‘Helping the Local Enterprise Partnership members understand socioeconomic patterns with data visualisation’


Local Enterprise Partnerships are business-led partnerships between local authorities and businesses and other key partners in England. They play an important role in determining local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and the creation of local jobs.

Created by the East Sussex County Council Research & Information Team, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) atlas was developed in Autumn 2011 at a time when the new Local Enterprise Partnership geographies were being stabilised.

The rationale behind the development of the atlas was to create a resource that would help the user quickly build an understanding of economic and social patterns in the region.

Getting started

Tim Carpenter is East Sussex in Figures Co-ordinator within the Research & Information Team. He says the fundamental requirement was to present indicators for a wide geographic area in a clear, easy to use format. “We wanted to create an evidence base that could be used within the LEP along the lines of the evidence base we use in East Sussex in Figures. The challenge was to find a simple way to display the information and as a regular user of InstantAtlas I felt it was right for what we wanted,” he says.

According to Tim, one of the challenges the team faced was that the South East LEP (SELEP) was not a standard boundary. “It goes from Greater Essex to Kent and Medway and East Sussex yet misses out Greater London,” he says. Tim created the InstantAtlas template for the LEP and Helen Joslin-Allen (Principal Planning Research Officer) liaised with the council’s Economic Development team on data content and presentation.

Meeting the need

Data are presented at local authority level and an emphasis on thematic mapping of indicators, supported by contextual background mapping immediately enables the user to identify areas of similarity and difference across the SELEP area.

Combined with a large data table and supporting metadata, users can easily compare local authorities within the LEP and rank them against one another. The flexibility provided by the IA application means that additional indicators can be added to meet user demand very quickly.

Tim says: “While the atlas was created to facilitate our own understanding of this important policy area, the resource is also freely available to all via our Local Information System.”

Future developments

The next step for Tim and the team is to look at developing profiles that have the facility to compare data nationally. “We know it would be possible because InstantAtlas has a web mapping server for all of the country so it would just be a question of getting data sharing agreements in place and creating the data architecture. It would really help to put local and national characteristics in context around any assigned geography,” he says.


Key benefits

  • Stakeholders have access to a key resource which allows them to understand local socioeconomic factors
  • The data is presented in a consistent and easy-to-understand format
  • Links with East Sussex in Figures gives users detailed information about the data

Learn more about InstantAtlas Server

InstantAtlas Server Overview

InstantAtlas Server video tutorials

Other InstantAtlas Data Observatory examples

West Yorkshire Data Observatory

East Riding Data Observatory

Hertfordshire Observatory

Derbyshire Observatory

Suffolk Observatory

Havering Data Intelligence Hub

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