With the rapid advancement of cyber-physical systems, DT is gaining ever-increasing attention owing to its great capabilities to realise Industry 4.0. Enterprises from different fields are taking advantage of its ability to simulate real-time working conditions and perform intelligent decision-making, where a cost-effective solution can be readily delivered to meet individual stakeholder demands. The Iliad approach considers the engineering product lifecycle management and business innovation as a whole.
Consequently, Iliad will strive to connect its activities and results with effective ocean governance policy in the field of environmental protection and harness the generation of the social goods that arise from it, while being inclusive and respecting sustainable business practices. The DTO, though it evolves in a particularly challenging context where specific factors need to be considered (e.g., unstable connectivity and communication networks, a complex natural environment, and a patchwork of competing national and international jurisdictions), is steadily gaining momentum. The Iliad DTO will contribute to boosting this momentum by delivering interactive virtual tools of the ocean in a unified digital environment, enabling the creation of virtual replicas of a wide range of physical entities. These can be used for lower-resource simulations of processes involving industry, civil society, and government. The Iliad DTO will empower a shared responsibility to monitor and ensure marine habitat preservation, sustainable marine economic activities, and exploitation of ecosystem services (fisheries, aquaculture, transport, offshore energy, etc.). It will allow assessments of ecosystems and habitats, the impact of human activities and forecasts of their short and long-term changes, development of biodiversity conservation strategies, management of sustainable economic activities, assessment of infrastructure vulnerability, development of mitigation, adaptation, and replacement plans to deal with climate risks and optimisation of emergency responses to severe events such as storm surges.
The Iliad Project will contribute to the underlined Expected Impact from the call as follows:
The action will deliver a digital interactive framework based on digital technologies compatible with Destination Earth and the Digital Package including a digital ocean simulator based on a high-resolution numerical model of the ocean, including available ocean observation datasets in Europe and digital analytic toolboxes to configure the digital ocean simulator and to access what-if scenarios.
The Iliad DTO will be a novel cyber-physical ocean simulator of the ocean, describing and forecasting atmospheric/ocean processes across the catchments, the river-sea systems, the open ocean, the sea-ice, and the pelagic/mesopelagic/benthic environments along with the simulated operations carried out by various marine and maritime actors. The Iliad DTO will reach TRL 8 in which a complete and qualified, federated, cloud-based modeling, and simulation platform will be accomplished. The system will provide access to all available observation datasets, enriched by the internally collected data at all pilot locations, leveraging HPC infrastructure, software, AI applications, and analytics. High-resolution digital replicas (the localised DT) will be developed at each location by deploying a high number of low-cost sensors, developed, and tested in other H2020 projects, to collect RT data from various marine/maritime operators. Numerical models, standard and thematic, will downscale existing coarser grids reaching a super-resolution reconstruction of ocean processes.
A series of ‘what-if’ scenarios will test the representativeness of the digital ocean simulator under “real conditions of use”. The Iliad DTO will be associated with a set of Toolboxes for Data Analytics and AI modelling, for Semantic Information Analysis, for Social Media monitoring, and for Citizen Science integration. Complementing the core European existing operation ocean forecasting and ocean climate services provided by Copernicus to the European public, scientific and private users, with a simulation capacity that will enable the plug-in of vertical applications based on innovative solutions (sectorial methods, coupled models, statistical approaches, assimilation, ensembles, massive computing, deep learning, etc.) to support science-driven policies implementation.
Through the Iliad DTO data collected from existing EU Observing and Modelling Digital Infrastructures and Facilities (mostly from GOOS, Copernicus Marine, Land, Atmosphere, Climate, Security and Emergency, EEA, ESA, etc.) and from other initiatives and networks will be made easily accessible and presentable in a comprehensive manner, allowing the multi-sectoral marine and maritime actors (managers, stakeholders, policy makers, and citizens) to benefit from ocean digitisation. Data interoperability approach will ensure the implementation of multi-use concept achieving sustained, integrated, and ‘fit-for-purpose’ data, covering the needs of local users. Coupled numerical models (standardised and thematic) will produce highly accurate forecasts per sectorial case, assimilating data from local sensors, while production and socio-economic parameters and indices will be merged to environmental using low and high-level data fusion, data mining, patterns recognition, Machine and Deep Learning, Event Detection Algorithms. The Geovisualisation of ocean data through the DTO, enriched with the aggregation and interpretation of data and metadata Semantic Information will illustrate to users in useful and attractive way the wealth and capacities of existing European and Global Ocean Observing Systems, while enabling an interactive data exploration, synthesis, and presentation by users.
