Age UK creates map showing likelihood of loneliness for 1 MILLION older people


Age UK is the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. It campaigns on different issues from calling for reform of the care system to trying to improve the bus route in local communities. Age UK has been exploring what factors make older people more at risk of loneliness and whether people with similar risk levels live near each other. We spoke to research adviser Susan Davidson about the project and how the charity used interactive mapping software to create a map showing risk of loneliness.

Read the full article

How InstantAtlas is helping Gloucestershire County Council meet its transparency agenda through interactive mapping

InstantAtlas in action

Katherine Martin, from the Strategic Needs Analysis Team at Gloucestershire County Council explains how it is using interactive mapping software to help encourage self-service and meet its transparency agenda.

What is your project?

Over the last few years we have been focusing on making data available within the organisation, as well as to our partners and the public, in an easy to use and accessible way that is less resource intensive.

This has taken many forms including a publicly available website Inform Gloucestershire, the JSNA (a strategic planning tool which brings together the latest information on health and wellbeing) and MAIDeN (a multi-agency database where users will find interactive profiles for the different neighbourhoods in the county).

InstantAtlas has been part of the process of making information available in ways that are easy to use, understand and update. It has allowed us to visualise data in a new format that has enhanced our existing offer.

Read the full article

Coventry Partnership – ‘Developing a centralised information hub that gives LSP partners the intelligence they need’

The Coventry Partnership is the local name for Coventry’s Local Strategic Partnership (LSP). Its aim is to bring together combined resources, energy and creativity to meet the economic, social, physical and environmental needs of Coventry and the health and well-being of its people. The Coventry Partnership Board is made up of representatives from the public, private, community and voluntary sector.

‘Facts about Coventry’ ( is the LSP’s online information hub and it contains a wide range of statistical data and performance information about Coventry and its people. The data is structured around the key priorities for Coventry, as well as demographic information for the city.

Visitors to the site can choose either to click on ‘Quick Statistics’ which provides a statistical overview of the City, or they can carry out Performance Reports which show progress against the key priorities for Coventry. Feedback shows that partners are very pleased with the outcome and are impressed with the way the site is being used.

The site was developed by one of the partners – Coventry City Council. We spoke to Luke Knight about the reasons for its success. Luke believes that the site is being used by a number of different groups within the LSP. For example the education team is using it to find updated demographic information. Third sector organisations wanting to apply for funding are also using it to discover the detail about the areas they are working in. The general public also finds it useful because it helps to answer a range of questions that would otherwise be directed towards researchers. “It’s suitable for everyone. Anyone with a computer can get the information they need,” says Luke.

There were of course challenges during the development but the team is happy with the result. “Support from Geowise has been outstanding and they are always quick to reply and help out. It would have taken a lot longer without their help,” says Luke.

Click to see Example Report

Read the Full Article

‘Working in partnership to deliver neighbourhood working’ – Warrington Partnerships

Warrington is located between Liverpool and Manchester and is home to more than 197,800 people who live in around 85,000 households. It was designated a New Town in the 1960s and has grown rapidly over the years. Warrington has one of the biggest gaps between rich and poor in the country with affluent commuter belt areas alongside old industrial areas.

Warrington Partnership is the Local Strategic Partnership for Warrington and it is committed to neighbourhood working. This involves partners (e.g. the council, police, fire & rescue, NHS) working together with local people to make sure they can influence decisions about their neighbourhood. It ensures that service providers coordinate and tailor their activity to address local priorities and help individuals, service users and groups have their say about what works best in their area. ‘Stronger Together’ delivers neighbourhood working to communities across Warrington.
Local knowledge means transforming good quality data into information that is presented in a meaningful way. The partnership has previously relied on detailed narrative ward and neighbourhood profiles based upon data from across the different agencies. There was a great deal of work involved in producing these reports particularly the time taken to present them consistently. The information within them would then have to be updated on a rotational basis which meant that the reports could be months out-of-date at any one time.

