George Spoelstra

George Spoelstra is the Managing Director of GGSgc and EMODnet Bathymetry coach.

GGS geo consultancy BV (GGSgc) is a specialized technical consultancy firm active in the (hydrographic/oceanographic) geo-ict industry. GGSgc specialises in (web/cloud based) software development, data processing, project management, interim management and training. GGSgc builds on years of experience in the hydrographic/oceanographic and cartographic business both in government and private industry. Finding working solutions instead of caching rainbows is what drives the company meaning timely delivery and satisfied customers. Over the years, GGSgc has been particularly active in OGC compliant viewing and download services for the European EMODnet project. With the development of these services the focus has been on both the technical functions (based on GeoServer, OpenLayers, PostGIS etc) and the esthetical/cartographic sides, resulting in working but also appealing solutions that are used by hundreds of users daily. GGSgc can build on a large network of experts and organisations in the science, government and industrial sector focusing on hydrography, oceanography, oil and gas, offshore (dredging) and software development.

After completing his cartography study, George started as a Systems Coordinator responsible for information analysis, system design and development for all automated systems at the Hydrographic Service of the Royal Netherlands Navy. After 3 years in this position he continued his career at the Hydrographic Service as a Policy Officer responsible for advice and development in the field of nautical chart production, ECDIS, military cartography and geo data processing. He was the point of contact for the board for all national and international issues regarding legislation, use and production of (digital) geographic information both for civil and military applications. During that period he was member of many international committees and working groups related to the standardisation of S-57 and ECDIS. Since 2006 he was responsible for the SENS product line at ATLIS, The Netherlands. He is now managing director of GGSgc.

Using his experience in the Maritime GIS market, GGSgc offers part-time training services to the international training institute Skilltrade providing Maritime GIS classes for the IHO CAT B course.

During the start-up fase of GGSgc Mr. Spoelstra joined Esri as an International Business Development Manager for Esri’s Maritime business in the Rotterdam Esri Global regional office in 2012 and worked in an international team until June 2016. His responsibilities included business development and support for Esri’s maritime products in particular and maritime and port related industries in general. His focus area was Europe although Mr. Spoelstra also actively supported projects in Panama, Middle East and South Africa. While working for Esri he was the project leader of the Portmaps project at the Port of Rotterdam and responsible for winning the 10 million Euro project for Esri.

From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Spoelstra was the founder and chairman of the international business alliance HydroTeam. He encouraged cooperation between 4 highly specialized companies (SevenC’s, IVS3D, L-3 Nautronix and ATLIS). He streamlined common marketing and product development with the aim to provide a survey to chart solution to hydrographic customers world-wide.

From 2003 to 2006 Mr. Spoelstra worked as a Business Unit Manager for Falkplan-Andes. Falkplan Andes is the leading map maker in the Netherlands with Falk maps as its brand. Mr. Spoelstra was responsible for end to end responsibility for the Special Products Unit of Falkplan Andes

Expertises and interests

  • Nautical Cartography
  • Bathymetry
  • Hydrography
  • EMODnet Bathymetry

EMODnet BathymetryGGS geo consultancy BV (GGSgc)

Neil Holdsworth

Neil Holdsworth is an expert in marine data and data management. He is the head of Data and Information at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), an International inter-governmental organisation that develops science using the best available data to deliver advice that supports decision makers in managing the sustainable use of the oceans.

Neil Holdsworth has professional experience working with data and statistics in both the private and public sectors. At his current role at ICES, Neil is responsible for overseeing and implementing the data strategy for the organisation, as well as managing data partnerships, which include hosting databases and providing data services to OSPAR, HELCOM, and the European Environment Agency, among others. Current projects that Neil contributes to include AORA-CSA, AtlantOS, EMODnet Chemistry, EMODnet Biology, EMODnet Ingestion and SeaDataCloud. Neil Holdsworth has also served on a number of advisory boards for projects such as iMarine, EMODnet Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Checkpoints, Norwegian Marine Data Centre (NMDC) and AquaCross.


Tim Collart

Tim Collart works as a Marine Data Analyst and GIS Support Officer at the EMODnet secretariat. In this role, he is involved with assessing and streamlining the data flow from research project and national data repositories to the users of EMODnet, technical performance monitoring of the EMODnet data portals and maintenance and development of the European Atlas of the Seas (EAS). Tim is trained as a marine geologist at the University of Ghent. In 2019, he completed a PhD in Science at the same university, investigating the environmental and anthropogenic processes that control the occurrence of cold-water coral reefs in the North-East Atlantic. He has multidisciplinary research experience in geophysics, physical and chemical oceanography, geospatial data processing and statistical analysis.


Expertises and interests

  • EMODnet data infrastructure
  • Geospatial data analysis, geophysics, physical & chemical oceanography
  • R, Python
EMODnet Secretariat

Carlos Pinto

Carlos Pinto has worked with designing, developing and implementing of the ICES data portal: EcoSystemData, a portal for direct access to most of ICES datasets: fisheries, environmental and hydrographical data. He has also been involved with other databases/data portals like the environmental data portal, SmartDots, Stock assessment graphs, Underwater noise, EggsAndLarvae and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems. Carlos is Portuguese and he has been working at ICES in Copenhagen since 2007. He holds a degree in computer science, and has always been very interested in databases and he ended up doing a masters in artificial intelligence. His thesis was in machine learning (Bayesian networks) but since he started at the ICES data center he has mostly dealt with databases and web applications. 

