We’re pleased with our latest embedded searchable map, this time in a campaigning website. The map on the homepage of www.stopthefobts.org allows users to see the number of high-stakes betting machines (fixed-odds betting terminals, or FOBTs) in high street bookmakers in their local constituency.
The search results also reveal industry average details about the money being made by these lucrative machines, which are causing concerns about potential harm to problem gamblers. Stop the FOBTs is a key project for the Campaign for Fairer Gambling.
Embedded web maps of this kind are a powerful and inexpensive means of engaging users with relevant data.
By encouraging individuals to explore their local area, to recognise local patterns and view corresponding information, they make users into active participants (including linking to a call to action, as in this example where users can email their MP) and present the website publisher as a source of useful insight. As with this one, embedded maps can be readily tied in with a host site’s design, and cloud hosting is available to help ensure seamless service even during peak usage events.
The map is an mini-app based on Geofutures’ Knowledge Garden application, which provides interactive mapping of a whole warehouse of data together with graphics, commenting and discussion tools to allow businesses to share specific insights within and beyond their organisation.
Data availability is always a potential issue, and some degree of error is pretty much inevitable in a dataset of any size. Here the bookmaker location data is based on licensing data from the Gambling Commission as reported by local authorities. It’s the best available source and nationally comprehensive, but not every listed location could be accurately mapped, for example where postcode errors occur, and individual anomalies have been spotted.
This is rarely avoidable, but especially for campaigning organisations, data provided via an independent company like Geofutures has the important advantage of objectivity.