Starting point

In 2008, the partnership established a Neighbourhood Research and Data Group which started using InstantAtlas to present the data that was being collected from across the partnership.

The council’s GIS & Research Team produced interactive neighbourhood profiles using data provided from key partners including fire & rescue, NHS and the police as well as demographic and economic data from national statistics.

This meant it was able to produce online interactive area profiles which cut down or replaced traditional handouts. The process of getting relevant data to the various audiences became easier and quicker with reports disseminated online.

Neighbourhood profile roadshows

The partnership decided that it should take the interactive reports out into the community to gather feedback on what the reports revealed about individual communities. Five workshops were held during Summer 2009 and the InstantAtlas reports were shown and discussed with all those who attended. Key findings from each report were explained to residents and their views and experiences were taken on board.

This made the process of identifying local issues and setting priorities within a condensed period of time easier. InstantAtlas proved to be a very visual and easy to understand method of communicating complex trends to a wide ranging audience. The results of the workshops went into informing local neighbourhood action plans.

Making the project work

The council’s GIS & Research team working with the InstantAtlas reports found they were getting data from partners in a number of different formats. NHS Warrington also uses InstantAtlas and so its data was easy to work with. However, some of the other data was raw and had to be manipulated in a Geographic Information System before it could be used in the Excel Data Manager.

The team has also overcome the initial challenge of being sent data in different geographies (e.g. ward, postcode level) and the interactive maps have a toggle facility that allows you to view each level individually. The process has provided valuable experience for better data sharing between partners.

It has made the reports available via the Stronger Together website and feedback from key users including the neighbourhood coordinators has been very positive. For more information on Stronger Together please click here (

Taking it forward

The partnership has used InstantAtlas to produce interactive electoral ward profiles. These can be viewed here ( In addition it is using customer insight profiling including ACORN market segmentation data to build a more detailed picture of each community.

This will help the partnership develop a shared understanding of the needs and wants of the customers within Warrington. It will also help identify and tackle difficult and challenging problems such as reducing the inequalities gap within the borough.

Key Benefits

–       informed the priorities of neighbourhood planning

–       the interactive reports have saved time and improved efficiency for the council’s GIS & Research team

–      the partnership now has a quick and easy way to present information to the community and its members

–       the reports can be updated instantly and are an improvement on paper-based reports

–       the reports inform key projects including research into inequalities, customer insight, neighbourhood working

–       using InstantAtlas has provided valuable experience for data sharing across the partnership

Colin Wojtowycz, Principal Research Advisor, Warrington Borough Council says: “We are trying to spend less time repackaging data and more time analysing data to gain intelligence to meet our objectives and Instant Atlas has been a big help in this respect. We are now starting to reap the benefits of using InstantAtlas because it gives end users quick and easy access to good quality information upon which to base decisions.”

New InstantAtlas Essentials video released – #7


Video topic –

This video explains how to set the minimum and maximum chart values to prevent the minimum and maximum values of the Y-axis from changing when viewing an indicator with the Time Animation slider.  It also shows how to create a custom Legend with user-defined data ranges or breaks.  This prevents the Legend values from changing when an indicator is viewed with the Time Animation slider.

Presented by Dorothy of the IA Support Team


Video Transcript for Essentials Video #7

I’m going to tell you today about an InstantAtlas dynamic report function that you might not know about. This function is used through the metadata workbook and it will help you to create a minimum and maximum chart value. You might need this because you might find that the data that you have across years varies so much that in your bar charts your Y axes will start to move around. This is really not ideal. So to demonstrate to you what I mean – in this report I have highlighted a parish in Louisiana – this is our single map demonstration report which you can find on our website. This is Jefferson parish and when I have highlighted this you can see that in the time series chart we have at least 5 years worth of data and this data is the census data for the population per square mile – currently showing us the value for 2000 and for Jefferson that is 698.14 so you can see that thats where this is sitting in the bar chart. You notice in the bar chart we have a Y axes that goes from 0 to 2800. If I click play on our time-series animation to make the map change colours through time we will see automatically that the bar chart Y axes is moving around in terms of its data. So to stop this from happening you need to go into your I-workbook and you can see here at the bottom that I am in the metadata worksheet and we need to start adding in some details here to make InstantAtlas create a minimum and maximum chart value. This is not done automatically by the software this is something that you have to put into to control the software. So the type of element that we need to put into column A is an indicator – you can also do this on theme level if you want to do it on theme level – I am going to show you how to do it on indicator level.

