The open-access atlas allows researchers, policy makers and members of the public to compare geographical patterns of 14 diseases and conditions, including lung and breast cancer, and heart disease, with environmental agents such as air pollution. The online version allows users to input a postcode and zoom in on a neighbourhood of about 6,000 people. They can then toggle between the health and environment maps for that area.
The atlas uses data from the Office of National Statistics and cancer registries for 1985–2009. For the health data, the maps illustrate relative risk – that is, the rates or number of cases for an area compared to the average – as a long-term average.
‘The atlas is a fantastic tool for researchers, policy makers and the public,’ said the study’s lead author, Dr Anna Hansell. ‘It’s the first publication in the UK to amalgamate data at this level of resolution on health and environment. It connects people to health and environment at a neighbourhood level and provides resources to learn about these issues. It also allows us to identify the important questions that need to be answered about patterns of health and environment risk for future avenues of research.’
This story was published in the June 2014 edition of Geographical Magazine