How an interactive atlas created using web-based mapping software became one of the Health Service Journal’s top reads of 2012


The Health Service Journal is the UK’s most widely-read trade publications for managers in the health sector. It is a well-respected publication and was awarded Medical Publication of the Year 2012. The HSJ editorial team is always on the look-out for ways to drive traffic to its website and has created a Resource Centre for readers who want to find answers and guidance on a wide range of topics. With changes to the structure of the NHS in England, the HSJ felt that it should provide an interactive map of the new Clinical Commissioning Group areas.

Getting started

Dave West, chief reporter, says: “It is critical for HSJ to give readers exclusive information to help them understand and interact with the NHS.”

Dave and the team used a range of data, some of which was collected entirely by the HSJ such as CCG leaders’ names. “We also used information of CCG budgets which we calculated using official government figures, and data on service quality and performance from the NHS Information Centre,” he says.

Dave and the team then worked with InstantAtlas support to create an atlas. “As journalists we were not familiar with mapping software so they helped us build the CCG map based on our information and hopes for it, and guided us on the possible approaches.”

Meeting the need

The HSJ CCG Atlas was launched in the Autumn 2012 and quickly became one of the HSJ website’s top reads. By the end of the year it had made it into the top ten most read pages.


Future developments

Dave says the team intends to keep the data in the map up to date and develop it as organisations in the system change. Dave says: “I'd like it to link more closely to the HSJ’s other content about the commissioning system. It would also be interesting to see what users want, for example the ability to compare with other NHS indicators.”

Key benefits

  • the interactive CCG atlas is driving significant traffic to the HSJ website
  • the user interface is easy-to-understand and manipulate for different regions
  • updating the CCG atlas with new data as it becomes available is straightforward

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