The element which is in column B has to match the indicator name precisely. So, the way to do this so that you can insure that you absolutely got the right name in that box is to simply copy and paste. The metadata element – this is where you tell InstantAtlas what it is exactly that you want to do. I am gonna set the minimum chart value first. So the command is minchartvalue – and the minimum chart value that I want is 0.

So the next line needs to be pretty much exactly the same except this time we need to set the maximum chart value. So  again, I gonna simply copy and paste my indicator and Im gonna add the maxchartvalue. This value Im going to put at 3600. Now, with any changes that you make to the software, especially in the workbook, nothing is going to actually update until you export to data.xml and save that file into the report folder location. So we are going to do that now.

I am going to click the IA Export button on my Data Manager – it is going to save the data.xml into this report folder. Because this data already exist – it’s going to warn me that the data is going to be overwritten and I want it to do that so I’m going to click yes. And the Data Manger is going through and cycling through the data and at the end of its cycling it will pick up the metadata that I have affected.

So, lets go back to our report and refresh the browser. If I click play now we should see that this axes does not change. Ok? So there is one other style though that we might want to have to change in this report.

In a similar way we can see that the legend is affected.  So, lets just click play again and this time keep your eyes on this legend. You can see that the breaks are changing through time that is because the legend is picking up on the breaks through time that have been set in the workbook. InstantAtlas is actually creating these breaks for you automatically. A lot of people are very happy with this setting and they don’t change it. However, some people want to ensure that – like the axes on the bar chart – that you can also have your breaks be manually controlled.

To do this we need to go back into your metadata worksheet. This time you are going to need to use a number of different functions and I am going to take you through them now.

I am going to fact this on an indicator level – you can also do this on a theme level if you like. I am going to use the same indicator as before: Population per Square Mile. This time I am going to change the metadata element to custombreaks. Custombreaks need to be set to one more number than you want the number of breaks. So in other words, if you want 5 breaks – 5 ranges of data – you need to have at least 6 numbers. That’s because you must set the beginning of the break and the end of the break. So, I’m just going to put in what I will use for this particular legend. So I gonna start at 0 and then I’m going to put in 100, 500, 2000, 3600, 5000. Obviously this breaks can be anything that you want. So you can see here I have got 6 numbers and there are no spaces between this numbers. There are simply semicolons. Now I need the legend to reflect what these breaks look like. So I am going to add in this control through the metadata workbook. This has to say:customlabel. So the labels that I am going to chose are 0-100, 101 – 500, 501 – 2000, 2001 – 3600, 3601 – 5000.

So I am going to export and save this file and refresh the browser. And you see now that I have this custom legend. If I press play – you notice that the custom legend does not move through time.

That’s it. For more tips and hints have a look through our youtube channel. Thanks very much

Warrington town hall – Copyright This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

New Place Survey Atlas published by Cambridgeshire County Council

In 2008 Cambridgeshire County Council wanted to find out what people thought of living in the local area and their views on the services provided by the council and other local organisations (such as district councils, the police and the primary care trust).

Throughout Autumn that year it carried out a survey – which also met the UK Government requirement for all local authorities in England and Wales to carry out ‘the Place Survey‘.

A questionnaire was sent out to a random sample from across the county and 5,925 responses were returned. The results helped identify which services citizens felt were doing well and those that needed improvement, as well as the priorities for the services that are being provided.

