A high-tech and visually-stunning software suite will bring a better look at data.

A new free software platform known as ‘Workspace’ has been launched by CSIRO; purpose-built for scientific applications and allowing researchers to present findings with enhanced visualisations.

Developed over eight years at CSIRO, Workspace has already been used for projects including natural disaster modelling, human movement and industrial and agricultural research.

“In institutions all around the world, researchers operate within similar workflows; sourcing data, analysing it, processing it – often using high-performance computing environments,” Dr John Taylor from CSIRO’s Digital Productivity Flagship said.

“Very often, this involves a number of manual repetitive steps.

“Workspace makes these steps easy to automate.

“In one application, analysis that had previously taken two weeks to conduct manually was carried out in less than an hour.

“Scientists also need to publish the outcomes of their research. Workspace allows them to easily release the software and analysis that backs up their findings.”

Dr Taylor says Workspace users do not need advanced programming skills, and it can run on many different platforms.

“At the moment, scientists often have to write their own purpose-built code from scratch – even when this is not their primary skill set,” he said.

“This approach is inefficient, prone to error, difficult to reproduce by other scientists and unsuitable to take into the commercial world.

“Workspace can be used by non-software experts, allowing scientists from all over the globe to use the same platform and collaborate seamlessly on projects.”

The stylish data visualisations can help scientists make their research more understandable and accessible, too.

“If others can easily grasp what your science means, this opens it up to brand new audiences,” Dr Taylor said.

“This not only helps researchers engage with the public, but it also allows them to reach out to other collaborators in the science community and industry.”

Workspace is already changing the face of science for research institutions including the Australian National University, Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales.

It is free to download for research purposes and can be licensed for commercial applications.

More information on Workspace and download options are available at the CSIRO’s website.