Santa uses interactive mapping software to get to grips with terabytes of data on good behaviour and help him deliver Christmas presents

Christmas with InstantAtlas


InstantAtlas sent intrepid interviewer Julian Tyndale-Biscoe on the trip of a lifetime to find out how Santa has been using interactive mapping software to make his job a whole lot easier.

There are those moments in life when you have to pinch yourself to know something is really happening. Stepping into a busy workshop in Lapland and being greeted by a chap dressed as Santa was one of them.

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Julian Tyndale's Trek












Share your knowledge, work and learn from other data experts at the InstantAtlas 2014 workshop

InstantAtlas 2014 Workshops

The 2014 InstantAtlas Workshops offer a mix of presentation and open discussion giving delegates the opportunity to share ideas and challenges they face. Each workshop programme also features some great examples of how InstantAtlas products have been used by established users to create market-leading applications.

The workshops will include a range of presentations from the IA support team on the latest developments at InstantAtlas. We are sure each workshop will provide a stimulating environment for existing customers, those interested in learning new skills, hearing new ideas and sharing their InstantAtlas experiences as well as those who want to guide the future development of IA applications.

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How Health Maps Wales is helping to uncover patterns, trends and variation in health outcomes through the visual analysis of data

How Health Maps Wales is helping to uncover patterns, trends and variation in health outcomes through the visual analysis of data

The NHS Wales Informatics Service (NWIS) collects and manages data held in a wide range of national datasets on behalf of NHS Wales and the Welsh government. This includes hospital admissions data, the National Community Child Health Database (NCCHD), outpatient attendances as well as birth and death registrations.

NWIS wanted to develop a ‘one-stop shop’ to improve access to this data and also provide a more complete picture of health for public health professionals and commissioners in small regions. It felt that low-level geographic maps using Census output areas would give them a better understanding of their local health needs and inform spending plans.

Getting started

NWIS developed an interactive tool called Health Maps Wales in collaboration with the Welsh government to map a range of health indicators within broad categories.

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International Diabetes Federation launches 6th Edition of the Diabetes Atlas on World Diabetes Day

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has released the latest edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas on World Diabetes Day – an international day to mark the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, the primary discoverer of insulin.

The Atlas contains new estimates on the global and regional prevalence of diabetes and the latest figures confirm that diabetes is on the increase in all countries. The data can be re-published because the IDF has set up a common user license. This allows the statistics presented in the Atlas to be used widely by news media, governments, and international organisations such as the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Economic Forum. It is also used by health professionals, scientists, economists, policy-makers, and national and international agencies.

The online Atlas allows users to see worldwide trends and also drill down to country level to make inter-country comparison. You will find the Atlas here:

The US Centre for Diseases Control has also produced a diabetes atlas which allows users to view data and trends for diagnosed diabetes (new and existing cases), obesity, and leisure-time physical inactivity at national, state, and county levels:

Anyone interested in a UK perspective on diabetes might be interested to listen to our webinar with Gavin Terry, Healthcare Policy Manager, Diabetes UK :

How interactive mapping software is being used to present health related data and information by CPHROnline in New Zealand

Centre for Public Health Research

InstantAtlas in action

Caroline Fyfe, Research Assistant, has been working on the New Zealand, Centre for Public Health Research website CPHROnline. Here she tells us how the project got off the ground and the benefits of using InstantAtlas.

What is your project?

Our project is called CPHROnline. The website allows health professionals, academics and the public to access all kinds of health related data online via a series of interactive maps. As well as mapping health data, CPHROnline reports include bar charts comparing health data between different regions and time series charts which show how health indicators within each region have changed over time.

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Post contribution by Sophie Lloyd, Director of Success With Software – The official reseller for InstantAtlas in Australia, NZ and SE Asia – Find out more

Desperate houselives: How Cambridgeshire is using local housing data to identify housing insights

We have recently re-launched our Local Housing Allowance (LHA) changes atlas on Cambridgeshire Insight website. The atlas, originally developed in 2011, looks at how some of the changes to housing benefit may affect claimants in the Cambridge sub-region (Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk). Using data from Hometrack it shows where typical and entry-level market rents fall within the LHA rate.

The atlas looks at the affordability of private rented housing for local housing benefit claimants. Since 2010 there have been a range of changes to this benefit and more are planned. For example, the local housing allowance rate (used to calculate housing benefit for tenants renting from private landlords) was previously based on the median (mid-point) rent within a Broad Rental Market Area. In 2011, this was reduced to the 30th percentile, meaning the LHA rate used to cover the cheapest half of rents in the market and now covers the bottom 30 per cent.

This means there are fewer properties available for benefit claimants.

Effect of changing LHA rate of from median rent to 30th percentile

In October 2012, it was announced that benefits would be uprated at 1 per cent a year to 2016 – rents typically rise at 2 per cent (based on Valuation Office Agency trends). The atlas shows the possible effects of this by 2016 – a further reduction in the number of places where the LHA rate will cover the rent in full.

Does the LHA rate cover the entry level rent for a 2 bedroom property in 2012?

A large and increasing number of housing benefit claimants are people in low paid employment. A new addition to the atlas shows the number of hours someone would need to work at 2012/13 national minimum wage just to cover the average current private rent.

In some of the more expensive areas of the sub-region for a 2 bedroom property this is equivalent to more than 30 hours per week (without any support from housing benefit to which a low income worker may be entitled), further demonstrating affordability problems for lower income households, even those in work.

This atlas shows increasingly how important market rents and benefits are to those on lower incomes.  The social impact of this over time is yet to be fully determined but this atlas model suggests that affordability will worsen, making it more difficult for people to work and live in the local area.

Audiences for this data and atlas range from housing officers, social researchers to elected members and other senior policy decision makers.

This is definitely a topic of research that must be monitored and projects like our sub-regional Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) assist in this ongoing monitoring.

The Cambridgeshire Atlas | Local Housing Allowance changes is available at

Cambridgeshire Atlas | Local Housing Allowance changes
Cambridgeshire Atlas | Local Housing Allowance changes

Polly is a Research Officer (Housing) in the LGSS Research, Performance and Business Intelligence Team at Cambridgeshire County Council

Learn more about Cambridgeshire County Council’s work with InstantAtlas in the case study ‘Combining customer insight and Output Area Classification data to create visualisations of local information and analysis’