Hendrik Grothuis, Senior Research Officer says “The Cambridgeshire Atlas shows Place Survey data at a ward level across the county. It includes all 18 of the national indicators measured in the Place Survey. In addition to this two other domains are included that show levels of satisfaction with the council and whether the council provides value for money. All data shown in the atlas are percentages allowing for the figures to be easily compared to the county, regional and national rates. The atlas also displays Output Area Classification (OAC) in the county as contextual geographies that can be added to the map. OAC is a geodemographic tool offering socio-demographic data for local neighbourhoods.


Hendrik Grothuis Senior Research Officer, Cambridgeshire County Council

“The Cambridgeshire Atlas displays six of the seven OAC supergroups and the three groups from the Countryside supergroup. The Countryside group has been segmented because it covers such a large area of Cambridgeshire. Using the groups adds greater distinction to the atlas.”

Relevant Links:

New IA Essentials Videos for InstantAtlas Server

Rochdale Borough Council | Empowering local communities to make better decisions

“The level of support InstantAtlas has provided has been great – we haven’t come across any other software supplier who has provided such support”

Rochdale Borough Councils’ Research & Intelligence Team is part of the Policy & Research Team in the council’s Performance & Development Service. Its main function is to provide research and intelligence to the council, LSP partners, the voluntary sector and members of the public.

The team provides data, analysis, mapping and outcome information across a range of partner organisations. This intelligence provides evidence of need, neighbourhood analysis and information provision on disadvantaged groups. This ensures that the LSP continues to use a sound and coherent evidence base for policy.


Read the full story here

To read the full case study please click image below (High Res) or click here for (Low Res)

InstantAtlas E-bulletin: November Edition

Welcome to the latest InstantAtlas News. In this month’s edition we focus on UK Local Government clients:-


  • 1.1 Client Spotlight Worcestershire County Council | Building Area Profiles for Elected Members
  • 1.2 Client Spotlight: Nottingham City Council | Tracking Neighbourhood Change in Nottingham
  • 1.3 Client Spotlight: West Midlands Regional Observatory | State of the Region Reporting
  • 1.4 Client Spotlight: North Yorkshire County Council | New interactive Neighbourhood Profiles


  • 2.1 New Local Observatory / LIS demonstration site
  • 2.2 New demos published to illustrate the capabilities of our templates
  • 2.3 Local Economic Monitor (LEM) – latest updates
  • 2.4 West Midlands Regional Observatory New Recession Monitoring Reports
  • 2.5 InstantAtlas demos by theme
  • 2.6 Staying in touch with InstantAtlas
  • 2.7 UK LIS Workshops Feb 2010 – dates for the diary
  • 2.8 UK LIS Data & Report Packs update – The Economic Assessment Duty Pack


  • 3.1 Area Profile Template version 6.3 – new features coming soon


1.1 Worcestershire County Council | Building Area Profiles for Elected Members

The Worcestershire County Council Research & Intelligence Unit are using InstantAtlas Server to deliver a corporate Local Information System (LIS).  As part of this work they have built a rich set of Ward Profile reports aimed at, amongst others, elected members.  They include sections on the relevant local councillor, population, crime, economy, health, children, and place survey results.  One-click links to these reports have been published as a simple list on their intranet site (not currently publicly available).

Click to see larger image

Innovative follow-up work is on-going to incorporate data from their central contact centre on the number and type of phone enquiries.  Postcode-tagged enquiries around issues like road maintenance problems, refuse collection and council tax are aggregated to neighbourhood and higher level geographies and then loaded into their LIS for reporting purposes.  Reports of “most frequently asked questions” can then be presented to councillors in the form of profiles and thematic maps via the council intranet.  This opens up all sorts of options, for example, to better understand neighbourhoods that appear to have high levels of enquiries regarding specific problem issues.  Users can visualise neighbourhoods of specific geo-demographic types that have high or low levels of enquiries and whether there are actions that can be taken to target interventions and provide smarter approaches to council communications.

