What?

OpenLayers is a free open source Javascript mapping library that allows developers to display map tiles, markers and boundaries from any source, developed for and by the Open Source software community.

To test out its capabilities, we have created a thematic map showing the recorded crime offences for Victoria between 2009-10 by Local Government Area. A custom KML and GeoRSS file drive the map visualisation.

To meet accessiblity requirements, we have made the base map layers (Google Maps and OpenStreetMap) navigable using a keyboard.

Why?

The ABS have already investigated mapping tools in the past with Google Maps, Google Maps Estimated Resident Population and Google Maps Interactive Examples to better represent geospatially enabled ABS data. With accessiblity a key issue for ABS and its users, we have extended the Google Maps Interactive - Incidents of Crime Reported example with thematic boundary information and enabled the base map to be navigated with a keyboard.

Another advantage of OpenLayers is we can use any mapping technology / tool for the base map which means users can view our data with the mapping technology of their choice.

When?

This is a proof of concept, but dependant on demand this product may be developed further.

What other types of data would you like to see using this type of visualisation?
What aspects of this concept did you find most beneficial? least beneficial?