Expertises and interests

  • Databases
  • Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) data and analysis
  • Programming
  • Machine learning

International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES)

Colin Millar

Colin Millar works with Data and Assessments at the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) in Copenhagen. His main job is developing the ICES Transparent Assessment Framework (TAF), which has involved developing a web page and API,  developing tools to allow R programmers to access ICES databases and portals, and supporting TAF users in writing transparent and readable code.  He is also involved in developing tools and data products coded in R that make use of ICES datasets and APIs. Previously, he has worked in at the Marine Scotland Science Marine and Freshwater laboratories and had a brief stint at the EC Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy.

Expertises and interests

  • Statistical modelling, Fisheries stock assessment, Data processing and visualization
  • R programming with ICES data: web services, html tools, leaflet
  • Fisheries data and ICES datasets:
    • VMS and logbook data
    • Stock assessment results
    • Survey data
  • Transparent and reproducible analysis and the ICES Transparent Assessment Framework

International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES)

Pascal Derycke

Pascal Derycke is EMODnet technical coordinator at the EMODnet secretariat. He obtained a PhD in physics at the University of Metz (France) in 1996. After his degree, he pioneered in IT and web design. In 2011, Pascal joined the Marine Department of the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (EC/JRC/IES) as a scientific programmer and data analyst where he expanded his skills to earth observation science and GIS technologies used in the monitoring of climate change and assessment of the environmental status of marine and coastal waters. During these 6 years he was responsible for the maintenance and upgrading of the marine geo-portal EMIS (Environmental Marine Information System) and provided scientific programming support for mapping bio-geophysical products. Alongside this he contributed to the development of INSPIRE services and server applications related to the marine environment and participated in the release of the JRC data catalogue and the MSFD Marine Competence Centre. Pascal brings his expertise in data and GIS to Seascape’s team where he is, among others responsible for technical coordination of the EMODnet activities and the European Atlas of the Seas (EAS).

EMODnet Secretariat

Charles Troupin

Charles Troupin is working on DIVAnd interpolation software tool in frame of SeaDataCloud, EMODnet Chemistry and EOSC-Hub projects at the University of Liège, Belgium. He is engineer in Physics specialised in Fluid Mechanics (University of Liège, 2005) and hold a PhD in Science, Oceanography (University of Liège and University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2011). His research interests include: spatial interpolation of in situ data, high-resolution numerical modelling in coastal area, satellite data processing, multiplatform data analysis, with a specific interest on reproducibility in research. He was a postdoc researcher at IMEDEA (2013-2014) and the head of the Data Center at SOCIB (2014-2016) before working on DIVAnd interpolation software tool in frame of SeaDataCloud, EMODnet Chemistry and EOSC-Hub projects.

Expertises and interests

  • EMODnet Chemistry
  • Data analysis and visualisation
  • Numerical modelling, submesoscale processes
  • Spatial interpolation

University of Liège, Belgium

Paz Rotllan Garcia

Paz Rotllan Garcia is Frontend developer at the Coastal Ocean Observing and Forecasting System located in the Balearic Islands (SOCIB) and Communication & Training responsible for the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) In Situ TAC.
Activities carried a out in this very last context are:
• Development of tools for showcasing the INSITU component of the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Services: capabilities (in terms of spatial and temporal coverage), performance (key performance indicators), usability (use cases) etc.…
• Web development for SOCIB Products and Services division (tools focused on coastal management, fisheries&stock management, marine related sports…) in the Western Mediterranean Sea: development, maintenance, improvement.
• Processing and analysis of multi-platform observations (insitu measurements) as well as model outputs.
• Support to third parties investigations byproviding short and friendly pieces of code to access SOCIB thredds services as well as CMEMS INSITU component FTP (Training
sessions and Communication).

Paz got an academic background in big data and business analytics (University of Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain), environmental hydraulics (University of Granada and Malaga, Spain) and marine science and physical oceanograpy (University of Cadiz Spain).

Expertises and interests

  • Copernicus Marine
  • Frontend Developer
  • Marine Science


Francesco Palermo

Francesco Palermo belongs to the Operational Group of Ocean Predictions and Applications (OPA) division of CMCC Foundation where he works as developer and system administrator for the OPA HPC GNU/Linux Cluster assuring the availability of the operational services. He participates to the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service since 2015, collaborating in the design, implementation and maintenance of the infrastructure for disseminating the data of the Mediterranean Sea and then becoming the responsible for the same service for the Black Sea. Now he is in charge for the the role of Technical Expert for the CMEMS for the Black Sea and coordinates and support the activities related to the data production and delivery. He has experiences on the design, implementation and maintenance of the software infrastructures for operational oceanography even on public cloud services. He has also experiences on developing progressive and mobile web applications in the context of oceanography data visualization and
Decision Support Systems.

Expertises and interests

  • Copernicus Marine
  • Programming, sysadmin, web data visualization
  • CMEMS Data Services expert, CMEMS Technical Expert for BS-MFC

Ocean Predictions and Applications - CMCC

Fabrice Messal

Fabrice Messal is Training and Educational Manager for Mercator Ocean International. After 6 years developing partnerships and projects in the frame of the Mercator Ocean outreach activities, he’s currently in charge of training activities for the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS). Fabrice has a background in Science & Applications (MSc), Numerical Imagery (PG Dip) and has professional experience in visualization software development and scientific mediation. Since he works in Mercator Ocean, he had different positions from the Operational Department and the Service Department to the Marketing & Communication department and contributes in previous European research programs before Copernicus like GMES, BOSS4GMES, MyOcean 1 and MyOcean 2. Using his knowledge and his expertise of the entire value chain of the European marine data production and use, he manages training/outreach material development and organizes training workshops with experts to raise the awareness and the knowledge about CMEMS activities and benefits.

Expertises and interests

  • Copernicus Marine
  • Software ergonomics
  • Numerical imagery
  • Ocean literacy

Mercator Ocean


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