Making information more accessible

InstantAtlas maps

InstantAtlas maps

How to make complex information available to a wider audience and how to make it more easily understand? Those were questions being considered in Coventry this week.

On Tuesday 20th January, Coventry City Council hosted a meeting designed to share ideas on how regional partners were using software to make their information more readily available.

The main focus of the event was Geowise’s InstantAtlas tool, which is used by many public sector organisations to provide a nice clear visual interpretation of the data they hold.

The Observatory have been using InstantAtlas for two years now and find that it provides simple, visual analysis of data which helps make the data more understandable to a greater range of people.

As local authorities are being encouraged to develop local information systems (LIS) to support their working, the way that they have to share this information becomes ever more important. If your customers can’t make sense of your information then it won’t do what you want it to.

Providing easy to use information on neighbourhoods for council members is also vital for local authorities and tools such as InstantAtlas allow this to be done much more easily.

InstantAtlas is one of many tools that allow organisations to do this type of work and it’s a tool that has become a favourite in our region. The general consensus is that it offers a nice interface for those who aren’t analysts to get a feel for what the evidence is saying, which helps make informed decisions. It isn’t a single answer to the challenges facing local authorities but it is a nice tool to have in their armoury.

As ever we at the Observatory want to help promote this information as widely as possible. Our work is already available through our main website but we’re planning to link our InstantAtlas area to those on each of the local authorities to allow users to get a neighbourhood level view of the data. These links will come as authorities develop their projects.

As a starter, we’re already using Worcestershire County Council and Research Sandwell’s InstantAtlas areas.

We are also keen to find out who else in the West Midlands is presenting their information in this way, either through InstantAtlas or through other means. Please feel free to comment below telling us what your organisation has chosen to do.

We include each of our InstantAtlas maps in our Resource Catalogue to make them more widely available and we would encourage others to do the same. Anyone needing assistance submitting their maps is welcome to contact Steven Dovey at the Observatory who will be happy to help.

InstantAtlas logoYou might also be interested in Gavin’s post from last week about Geowise’s Local Information System resource pack.

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One Response

  1. Also worth mentioning that there is a Local Information Systems network event being held in Birmingham on the 29th Jan 2009:

    http://www.clip.local.gov.uk/lgv/aio/87746 (PDF, 60KB)

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