Between 2004 and 2008, the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) Building Better Communities for Children pilot project was carried out across 60 Australian communities from all states and territories (excluding the Northern Territory). It involved more than 56,000 children and over 3,000 teachers and was a measure of how young children developed in different communities.
In 2009, the project became federally funded, and captured results for 261,203 children, which was 98 per cent of the estimated five year-old population in Australia. The AEDI is now a population census, and has created a snapshot of early childhood development in communities across Australia. It is conducted by the Centre for Community Child Health (within the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne in partnership with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Perth.
We spoke to Megan Harper, GIS analyst at the AEDI National Support Centre, about the role that InstantAtlas has played in highlighting the results of the AEDI.
The AEDI National Support Centre started using the InstantAtlas mapping software in mid-2008. It had explored other mapping solutions but felt that the software produced by GeoWise would be the best option in terms of displaying their data. InstantAtlas is already being used by the majority of Public Health Observatories in the United Kingdom. In addition, Megan had already seen the work that Melbourne University were doing with the Community Indicators Victoria website (www.communityindicators.net.au/), and John Glover’s work with the South Australian Public Health Unit Atlases (www.publichealth.gov.au).