Creating a global atlas for rheumatic heart disease data in an easily accessible format using graphs, maps and tables


Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a preventable, treatable form of cardiovascular disease that affects over 32 million people around the world and claims 275,000 lives annually. It affects the world’s poorest, most vulnerable populations and imposes heavy costs on the health systems that can least afford it. If left untreated, RHD can lead to heart valve damage, stroke, heart failure, and death. Treatment of advanced disease requires costly surgery unavailable in many parts of the world.

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Using the Area Breakdown Chart to view the timing of crime in Chicago


It is possible with minimal effort in InstantAtlas to throw a set of statistical indicators into an interactive dashboard and view them using the default maps, tables and charts. While that approach is fine in many cases, my interest lies more in how you can delve into the toolbox of design options to create visualisations that are highly tailored to the data they show.

There are many chart types available in InstantAtlas to help you with your data visualisation, from bar charts and line charts to radar charts and bubble plots. In this post I’d like to feature the Area Breakdown chart. This is a bar chart that shows a breakdown of indicators (or associates) for the area (or areas) that the user selects in the map or table. It has a unique characteristic that sets it apart from the other bar charts in InstantAtlas: it is possible to assign a different colour to each bar. You could therefore shade each bar according to political party for example, if the bar chart is showing election results.

Colour can be used in all sorts of ways to help data interpretation. I liked the idea of using the colour of the bars in the chart to represent the time of day, one possible scenario being display of how different crime types vary over a 24 hour period. Visualisation of the timing of crime has been done before for US cities, and even in some detail for Chicago. However the City of Chicago data portal provides access to such a fabulous crime dataset that it is too good to pass up. Downloading the over 6 million reported incidents of crime going back to 2001 did seem overkill for this experiment so I decided to limit my dashboard to incidents reported in 2015.

Rather than burden the dashboard with numbers I kept this to just three key stats to leave plenty of space for the area breakdown chart. For the chart itself I used a black-to-yellow gradient to simulate the change in light intensity throughout the day.

To cover myself I will say that this example does contain some somewhat gratuitous use of graphical elements that are superfluous for interpretation of the raw data. But every data viz geek likes to break the rules from time to time!

Click HERE to view the report.

LARIA’s research fortnight – a great opportunity to hear about the impact of local area research


Local Area Research and Intelligence Association (LARIA) is currently holding its second Local Area Research Fortnight which runs until the 22nd April 2016 to raise the profile of local area research.

The fortnight aims to get not only LARIA members but a whole range of public and private sector organisations and bodies talking about the value of local area research. Participants are encouraged to organise events or publish materials that will help the public, politicians, employees and the media understand the impact of local area research.

Supporters will also be blogging and Tweeting during this week and LARIA will be posting regular updates and Tweets using #LARIA2016. Last year there were 1,138 #LARIA2015 tweets from 312 contributors with a combined reach of 3.1m raising awareness of local area research and its significance far and wide. It is hoped that 2016 will be bigger and better.

The two weeks of awareness-raising activities and events will culminate in the LARIA Annual Conference and the Research Impact Awards. The LARIA Research Impact Awards are the only awards specifically designed to showcase the work of those researching local areas and the real difference they make to the people they serve.

Cambridgeshire Insight, a data portal using visualisation analysis tools to provide local information, is just one example of research groups’ determination to present a wide range of data in an easy to understand format. To achieve this Cambridgeshire Insight created several interactive atlases combining local and national open data using InstantAtlas software, one of which was commended in the Best use of Community Safety or Policing Research category at the 2015 LARIA Awards. Cambridgeshire Insight received the honour for its Cambridgeshire Atlas: Victim and Offender Pyramids

The atlas is helping to ensure local service delivery is evidence-led by providing a breakdown of victim and offenders for each district, by age group and gender in Cambridgeshire. Comparisons can be made between different age groups between districts and within the County by adding comparator lines to the pyramid. Its open data approach allows users to see the profiles of victimisation and offending by district.

This year, both InstantAtlas and Cambridge Insight will be among 30 organisations supporting Local Area Research Fortnight to raise awareness of how research, presentation of data and its analysis can add value across a broad range of sectors including local government, health, police, fire and rescue services, housing and education.


Profiling tourism employment in England and Wales


In 2015 ONS released an interactive Atlas of Tourism for England and Wales created using InstantAtlas. This was followed by a statistical bulletin that classified the areas in the atlas to show the importance of tourism.

The template that ONS chose for the Atlas of Tourism is the Double Map Time Series, which allows the user to compare the data distribution for two variables using a map and bar chart. In order to demonstrate the versatility of InstantAtlas I have created an alternative representation of the same data using our Area Profile template. It opens showing the spatial classification developed by ONS, with clusters 4 an 5 representing what they term ‘holiday hotspots’. The report allows the user to select specific authorities in the map in order to profile them using the ‘spine chart’ graphic on the right – and to click on the indicators in the spine chart to update the map. For benchmarking purposes, the median authority has been included in the spine chart. This report is more geared towards a user that is interested in a particular authority and its tourism profile.

Click on the screenshot below to access the Tourism Area Profile report.

Pierre Jenkins, Head of InstantAtlas Support


The data in this report were downloaded here and are licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Creating a single hub for key Northamptonshire data in an easily accessible format using graphs, maps and tables

Using data visualisation tools to provide local context for decision making and meet open data aspirations


The Cambridgeshire Research Group has created several interactive atlases combining local and national open data with a range of InstantAtlas data visualisation analysis tools. It has been working to establish a local data portal called Cambridgeshire Insight Open Data as the single place to get local information. Organisations are now sharing data in order to change the way people live and work in the county, as well as meeting the requirements for an open government. Using the latest developments in InstantAtlas visualisation tools Cambridgeshire Research Group is using Cambridgeshire Insight to meet the open government aspirations. We spoke to Hendrik Grothuis, Research Manager-Innovation, Cambridgeshire Research Group, Cambridgeshire County Council about the project.

 Could you tell us more about the latest additions?

 Like most local authorities, the use of good quality small area statistics is a good way to identify trends for research data…

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Using mapping software to create the first health atlas for Bavaria

Health Atlas of BavariaBlog Page Layout - EN

The Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) is the central administrative body in Bavaria for food safety, health, veterinary as well as industrial and product safety. Its role is to record and evaluate health risks for the population, inform consumers and protect them from being misled or deceived, undertake applied research focused in cooperation with manufacturers, universities and government agencies. It also supports the official control of foodstuffs, the public health service, the official veterinary and occupational safety and health administration in Bavaria.

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