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Seafloor geology and the European EMODnet data infrastructure: The challenge of integrating off-shore data across EEZ boundaries

Within the EMODnet Geology project BGR is leading the Workpackage Seafloor geology with the aim to compile and harmonise data of the pre-Quaternary and Quaternary off-shore geology and geomorphology of the European Seas, and finally publish the results according to FAIR data principles. The data are assembled from 36 EMODnet Geology partner organisations and derived mostly from geophysical surveys (e.g. echo soundings) and sampling (e.g. drilling or dredging). Major challenges pose the heterogeneity of the provided data regarding terminology, geometry, level of detail, age of datasets and technical conditions:

  • terminology. The participating partners use their own national or regional classification systems and description;
  • geometry: artificial discrepancies at EEZ-boundaries;
  • scale: some regions are investigated in comparatively high detail while others are mapped in overview scales;
  • age: often recently mapped units need to be integrated with data resulting from earlier mapping campaigns;
  • heterogeneous technical conditions within partner organisations.

In order to ensure data interoperability and create the maps layers in a largely harmonized, unified manner, the project requires common standards e.g.

  • controlled vocabularies, optimally based on existing standards such as INSPIRE or CGI-GeoSciML terminology,
  • a straightforward data model and
  • a pragmatic approach that takes into account the realities of the project partners.

This presentation will demonstrate the methodological approach to collate and combine data, information and knowledge from over 30 international partners and the challenge to develop, integrate and publish largely harmonized map layers of the off-shore geology of Europe and beyond.


Kristine Eva Charlotte Asch1
1Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR), Germany
GeoBerlin 2023