Big data gives Australians a sporting chance

A new mapping tool will help shape a healthier Australia through sport and recreation.

Developed by researchers at Victoria University and Federation University Australia, the Sport and Recreation Spatial tool is a consolidated national database combining data on exercise, recreation and sport participation as well as demographic and health statistics. It also includes information on existing sports venues and organisations.

While the health benefits of sport and exercise are clear, identifying whether programs and facilities are effective and accessible can be difficult.

“Data has traditionally been held in silos,” says Associate Professor Rochelle Eime from the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living at Victoria University and Federation University.

“For example, individual sporting bodies collected information but were not able to analyse or share that beyond their own walls.

“Sport and Recreation Spatial overcomes that issue through integrating all this information into a common template, and analysing trends over time.”

Rochelle and her colleagues are already using Sport and Recreation Spatial to provide advice and identify priority areas of action for the Victorian State Government, local governments and individual sporting organisations in Australia.

“Sport and Recreation Spatial is all about investigating involvement in sport and recreation, to make evidence-based decisions,” Rochelle says.

“It’s become the largest repository for sport and recreation data in Australia.”

The database has been developed using data from 11 sports, including netball, football, cricket and tennis. Partners in the project include the Australian Sports Commission, VicHealth and Sport and Recreation Victoria.

For more information:
Victoria University
Donna Hannan