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Developer(s) Geowise ltd
Stable release
version 6
Type Data visualization, Interactive visualization, Crime mapping

InstantAtlas is a data visualization and reporting tool used for communicating location-based statistical data held in spreadsheets and desktop Geographic Information System software. InstantAtlas is used by analysts, researchers, statisticians and GIS professionals. It provides tools to load data into pre-built templates, then tailor and brand the outputs, dynamic reports, to meet an almost infinite range of styles and audience capabilities. The dynamic reports utilise a range of graphical data presentation techniques to present a rich and intuitive picture of the data allowing end-users to discover patterns, trends, relationships and anomilies. The dynamic reports are examples of Rich Internet applications (RIAs). They are often described by customers as interactive atlases, area profiles, performance dashboards, and scorecards.


InstantAtlas was developed by Geowise Ltd, a software company founded in 1997 and based in Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. In 2008 Geowise was acquired by ESRI Holdings Ltd. It is now managed and run independently as a sister company to ESRI (UK), which is a part of the global ESRI network.


InstantAtlas Desktop is a tool for creating richly interactive dynamic reports, often termed 'atlases', for publication to a wider user audience. In many cases the dynamic reports are published on web sites to support interactive data exploration and communication. However they can also be used in standalone mode with no need for web or server connections. In this form they are ideal for supporting interactive presentations and demonstrations. The product has four components: (1) Publisher enables users to load their chosen geographic data and publish it in a dynamic report; (2) Designer and Style Editor allow users to customise and brand their dynamic reports; (3) Data Manager is used to store indicator-based data in Microsoft Excel or Access and publish it as an XML data file; and (4) Templates are pre-built styles of outputs and include Single Map, Double Map, Area Profile, Performance Analysis, and Funnel Plot. InstantAtlas Desktop is used by government, commercial companies and non-profits across the world for the presentation of geographic patterns and temporal trends in data in areas like public health, poverty and social deprivation, geodemographics, crime mapping, election results, performance reporting, economic monitoring, housing and education.


InstantAtlas Server is a specialist, enterprise-scale web reporting solution for managing and disseminating geographically spread indicator data. Instead of storing data in files and publishing regular outputs as you would with InstantAtlas Desktop, you manage data in a standard relational database such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle Database. You can also pull data dynamically from other external information systems. InstantAtlas Server solutions can be termed Local information systems, Community Information Systems (see Community indicators), 'Neighborhood Reporting Systems' and 'Area Profiling Tools'. The product occupies a niche space between more mainstream areas of Business Intelligence and Geographic Information Systems. The two primary styles of report output are area profiles and interactive 'data views'. The product is used for a wide range of international, national, regional and local solutions globally. The technical and licensing model means it is well suited to federated web-based administration, often by a partnership of organisations, and unlimited levels of end-user access (with content access managed through user logins). One of the primary drivers for customers is the need to engage better with citizens and empower communities with neighborhood level information through online channels. For example, Department of Health, New Zealand, uses it to publicly present patterns and trends in a wide range of health conditions across the country while Diabetes UK, a national charity, use it to highlight the differences in local service provision to citizens and to make their own lobbying more effective.

Integrating dynamic reports - InstantAtlas dynamic reports have been integrated into a number of third party products and solutions (examples include OLAP statistical reporting tools, performance management systems) as an effective method of enhancing data visualization and mapping capabilities. It is relatively easy to support a data feed based on the InstantAtlas XML schema.

Integration with ESRI software - InstantAtlas currently integrates with ESRI's ArcGIS product through a free toolbar add-in. InstantAtlas Server allows you to pull your geographic data dynamically from ArcGIS Server.


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