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Cardiac ARIA Index : measuring accessibility to cardiovascular services in rural and remote Australia via applied geographic spatial technology

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The Cardiac ARIA project, with its extensive use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), ranks each of Australia’s 20,387 urban, rural and remote population centres by accessibility to essential services or resources for the management of a cardiac event. Cardiac ARIA is based upon the accessibility concepts used to develop ARIA in that it calculates distance along the road network from all 20,387 population locations across Australia to the geolocated cardiac services and resources identified by the expert panel. Similar to the ARIA index, Cardiac ARIA can then be aggregated to any other area unit such as a local government area, statistical local area, postcode, census collection district or any other user defined catchments. Cardiac ARIA required a significant amount of detailed data, and sourcing these data for this project was a major undertaking (Seen in Table 2 of related publication). These data included context data such as the road network for Australia and population locations, to detailed data on the location of ambulance stations, hospitals, cardiac units etc. For a detailed list of all data collected and their sources for this project see Appendix 2 of related publication. The data collection consisted of two stages: Phase 1 - Expert panel consensus process. To provide a single master list of services and resources, based on a composite of the practice guidelines for a “cardiac event”. Context of the study Implementation of the guidelines was to be set within all community settings with careful consideration given to the needs of populations (e.g. greater than 60 minutes from a CBD) in the urban fringes and rural and remote areas, and current literature. Once the master list was agreed upon, datasets with location information were sourced and applied to GIS software. The Cardiac ARIA index was developed by locating CVD services and resources within a population centre and then calculating the distance/time needed to travel by road to each CVD service (see the methods section for more detail). Distance by air (rotary and fixed wing aircraft) was also calculated, though not used in this version of the Cardiac ARIA index. Each population centre was assigned an index for CVD accessibility. Phase 2 - Data acquisition and GIS modelling. Phase 2 of the project relates directly to Objective 2 of the project: to derive a classification for each of Australia’s 20,387 urban, rural and remote population locations based on its access to cardiac services. The GIS methodology used to calculate both the acute and aftercare Cardiac ARIA uses raster based cost-distance mapping to generate cost distance layers for each input layer and the raster calculator to combine the layers into the final ARIA indices using ESRI’s Arc Map, version 9.3.1. The GIS software utilised for this project was ESRI ArcMap Version 9.3.1, with all of the data conforming to Australian Lamberts Conformal Conic projection, Geocentric Datum of Australia 1994 (ESRI Arcview 2011; ESRI Software 2011).

Location of data collection

153.552920,-9.929730 137.994575,-9.929730 137.994575,-29.178588 153.552920,-29.178588 153.552920,-9.929730

Research areas

Spatial Data
Geographic Information Systems

Cite this collection

Clark, Robyn. A., Coffee, Neil., Turner, Dorothy., Eckert, Kerena. , Bamford, Errol., van Gaans, Deborah., Astles, Peter., Milligan, Marian., Smail, Tricia., Stewart, Simon., Coombe, David., Sutcliffe, Carmel., Wilkinson, David., & Tonkin, Andrew (2011) Cardiac ARIA Index: Measuring Accessibility to Cardiovascular Services in Rural and Remote Australia via Applied Geographic Spatial Technology. Cardiac ARIA.

Access the data


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 (CC-BY-NC)

Dates of data collection

From 2006 to 2011


Has association with
Robyn Clark  (Researcher)


Name: Adjunct Professor Robyn Clark


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Record status:
Published - Open Access