for development and operational needs. This operational needs include sufficient infrastructure, continuous availability of the application platform or maintenance of a certain service level for the IT services provided by the secretariat. Page 10 of 10

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