IBISAR at the Ocean monitoring and protection technologies and services webinar

On October 20, 2021, the Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB) has taken part in the “Ocean monitoring and protection technologies and services” webinar, jointly organised by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), the European Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), and the Copernicus Marine Service (CMEMS). The webinar presented the latest advances in digital innovation in ocean technologies and services, ocean monitoring and protection, including SOCIB’s IBISAR service, as well as the European space activities. The main objective of the webinar was to stimulate investment and partnerships between public institutions and private companies, to support local authorities' plans and efforts in their “Blue Digital Roads”. 

According to the organisers, tackling the new sustainability challenges for the European Union's blue economy needs action from local decision-makers and stakeholders. In this context, the workshop has been introduced by Harald Gruber (Head of Division - Digital Infrastructure, EIB) and Fiammetta Diani (Head of Market Development, EUSPA). They have highlighted that investing in blue digital monitoring and protection technologies and services, regions, institutions, and national protection authorities will not only protect assets, lives, and biodiversity but also foster innovation and job creation in marine coastal areas, thus regaining European technological leadership and ensuring autonomy. To that end, they have stated that recovery plans and funds offer an opportunity to accelerate innovation aligned with the blue digital agenda, taking advantage of these new digital technologies for monitoring and protecting our seas and coastal areas. In addition, it is also needed to address market failures and fragmentation, identify gaps in ocean monitoring and enhance the intersectoral cooperation. 

CMEMS user cases: IBISAR

The webinar has showcased examples of the new innovative solutions that are already operational, ranging from ocean renewable wave energy applications, early warning systems for coastal regions to services for improving search and rescue, including IBISAR. Emma Reyes, head of the High-Frequency (HF) Radar Facility at SOCIB presented the user-friendly, science-based data downstream service that allows to visualise, compare and evaluate the performance of ocean current predictions in the Iberia-Biscay-Ireland (IBI) regional seas. As Reyes  pointed out during her intervention, IBISAR allows the identification of the most accurate ocean current dataset in a specific area and period of interest, thus facilitating decision-making to Search and Rescue (SAR) operators and emergency responders. 

IBISAR has been developed in partnership between SOCIB, AZTI, and RPS, in collaboration with the Spanish Port System and the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency;  within the Copernicus Marine Service User Uptake Program. This service is generated using the EU Copernicus Marine Service Information.

Blue Digital Champions and Labs

Many of the presented innovations require strong supportive, organisational and collaborative actions at local level, as highlighted by Harald Gruber. He also pointed out that the local demand-based push is key to reducing the cost of innovating and scaling up production, including the creation of new markets and the testing of new business models for ocean observations systems. The need for urgent investment to extend coverage of ocean observation infrastructure and capacity has also been emphasized. The EU and EIB would support initiatives to provide a more systematic approach to accelerate innovation. Committed regions and national authorities would promote funding through the whole value chain and set up Digital Blue Labs, from which SOCIB has been considered as the role model for the Mediterranean Sea, according to the EIB Lead advisor on Digital Strategies, Antonella Calvia-Götz.

More information

  • SOCIB presentation - IBISAR service: Supporting operations and emergency response at sea (pdf)
  • Agenda (pdf)