Online Atlas Maps Children’s Health and Wellbeing

The ARDC-supported Australian Child and Youth Wellbeing Atlas is a new tool for researchers and decision makers to access and visualise data on the wellbeing of young people.
Australian Child and Youth Wellbeing Atlas banner with 2 people either side of it with a green leafy background.
Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, WA Government Minister for Science and Associate Professor Rebecca Glauert

A new online tool aims to improve the wellbeing, health and education of children and young people by helping to understand inequities around Australia.

The Australian Child and Youth Wellbeing Atlas was developed by The University of Western Australia and QUT and is supported by the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) and partners from across Australia.

Project lead Associate Professor Rebecca Glauert, from UWA’s School of Population and Global Health, said the Atlas was a free mapping resource that created location-specific data of children and young people’s health and wellbeing indicators.

The Atlas includes about 400 data sets, grouped into six domains displayed at local and national levels: health; learning; identity and culture; material basics; participation; and valued, loved and safe.

“The Atlas will help guide the development of geographically sensitive policy, which acknowledges the relationships between the spatial patterns of children’s wellbeing outcomes, and the provision of services in an area,” Associate Professor Glauert said.

“This data asset will allow researchers, non-government, and state and federal organisations to identify potential priorities for child health research and initiatives in meaningful and cost-effective ways.”

Professor Kerrie Mengersen, Director of the QUT Centre for Data Science, said data science had played a pivotal role in the development of the Atlas to produce an analysis of child health, wellbeing and development.

“The national lens of the platform and the way the data is displayed is innovative and allows users to not only see the data where it is available, but also visually identify where data is not available across space, time, and even age and gender,” Professor Mengersen said.

QUT Associate Professor of Digital Pedagogies Kate Thompson led consultation with end users to understand current data practices and challenges to inform the design and development of the Atlas.

Gavin Winter, head of the QUT VISER team which implemented the platform, said the interactive features and map-based approach to visualisation were intended to enable place-based discovery of data specific to children and young people in a way that has never been done before.

Australian Research Data Commons CEO Rosie Hicks said the Atlas provided vital national research infrastructure.

“It will accelerate research, support evidence-based policy making, and boost our understanding of the drivers of child and youth wellbeing,” Ms Hicks said.

The ARDC worked with the Atlas team to implement the FAIR principles in the Atlas. The FAIR principles are a set of guidelines that ensure data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. This means that researchers can easily access and use existing data on child and youth wellbeing, which can help them answer new questions and make new discoveries.

The Australian Child and Youth Wellbeing Atlas received expertise and co-investment ( from ARDC within the National Data Assets program. The ARDC is funded by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

Visit the Australian Child and Youth Wellbeing Atlas.

This article is based on a media release from UWA.