Tracking the Spread of Diabetes in Australia

image The Australian National Diabetes Services Scheme has published an interesting Virtual Earth map application illustrating the spread and penetration of diabetes across the country. The Australian Diabetes Map allows signed in professionals and registered users to select a specific area type such as; National, State, Postcode, Federal Electoral Zone and Local Government Area in order to drill down into the respective geographical regions for analysis of the gender of those with Diabetes, as well as, the type of Diabetes they carry and a plethora of additional information.

The application renders a thematic map overlay highlighting the respective area, and uses thematic shading to illustrate the different percentages across the region. The legend changes as you select the area and type of query you’re look to dig into which makes the application far more dynamic in nature. Users can now see the penetration of Diabetes Type 1 or 2 and the percentage of people carrying it in a far more useful way. The map also includes points using custom icons with additional information in the rollovers to highlight different hospitals, subagents and Aboriginals to connect with patients and potentially calculate proximity and number of locations to population trends to ensure there is ample care available to those who need it.

Alongside the map is a data grid with information about the movement of Diabetes in the respective areas whether there’s an increase, decrease or no change using direction arrows. The Diabetes queries allow for insight on the type – gestational, type 1, type 2 or other; the respective number of people affected, the percentage of the population in the given area and a measure against the national average. Additional information is also provided such as percentage who require insulin, percentage using a pump, age groups, gender, Aboriginals, number assessed in the last 12 months and the type of concession (insurance) used. This type of information (geospatially enabled) can ensure there are ample supplies for the number of people in the respective regions who need health care.

Per the web site, "The Australian Diabetes Map is the only national map monitoring the spread of diabetes in Australia. The Map uses groundbreaking information technology to present population data about Australians diagnosed with diabetes. It shows the numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes in all parts of Australia with information on age, gender and type of diabetes. The data in the Map has been sourced from the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) Registrant database. The Map can be searched by state, electorate and postcode and also provides breakdowns by gender, age and type of diabetes. Used by policy makers and citizens alike."

Now, save this data over time, animate it and watch as the proverbial winds push the disease around the country and perhaps we can finally discover why it continues to spread the way it does, but more importantly potentially limit the spread and help more people live normal lives.