David Onions, Acting Head of Research & Intelligence, comments: “Instant Atlas server is a very cost effective solution for presenting geographical data in an easily accessible format.  Worcestershire County Council is currently taking advantage of this to support our Elected Members in being even more informed about their local areas, by means of providing them with a profile of their electoral division and details of the services requests residents have made to our customer service centre.”

If you want to see the sort of profile reports (like the ones above) that can be developed and published with InstantAtlas Server try our Local information Systems demonstration application – use the clickable map of Nottingham Wards for instant access to reports.

1.2 Client Spotlight: Nottingham City Council | Tracking Neighbourhood Change in Nottingham

Nottingham City Council has recently started a project to understand how they can support a requirement to evaluate and monitor regeneration activities within the City. The main objective of this project is to develop a tool to deliver evidence of social, economic and environmental change over time in relation to investment, providing a holistic approach to regeneration and enabling the monitoring of outcomes at a local level. – To read more download the PDF case study

1.3 Client Spotlight: West Midlands Regional Observatory | State of the Region Reporting

West Midlands Regional Observatory has produced  a new set of InstantAtlas reports to support its State of the Region 2009 Project with the aim of assisting policy makers to explorer research with highly-interactive maps. The report brings together some of the key evidence from the State of the Region dialogues, a new process started in 2008, with a range of other information about the major issues facing the West Midlands. WMRO has linked the themes to wider developments influencing regional policy and strategy. Excel datasets of indicators and the data can be explored in interactive maps covering areas such as local economy, population & health, community & culture and environment & transport

More about this project »

1.4 Client Spotlight: North Yorkshire County Council | New interactive Neighbourhood Profiles

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has recently launched an impressive set of interactive profiles for neighbourhoods across the County.  The statistics help paint a picture of the local area covering topics such as: (1) Population Age and ethnicity; (2) Health; (3) Crime; (4) Quality of life; (5) Environment; (6) Employment; (7) Education; and (8) the local economy.  The profiles will help NYCC and its partners when planning services to make sure they are taking local variation and local needs into consideration.


2.1 New Local Observatory demonstration site

The Support and Marketing teams have developed a new Local Information System / Local Observatory demonstration site based on off-the-shelf web design tools.  This embeds InstantAtlas Server (IAS) and demonstrates some of the new functionality in the 6.2 release for dynamic embedding of IAS content into other web pages.  Specifically the demo shows:

(1)    Embedding InstantAtlas Server 6.2  into a broader Local Observatory style site.

(2)    Embedding individual charts and tables (called ‘profile widgets’)  into other web pages and add relevant commentary.

(3)    Adding context-sensitive web links that can take users directly to dynamic Data Views and Profiles.

(4)    Using clickable maps as a simple and easy-to-use method for users to select area-based profile reports.

The pages are built as templates using a web design tool.  This demonstrates how a  Content Management System (CMS) tool can be implemented to allow non-technical staff to maintain content.

2.2 New demos published to illustrate the capabilities of version 6 templates

The InstantAtlas Template section of the InstantAtlas website has new demos by geographical area.  You can now view separate demos for both the UK and USA – Click Click here to see USA template examples | Click here to see UK template examples

2.3 UK Local Economic Monitor (LEM) – latest updates

Published – 11 November 2009

October 2009 unemployment figures added to the LEM
The October 2009 Jobseekers Allowance figures have been added to the Local Economic Monitor.
DWP Benefit datasets have been updated on the LEM
Data for a range of key DWP benefit datasets has been updated for Februrary 2009.
See the latest news on the Local Economic Monitor

2.4 West Midlands Regional Observatory – New recession impact monitoring reports

WMRO has produced a new set of InstantAtlas interactive maps to monitor the impact of the recession at different geographical levels in the West Midlands:

  • By West Midlands Local Authority
  • By West Midlands Census ward
  • Neighbourhoods in the Rural Regeneration Zone

The maps show Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimant rates (the proportion of the working age population claiming JSA), which gives an indication of unemployment.  The maps help to see how the recession is affecting different areas.