Moving towards a European Ocean Observing System, fully integrated with multidisciplinary PS of estuarine, coastal and marine environments and socio-ecological systems, and promoting shared data management strategies (infrastructure development, data standardisation, sharing, availability, access, interoperability, visualisation, and use of data according to the FAIR principles).
Iliad will focus on a set of well-selected pilot locations, being areas with limited data coverage and high-resolution ocean modeling capacities, hosting a multitude of end-users, with interesting socio-ecological interactions across watersheds, coastal, shelf, and open seas, in which socio-economic and environmental/ecological data will be merged and qualitative and quantitative modelling techniques will be employed, leading towards scenario analysis and integrated ecosystem assessments.
The impact of climate change on the already stressed socio-ecological systems will be assessed and adaptive strategies will be built to ensure sustainability. Iliad will place emphasis on sharing data and Best Practices among pilots and with other H2020 projects, in terms of low-cost sensors development, IoT sensory integration, data harmonisation, cloud platform architecture and optimisation, geo-visualisation, socio-economic data extraction and merging, data fusion, and AI techniques, and inclusive end-user engagement. Support science-driven approaches to policies implementations by users that reinforce conservation and ecosystem-based management of marine habitats/green infrastructure, improve the planning and management of marine areas, and safeguard productivity and biodiversity of marine ecosystems and how this is influenced by the river-to-sea interaction; in each Iliad Pilot Site, the ecosystem-based approach will be followed to address local environmental challenges while promoting sustenance (economic, social, cultural). For example, issues like watershed land uses, waterways nutrient overload, eutrophication and HAB alerts, benthic anoxia, impacts on habitats, and other related adverse effects will be closely studied and will be associated with coastal morphodynamics and exchanges, marine spatial planning, and socio-economic indicators. The presence of invasive species and jellyfish outbreaks in ecosystems will be addressed by examining their favourable ocean/environmental conditions through ML and DL tools and ‘what-if’ climate change scenarios will be built.
Overall, Iliad will merge and aggregate ocean, biodiversity and socio-economic marine and maritime parameters, apply intelligent algorithms to resolve, and optimise specific end-users issues of broader sectoral interest. Increase citizen engagement, taking into account cultural and emotional aspects, through increased awareness and understanding of the dynamics, interactions and evolution of seas and oceans and their role in our well-being and survival, promoting bottom-up actions, empowering citizens in innovative co-designed services, and new project designs where citizens' opinions are considered from the initial stages.
The Iliad venture highlights the interactions of people and the marine realm, as mediated through technology. Citizens will be approached online to share their experience and observations at sea, express their emotions, concerns and opinions and propose joint solutions alongside scientists and other stakeholders to oceanic challenges such as marine plastic pollution and littering, jellyfish outbreaks and marine conservation. Big Data sets created by this process will be screened for QA and twinned to promote collaborative opportunities and direct action to curb and face the ocean challenges. Citizen science often addresses regulatory gaps and mismatches through voluntary actions (Guerrini et al., 2018). The proposed Citizen Science initiative will address such gaps, with several main goals in mind: 1. Collection of biological, ecological, and spatio-temporal data from the public about threat distribution to be analysed, modelled, and forecasted. 2. Monitor threat distribution in real-time and display it in online maps to inform both decision-makers and the public of the state of beaches 3. Educate the public and empower participants to communicate and act to resolve challenges in marine nature, pollution distribution and human-nature interactions, understand how to avoid and prevent threats and turn them into commercial, educational, or even medical opportunities. A long-term ongoing impact is expected from establishing this project, as both empowered humans and the online structures developed are expected to last and operate for decades to come.
