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All of Scotland at Your Fingertips

February 03, 2016

All of Scotland at Your Fingertips

Welcome To DAVE

What would you call an easy-to-use, web-based software platform that improves efficiency and accuracy, provides users with near instant access to a world of environmental, regulatory, and business planning data, and offers visual analyses and even geospatial mapping all at a big savings in time and money?  Try DAVE.

Developed by scientists at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), DAVE is short for Data Analysis and Visualization of the Environment and is now available to anyone, anywhere via the web. Wondering how population shifts in the Scottish Highlands, where the Loch Ness Monster might be lurking, or what vehicles are the biggest polluters? No problem. Scotland’s environment has all the answers--and a whole lot more--at the press of a computer key. Built on PerkinElmer’s exclusively licensed TIBCO Spotfire® software platform, DAVE is actually a suite of 50 sophisticated data analysis visualization tools (and growing rapidly) that are also helping SEPA provide better data to decision makers and the general public in a more compelling and understandable format. 1 

Drowning In Data

 “Our old software was just not robust enough to access the data quick enough or in a comprehensive manner,” Colin Gray, Principal Data Specialist at SEPA, says. For an organization in which the effective handling of data is at the very heart of its mission to move towards an evidence-based approach to the environment for government, industry, and the general public, something needed to be done. 2

Visualizing Success On The Web

That is when SEPA’s Environmental and Spatial Informatics Unit (ESIU) began developing data analysis and modeling tools using Spotfire.

“We had previously trialed the TIBCO Spotfire® and Statistics Server applications, and decided to invest in this software just over four years ago,” Gray says. Leveraging that investment, ESIU embarked on a widespread initiative to make the best use of the agency’s data from all around Scotland. “We decided to deliver this through an Informatics Hub with many web-based, interactive, data-driven tools,”  Gray explains as a way of introducing  Scotland’s environment, a truly innovative website that bills itself as the gateway to everything you need to know about the country’s air, water, land, and climate. 3 Better yet, the free-access website provides users with powerful informatics tools on interactive web pages that allow them to search vast databases without having to crunch any data of their own or even have any specialized training. The TIBCO Spotfire®-based site from PerkinElmer allows “any member of staff, or even members of the public, to access the data sets and take advantage of the interactive tools to perform analyses and research without having to do their own analysis,” Gray says. Equally impressive is the fact that the majority of data sets open instantly, thanks to the ability of TIBCO Spotfire® ability to cache data loaded each night for use during that day. 4

Award-Wining Informatics Go Mainstream

Since deploying the new TIBCO Spotfire®-based SEPA site, more than 43,000 visitors have used the site’s wealth of interactive tools. SEPA employees are also becoming frequent users as well, since the site’s analytical offerings are now integrated into all of the agency’s projects.

For its impressive efforts to make SEPA data more user-friendly, ESIU recently earned international honors when it was awarded by the 2015 S-Lab Award for Laboratory Data and Informatics. 5

“Because the system now exposes large amounts of data in an easy-to-use and understandable manner, we can make better decisions on the basis of a better understanding of our environment.” Gray says. “It also allows us to bring together previously disparate data sets to build a much more complete picture of regulation and the environment.

Better yet, DAVE is making life easier for scientists, business planners, and the public by presenting its wealth of fact-based environmental information in a compelling and engaging way. But don’t take our word for it. To see what TIBCO Spotfire® can do for you, visit Scotland’s environment yourself.


  1. Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, “SEPA Awarded For Making Data Easier To Use,” SEPAVIEW, October 2, 2013.
  2. Colin Gray, “Delivering Data For Environmental Protection,” Scientific Computer World, June/July, 2015.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Colin Gray, Patrick Ansems, “Data Visualization Within An Environmental Protection Agency,” on-demand webinar, PerkinElmer Informatics Blog and Resource Center.
  5. S-Lab Awards for Excellence in Laboratory Design, Management and Operation, “Recognising Laboratory Excellence,” 2015.

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