The Australian Cancer Atlas is Australia’s first online interactive national atlas of cancer. It is a world-first innovation that uses cutting edge digital technology to map patterns in cancer diagnosis and survival across the 2,148 small geographic areas that cover the Australian continent. Designed to be informative and easy to use, the Atlas is visually appealing, interactive and freely available to all. It features explanatory graphics and narratives and was developed with mobile technology in mind. It is the most comprehensive examination of cancer patterns in Australia that has ever been achieved.

The Australian Cancer Atlas is a collaborative project with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the Cooperative Research Centre in Spatial Information (CRCSI), and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. It was developed with the support of Australia’s State and Territory population cancer registries.

The project has required years of foundation work in statistical spatial modelling and the development of innovative visualization techniques to suit a variety of audiences including researchers, clinicians, and the general community. The Atlas is truly an Atlas “for the people”.

Since its release in September 2018, the Australian Cancer Atlas has brought new insights about cancer patterns across Australia. It has helped people to learn about the cancer burden where they live and has been a tool to raise awareness of how cancer risk can be reduced through healthy lifestyle choices.

To date, more than 41,000 distinct users have accessed the Atlas since its launch, including by users from over 100 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Spatial information on liver cancer has been used in the National Viral Hepatitis Mapping Report published by the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity; our Atlas research team is collaborating with the NZ Ministry of Health to develop a New Zealand Cancer Atlas; and the Australian Cancer Atlas is now included in Australian university course content.

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