A Web-based Method for Exploring Early Child Development Trends in British Columbia, Canada
Item statusRestricted Access
Trafford, Katherine L E
British Columbian policy-makers, researchers and community organizations make use of maps describing trends in Early Child Development (ECD) to make program decisions and funding allocation based upon the geography of need. The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), a health research house based at the University of British Columbia, aims to facilitate this process by providing static and online maps that report ECD patterns along with socioeconomic factors that influence outcomes. Results of a recent survey suggest inadequacies in the current tools provided. These have hindered the users’ ability to interpret and extract information from the maps. Along with issues such as ease-of-use, variable selection and data currency, users have struggled to understand the overall message communicated by the maps, and therefore have been unable to make conclusions about ECD trends in communities. This paper describes the development of a database-driven, web-mapping system designed to allow the user to interactively explore ECD data and to view complimentary graphs, tables and socioeconomic information. The Early Child Development (ECD) Interactive Mapping tool allows the user to select specific child health outcomes, overlay a range of socioeconomic variables, and compare results over time. It provides community classification information designed to enhance the users’ understanding of ECD trends and influencing factors in a given area. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), as a method of display, provide an attractive user interface as well as an appropriate degree of interactivity. Initial feedback on the tool has been positive, highlighting the ease of use and effectiveness of the visualizations to communicate information on ECD trends over space and time.