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The EC launched the Open Research Data Pilot to encourage researchers of Horizon 2020 projects to share valuable data. Open data is data that is free to access, reuse, re-purpose, and redistribute. Selected project will make there research data accessible with as few restrictions as possible, while at the same time protecting sensitive data from inappropriate access. Other projects can opt-in if they are interested as Open Data does not only support research integrity, it has also been shown that making data available alongside publications can increase citations. OpenAIRE supports the Open Research Data Pilot and provides a range of resources, FAQs, webinars and support pages.

Open data can not only be used for further scientific research but can also be applied for practical application and innovative tools. Our featured project: EGSIEM shows how collecting data on the redistribution of environmental mass can help monitoring and forecasting floods and droughts. It does not only provide data but also the tools to interpret them and work with them. 


Prof. Tonie van Dam and Dr. Mathias Weigelt from the Geophysics Laboratory of the University of Luxembourg are participating in a Horizon2020 project entitled “European Gravity Service for Improved Emergency Management” (EGSIEM). The goal of the project is to use gravity field data to map and, hopefully forecast, extreme hydrological events such as flooding and drought in Europe. Gravity field data represents an innovative tool in this type of monitoring, but it is currently inaccessible to non-specialists.  One of the main tasks is to develop a tool that people can easily use, access and interpret.

Making data available

At the heart of the EGSIEM project is the idea that better knowledge yields better decision - making . Towards this idea the 8 consortium members of EGSIEM aim to derive improved products from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission . The current latency and complex nature of the data derived from the GRACE mission makes the data of limited value for monitoring and forecasting applications . Currently Geodesists need to wait approximately 2 months from observation by GRACE until the data is processed for access and examination . EGSIEM will improve the data latency, will perform the complex processing, and will provide a simple to use web interface (based on the EGSIEM plotter provided by Géode & Cie ) . The data will be freely available for users.

EGSIEM will implement three scientific services: 

A scientific combination service which will combine the results obtained from different ACs of the EGSIEM consortium, each of which will perform independent analysis methods but will employ consistent processing standards. The quality, robustness and reliability of these datasets will significantly increase.

A near real - time (NRT) / regional service improving the temporal resolution to one day and providing full gravity field information within five days. This will translate into tremendous added value for warning and forecasting the onset of natural hazards.

A hydrological/early warning service providing adequate data products and indicators to support operational satellite - based flood information services.

Open Data

EGSIEM will have an open data policy with respect to all data generated within the project. The project will generate several dozens of terabytes of data, which cannot all be provided from one resource. The team will distinguish three levels of access, which are physically distributed. Accessibility to all levels will be guaranteed via the project website ( The top level contains level-3 data, data that is most accessible to non-experts.  This data will eventually be freely accessible using a plotter interface ( This website will comprise ready-to-use grids of regional and global solutions, mean values per area and flood and drought indices as time series.

egsiem plotter

Fig 1. The EGSIEM plotter with visualization of the data

Visualization tools will help the selection and allow a first evaluation of the data. Most end users will need nothing else but this interface to the level 3 data and the possibility for downloading.

Users who are interested in the estimated model parameters (level-2 data) that will be used for producing level-3 products will have free access via the International Centre for global Earth Models. Mostly scientific users will choose this option as it will allow them to perform more detailed investigations and validations using this data.

Finally, the bulk of the data is created for internal usage and will only be interesting to a few researchers for very specific applications. Nevertheless, these data will be stored at the institution of the consortium member who generated the data, for verification/validation purposes or for continuing usage in other applications.

Project Participants: the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern (CH); the GFZ; the German Aerospace Center (D); Universities of Graz (A); Luxembourg (LUX); and Hannover (D); the French Space Agency CNES (F); and Géode & Cie (F).