Encourage and enable the infusion of ‘non-scientific data streams’, in a coordinated way, through citizens engaged in data gathering, and through joint efforts from a community composed of users of the sea, including private companies, public authorities, social innovators, researchers, citizens and policy makers; Iliad will develop and extend dedicated internet websites to feature detailed information on identification and characteristics of marine threats such as jellyfish, marine macro and micro plastics, illegal fishing and other threats. Citizens, the private sector, and decision-makers will be engaged in a wide array of activities to elicit opinion and position about marine challenges faced along beaches and how to translate these into actionable items Iliad will set 'mass' 'investigation and education' or 'Level 1 crowdsourcing' (Haklay 2012) project; where citizens are used as sensors of the natural environment and scientists formulate research questions and analyse collected data to answer them. These may be augmented to include Level 3 'participatory science' aspects of citizen contribution by the empowerment of groups of participants that include surfers, fishers, divers, swimmers, marine school students, and other marine stakeholders. Iliad will offer extensive training and activities enhancing the value of these semi-scientific data streams such as lectures, workshops, epidemiological sting surveys, social networking, photography competitions, data analysis sessions and hackathons, and training in advising policymakers. In the data analysis stage, these participants will be defined as 'gold users' and their input will help QA and calibrate general public reports.
Policymakers, private sector and the public at the regional, national, and local levels will be approached during the project in interviews and workshops for prioritising actions on the challenges identified by public participation. Support industry to develop new business models and opportunities in ocean data and related services.
The Iliad Marketplace will offer additional business models and opportunities for industry to provide ocean data and related services that can be integrated directly into and interoperate with the DTO as well as access to the apps, plug-ins and data sources of the global community of practitioners, thus encouraging further synergistic development and expansion of market opportunities for all ocean services. Iliad’s BTBIF will solicit and support business and product innovation, accelerating developments in ocean data and related services.
Facilitate the operationalising of long term observing systems and contribute to the objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Iliad DTO will provide the necessary innovative tools to bring together scientists, policy makers, implementing authorities, and other users to collaborate on monitoring and implementing the objectives of the EGD, Digital Strategy, and the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Through co-design, outreach, and training activities (webinars, workshops, toolkits, etc.), hackathons, assessments, multi-national discussions, we will facilitate collaboration on data availability, accessibility, science-driven decision making, citizen-engagement, and transparency of policymaking and implementation. Thus, the Iliad DTO will also help reinforce dialogues on the science-policy interface, as well as drive multidisciplinary approaches by integrating new technologies pertaining to natural, social, and engineering sciences, while ensuring local knowledge is preserved and integrated via citizen engagement and input. The Iliad DTO will aim to create new value to Ocean Services and Sciences by making openly available new tools that help multiple sectors in ocean monitoring, governance, and sustainability.
The implementation of the Iliad DTO solution will lead to the generation of important key exploitable results and the novel knowledge produced paves the way for streamlining Marine Observation and making it accessible to all. The Iliad DTO will build on the existing forecast and climate modelling infrastructures and services (including Copernicus marine services) and pool together all available observation data, at EU-level, into an open-source, easily accessible and understandable interface, and matching application and an interactive DTO. This infrastructure will allow the development of trusted and fit for purpose science-based deliverables (observation system, modelling capacity, maps) that can be used as services that will help address the main challenges for our sea, notably unsustainable footprint, climate change, lack of understanding, connection and investment, and inadequate governance. The Iliad DTO services will be used to develop tailored applications that can help track pollution, climate change and impacts of human activities in real-time. They can be used by all economic actors, public authorities and civil society, to monitor, observe and enable actions on pollution, climate areas of priority, maritime spatial planning, safe navigation and support civil society’s participation in ocean and water governance and policymaking. They will serve as risk-management tools for the financial and insurance sectors to assess sustainability credentials of investments. In addition, sequencing the DNA of our ocean and waters, as a common public good, will offer immense opportunities to discover new molecules and biotechnologies for the wellbeing and health of European citizens. By closing these knowledge gaps, the Iliad DTO will contribute to sustainable Blue Growth and to the regeneration of our seas.