Vist the WMRO recent blog posting ‘Observations’ for more.

2.5 InstantAtlas demos by theme

The Marketing team have put together some interesting examples of InstantAtlas Reports by theme for you – there are more available on the InstantAtlas showcase.

(1) InstantAtlas for Community Information Systems (CIS)  – New York City Community Health, US (Demo) using the Single Map
Purpose: An atlas comprising a wide range of community health indicators based on the New York Community Health Survey with a 4-year time series. The atlas is based on our new InstantAtlas version 6 template.
How to use the Single Map Template (Video Link)

(2) InstantAtlas for Survey Reporting – Behavioral Risk Factor Data Explorer, MMSA Rankings, US (Demo) using the Single Map
This Single Map template provides a single map view of current BRFSS state for specific US Census Bureau Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MMSAs). The use of color-coded symbols make it easier to distinguish data values geographically.  How to use the Single Map Template (Video Link)

(3) InstantAtlas for Cancer Mapping and Reporting – West Virginia Incidence Rates and Trends / Major Cancer sites (Demo)
Purpose: This Single Map view presents West Virginia’s aggregated 1997-2001 and 2002-2006 incidence rates across the state and graphs trends between both time periods.

2.6 Choose how you ENGAGE with InstantAtlas

InstantAtlas customers are always looking for ways to keep in touch with news and features of the product and how it is being used around the world. So as well as providing the eBulletin service here is a compilation all the ways you can keep up with the latest news:

InstantAtlas RSS News Feed – for all our latest Blog posts click here to grab all the news | If you’re not sure how to use RSS – click here for an overview and list of feed tools

NEW – the InstantAtlas Email News Feed – If you prefer the latest Blog posts to come in via your email InBox then you can subscribe to ’email updates’ on the Blog.

Twitter – Join the growing InstantAtlas community – click here

Delicious – Bookmark – click here

Digg – InstantAtlas RSS Feed – click here

Flickr – View InstantAtlas reports on Flickr by Theme of interest – click here


YouTube – Watch Free InstantAtlas Video Tutorials for InstantAtlas Desktop and Server – click here and subscribe today

Metacafeclick here for channelclick here for video RSS feed

Vimeo Click here for channelclick here for video RSS feed

Daily Motionclick here for video RSS feedsubscribe to channel

Important Note | If you are unable to view Video channels from your place of work all videos are available on CD in MP4 format.  Currently CD’s are only available for UK organisations with a UK business address

2.7 UK InstantAtlas LIS Workshops in Feb 2010

For all our customers and anyone interested in developing Local Information Systems (LIS) please make a note of the best date for one of our events in February.  We are hoping to finalise the programme of both the ‘North’ and ‘South’ event soon and will publish them on the web site.  More information is available from the LIS Section of our web site.

2.8 UK LIS Data & Report Packs – New Economic Assessment Duty Pack

Our partners, OCSI, have been working on the development of data resources and outputs to create an Economic Assessment Duty Pack.  A number of local authority customers have expressed an interest in taking this to address their obligations for production of their Economic Assessment.  For more information see our Packs page on the LIS Section of our web site.


3.1 New Area Profile Template version 6.3 (coming soon)

There are a couple of significant enhancements to the new Area Profile template (version 6.3) planned for release at the end of December 2009.  It  includes new configuration files for a new Radar Chart profile and an Election Results Report.

  • The Radar Chart is a significant improvement on previous releases with the ability to display a significant number of select areas on the same chart with a legend for each area.  This ability makes it useful for comparing profiles of multiple areas.
  • With local and national elections coming up in the summer of 2010 in the UK, a new election results report configuration is designed to make it easier for customers to use our templates for the purposes of reporting their results at any geographic scale.

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