Marine Analyst: facilitating access to marine data in an innovative way

September 15, 2021

The WEkEO Earth Observation cloud platform is used by a variety of organisations for different purposes from scientific research and environmental monitoring, to supporting the development of fact-based policy making and commercial applications of Earth Observation data. The WEkEO team spoke to Pascal Derycke from Marine Analyst to discuss how they have used the WEkEO platform to develop and operate this innovative marine data platform which started as a personal project, a sort-of “citizens’ initiative”, between Pascal and his friend and colleague, Laurent Dubroca.

What is Marine Analyst?

Marine Analyst is a collaborative platform that aims to facilitate access to marine data and produce value-added analyses and environmental indicators for users around the world, from scientists and researchers to policymakers and the general public.

Through this platform, users can access data and analyses that address current societal and environmental issues related to the marine sector. The platform adopts the FAIR principles of open environmental science: findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability. All scripts (Notebooks) are available in a Github repository for execution in a virtual Binder environment allowing expert users to tailor analyses to their needs.

Marine Analyst thus aims to train future marine ecologists, and more broadly, to inform the general public of the state of the marine environment. It can, for example, be used to gather information about marine protected areas, marine litter or marine traffic, support maritime spatial planning or provide extensive data to support the implementation of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Overall, it improves transparency, enables innovation and ultimately protects the environment by providing data that help stakeholders knowingly plan, manage, protect and restore marine areas.

Source: Extract from a Marine Analyst report on beach litter showing the mean number of plastic bag related items | Marine Analyst

How has Marine Analyst been used?

Marine Analyst users include scientists and researchers, but also environmental NGOs, policymakers, and the general public. Today we hear from two Marine Analyst users, Eric LeGentil and Alberto Filimao Sitoe, about how they have used the platform.

Eric LeGentil is a research engineer from France and uses Marine Analyst in his work on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) at the GIS HomMer:

I mainly use Marine Analyst to understand the intensity and variability of marine traffic in French marine and coastal protected areas, in order to map commercial and non-commercial activities that take place in these areas. Marine Analyst’s added value in this context is to provide indicators that allow to measure marine traffic in a common way for all MPAs, which can, for example, be used as the basis for comparisons between the different areas.

Alberto Filimao Sitoe is a marine researcher from Mozambique and uses Marine Analyst in the framework of his academic research:

I discovered and started using Marine Analyst at the 2021 Copernicus Climate Change Conference and General Assembly. Marine Analyst is of great importance for my work, as it provides me with data on oceanographic and meteorological parameters, which are necessary for my thesis on the Energetic Potential of Ocean Waves on the Xai-Xai beach in Mozambique. Marine Analyst has helped me move forward faster with both my thesis and the production of scientific articles

What data does the service use?

Marine Analyst uses data from the Copernicus Marine Service, directly available through WEkEO, from EMODnet thematic portals, as well as from OSPAR, HELCOM, GEBCO and many more sources.

What virtual processing environments does WEkEO offer?

The Marine Analyst platform highlights the benefits of WEkEO’s powerful data access and processing virtual environments. WEkEO’s Virtual Machines are ready-to-use and available to users, customisable depending on the needs and plan of the user: users on the advanced plan will be able to access cloud processing resources through the dashboard or by using SSH (Secure Shell Protocol) access. For more information, click here.

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