Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

To integrate and enhance environmental protection and industrial competitiveness for all maritime activities by means of information and communication technologies, including applications in the area of safety and the environment, intelligent manufacturing and logistics networks.


During the G-7 Ministerial Conference devoted to the Information Society (Brussels 25-26 February) the G-7 members, along with the European Commission, decided to launch 11 pilot projects which are designed to demonstrate the potential benefits of the Information Society and to stimulate its deployment.

The key objectives of the pilot projects are to:

- Support international consensus on common principles for applications, access and interoperability of networks;
- Establish groundwork for cooperation among G-7 partners to create a critical mass to address the global Information Society issue;
- Create an opportunity for information exchange leading to further development of the Information Society;
- Identify and select exemplary projects with tangible, understandable, and demonstrable socio-economic and cultural benefits;
- Identify obstacles to implementing applications related to a global Information Society;
- Help create markets for new products and services.

The purpose of the pilot project on the Maritime Information Society (MARIS) is to show the advantage of a global information society by setting up specific applications. These will build on existing systems (such as the "Electronic Chart" projects, the Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS), the COST 326 project, the "Martians" project, the "Marscource" project, and the "Marvel" project) and promote interconnectivity and interoperability, which will trigger a process of enhanced international cooperation to create new services on a global scale. The immediate results are expected to be:

- Improvement of maritime safety;
- Environmental protection;
- Enhancement of logistics efficiency;
- Improvement of the inclusion of maritime transport in intermodal chains;
- Better management of marine resources and the increased competitiveness of maritime industries.

Work is to begin with the creation of interlinks and interoperability of existing information systems, the setting up of new systems on a global basis and measures to encourage new partners to develop compatible systems to become an integral part of the pilot project.


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The European Commission and Canada are responsible for the operational implementation of the MARIS project.

MARIS provides a framework for carrying out the following subprojects which have been proposed by the different G7 countries:

- Maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment;
- Logistics and multimodal transport;
- Sharing knowledge with regard to the exploitation and protection of marine resources and, in particular, fisheries;
- Intelligent manufacturing through global cooperation.

The implementation of MARIS is based on a bottom-up approach which will seek the active participation of all maritime industries, as well as the participation of public authorities. A number of projects are already well under way; the focus of the projects is on integration and international cooperation, rather than development.

MARIS is to be implemented in four phases. During the first phase, a stock-taking exercise is foreseen for all subprojects. This is necessary to enable the definition of user requirements on the basis of existing systems. Consortia are also to be set up during this phase and a work plan and methodology are to be developed.

In the second phase, prospects for further international cooperation are to be elaborated and the enlargement of existing consortia is envisaged. In addition, data modelling and standardization for interconnections, interoperability and possibly new services are to be developed and first experimentations are scheduled to be undertaken. In the third phase, further experimentations with a view to concrete results will take place.

The fourth and final phase is expected to be completed in 1998 in time for the presentation of the results of the MARIS project at the World Expo '98 "The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future" which is to be held in Lisbon. The scheduled time frames for the implementation of the other phases is as follows: phase one - up to the end of 1995; phase two - up to the end 1996; and phase three - during the course of 1997.
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