Skip to navigation Skip to content

Interactive maps can help understand local communities

Sample map produced by the online tool (c) James Hutton Institute
"It is crucial to ensure that socio-economic data is usable and accessible to the communities, practitioners and stakeholders engaged in place-based activities, as access to data supports informed decision-making and community empowerment"

Researchers at the James Hutton Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group are exploring ways in which the use of interactive maps can help understand communities and small areas well below the national level.

There are several reasons why access to this information is hugely valuable, according to the OECD: first, the location where people live has a considerable influence on their quality of life; secondly, government policies are not implemented equally across all areas; and finally, country-level information frequently masks major inequalities between regions.

An interactive mapping tool has been produced in ‘beta’ form which enables users to produce maps of indicators for regions of their choice and explore local characteristics. Indicators about income, home ownership and affordability, schooling, broadband coverage, crime, traffic, wellbeing and population changes can be visualised for all of Scotland’s council areas.

Dr Jonathan Hopkins, developer of the tool, said: “It is crucial to ensure that socio-economic data is usable and accessible to the communities, practitioners and stakeholders engaged in place-based activities, as access to data supports informed decision-making and community empowerment.

“With this new tool, we want to facilitate an effective and informative way to publish multiple indicators and socio-economic datasets. An improved version of the application could also be adopted and developed further by other groups.”

The tool is available here and a new version of the application will be available later this year, following consideration of feedback.

The research has been funded by the Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services Division of the Scottish Government as part of the 2016-2021 Strategic Research Programme (RD3.4.2).

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/interactive-maps-can-help-understand-local-communities on 02/06/20 09:24:57 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.