NEAT software

NEAT – Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool:
a validated tool for the integrated, consistent and comparative assessment of biodiversity status and GES across regional seas and the uncertainties related to this assessment



NEAT is an acronym for “Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool” and the software is an implementation of NEAT as a biodiversity assessment tool used for assessing the environmental status of marine areas according to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). NEAT itself as an assessment method is not restricted to the MSFD but can be used for various other assessment needs. The Deliverable D6.3 gives an overview of the principles applied in NEAT, explains the usage of the software (version 1.1) and gives advice on how to best utilize the software for making a solid assessment, not only restricted to biodiversity (although named as such in the software) but usable for any MSFD descriptor.

The NEAT software aims to represent a flexible and user-friendly desktop application implementing the assessment tool developed in work package 6 (WP6) of the DEVOTES project (Integrative assessment of biodiversity). It integrates results from e.g. WP1 (Human pressures and climate change), WP3 (Indicator testing and development) and others in order to be a central access point to the data collected in the DEVOTES project and to make use of these data for the biodiversity assessment.


NEAT downloads

Here, you can download NEAT. The installation is explained in section 3 of the manual. Be sure to read the licence terms before using the software. They can be found in section 2 of the manual.

Each of the two packages (for Windows and macOS) contains: the NEAT software version 1.3 plus the manual as a PDF file.

devotool-for-mac devotool-for-windows
What is new in version 1.3?
  • Greatly simplified adding/editing new indicators and their classifications (e.g. no need to enter habitat/ecosystem components separately)
  • Changed appearance of the assessment form to reflect simplifications
  • Added support for indicators having bell-shaped functions
  • Changed wording of ‘uncertainty’ in assessment result since the bars represent ‘confidence’
  • Show individual uncertainty data for assessment results (the numbers making up the confidence bars)
  • The confidence bars can now be displayed having colours according to the class they belong to
  • Show indicator name in indicator’s edit window
  • Added indication on main window about the open dataset (internal dataset or externally opened file)
  • It is now possible to switch back to the internal dataset when an external data file was opened
  • Added a new choice in the main menu to view and edit the (literature) references
  • Corrected errors when editing indicators and closing windows using the buttons in the title bar (thanks to the users reporting this issue)
  • Clearer specification of software licence terms (see section 2 of the manual for the current licence)

The manual of the NEAT software version 1.3 is also available as a separate file: NEAT manual v1.3.

A short introduction video (using NEAT version 1.1) can be viewed on YouTube: NEAT in 13 minutes – a short introduction.

Below, you can also downlaod a leaflet with the most important facts and information on NEAT:


Did you miss our webinars? You can find a recorded version here (for version 1.1): NEAT webinar (duration 1:50 hours).

If you want to discuss NEAT, there is now a discussion forum where you can ask questions and get help on topics related to NEAT.

Borja A, Elliott M, Andersen JH, Berg T, Carstensen J, Halpern BS, Heiskanen A-S, Korpinen S, Lowndes JSS, Martin G and Rodriguez-Ezpeleta N (2016) Overview of Integrative Assessment of Marine Systems: The Ecosystem Approach in Practice. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:20. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00020

Borja A, Elliott M, Snelgrove PVR, Austen MC, Berg T, Cochrane S, Carstensen J, Danovaro R, Greenstreet S, Heiskanen A-S, Lynam CP, Mea M, Newton A, Patrício J, Uusitalo L, Uyarra MC and Wilson C (2016) Bridging the Gap between Policy and Science in Assessing the Health Status of Marine Ecosystems. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:175. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00175 

Smith CJ, Papadopoulou K-N, Barnard S, Mazik K, Elliott M, Patrício J, Solaun O, Little S, Bhatia N and Borja A (2016) Managing the Marine Environment, Conceptual Models and Assessment Considerations for the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:144. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00144 

Uusitalo L, Blanchet H, Andersen JH, Beauchard O, Berg T, Bianchelli S, Cantafaro A, Carstensen J, Carugati L, Cochrane S, Danovaro R, Heiskanen A-S, Karvinen V, Moncheva S, Murray C, Neto JM, Nygård H, Pantazi M, Papadopoulou N, Simboura N, Sr˙ ebalien˙ eG, Uyarra MC and Borja A (2016) Indicator-Based Assessment of Marine Biological Diversity–Lessons from 10 Case Studies across the European Seas. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:159. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00159