Getting started with map.AURIN

Get ready to explore the Australian cities!

This tutorial is about understanding the people and places that make up Australian Cities. Since Geographers study not just the land, but the people and where they live and how they interact with places. For example where they go to work, do their shopping, exercise and interact socially it is important for geographers to access to have access to data and the skills to interpret this into information. In this tutorial you will utilise the AURIN Map to examine different datasets and advance your skills in using geographic data to understand the social trends impacting Australian Cities.

Exploring Australian Cities

This tutorial provides insights into the AURIN Map. Load AURIN Map by going to:

Layers of data will load on the left and a mapping window in the middle of the screen.
Use the Search button to zoom into an Australian City for Example “Melbourne” or “Perth” or “Darwin”.
Placing a tick next to a dataset enables it to be viewed in the Mapping Window. Lets place a tick next to population. Understanding how many people live in an area is critical to planning. To find out how many people live in an area refer to ABS BO1 Population Density by SA1 layer. Clicking on the map will enable you to see the Total Population (tot_p_p). The total tot_p_m corresponds to the total number of males and the tot_p_f is the number of females.
Screenshot 2016-01-20 11.38.04This information button allows you to find out more about the data, who made it, in what year and how you should reference the data within a project.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 11.38.35
The Now Viewing tab lets you to see the layers of data being displayed on the map and to change the “opacity” of these maps. If you move the opacity towards 0% you can see the base map below. This can assist in understanding the context of an area.

Moving across the top of the map window…
Screenshot 2016-01-20 16.04.08
Click on the Base Maps and experience zooming in and out of different map types including road maps and satellite images of Australia.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 16.05.02

Related Maps links you to other map themes including the National Map which included a number of government datasets and AREMI which provide information on the renewable energy industry. These map versions compliment the AURIN Map which has been established to demonstrate research outputs enabling a comparison between and within cities.

Now lets take a look at some of the data available about people in Australia within the AURIN MAP.


Social Disadvantage – SEIFA INDEX
SEIFA is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from Census information. Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions in an area, and therefore summarises a different set of social and economic information. The indexes can be used to explore different aspects of socio-economic conditions by geographic areas. For each index, every geographic area in Australia is given a SEIFA number which shows how relatively ‘disadvantaged’ that area is compared with other areas in Australia.
If we look at particular suburbs we can understand how they are ranked according to all the other areas in Australia.


Now lets look at the service accessibility within metropolitan areas. This index has been developed by measuring the road distance from people’s homes to different services. Metro ARIA is a composite index which combines accessibility measures for five different service themes:

  1. . Education
  2. . Health
  3. . Shopping
  4. . Public Transport
  5. . Financial/Postal services

Each of the five service themes will be available for standalone analysis in addition to the final composite index. Metro ARIA and the five service theme indices area aggregated to a spatial unit, known as an SA1. Each SA1 has been classified into five accessibility classes graded from low (blue) to high (orange). More information about the Metro ARIA data is available from here pdf-icon.

Zoom into a number of the Australian Cities and make observations about the spatial pattern of Metro ARIA, do you see similarities?

Now that we have explored Accessibility lets explore Vulnerability:


Vulnerability refers to the inability (of a system or a unit) to withstand the effects of a hostile environment. People are financially vulnerable depending on where they live and how much it costs for transport and housing, understanding this researchers at the Griffith University’s Urban Research Program have developed a set of indicators for examining the vulnerability of people based on increases in the price of oil (or petrol) and mortgage increases due to increases in the cost of borrowing money.
Below is a comment from a local government officer outlining how they use the VAMPIRE data as part of their planning for people.

“The VAMPIRE data provides very important evidence for the City of Whittlesea, particularly in advocating for adequate services and infrastructure for growth areas. The data is used by various departments, such as; Community Services Planning, Strategic Planning, Research, Community and Cultural Development and Family Children and Young People. It is used widely for grant applications, service and infrastructure planning and advocacy material including business cases presented to State and Federal Government decision makers.
It is also incredibly valuable evidence for our advocacy partners including the National Growth Areas Alliance, Interface Councils Network, Whittlesea Inter-agency Task-force on Gambling and Whittlesea Community Futures Network among others.”
Advocacy and Organisation Improvement | City of Whittlesea

Turn on VAMPIRE 2011 Australian Capital Cities in the side data panel. In this case the orangered areas are the ones with a higher level of vulnerability.

To calculate the VAMIPRE Index, four variables are used. The first two variables indicate the extent of car dependence for urban travel the third is the median weekly household income and the fourth is the proportion of dwellings being purchased.
The method people use to travel to work is collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and commonly called the Journey to Work (JTW) in the population census. This provides a basic measure of demand for automobile travel while the proportion of motor vehicles per household indicates the extent of household investment, and thus dependence, on motor vehicle travel. Together these two variables provide an indicator of the extent to which households are exposed to rising costs of motor vehicle travel.
The VAMPIRE Index was constructed by combining the four variables as shown in Table 1.

  1. . High levels of car ownership,
  2. . Journey to Work (JTW) by car,
  3. . Income, and
  4. . Mortgage

Mortgage tenure received high index values while low levels of household incomes received lower scores. Thus a SA1 with high levels of car ownership, JTW by car, income and mortgages would receive a score of 15 (5+5+0+5) as shown in Table 2.
The four variables we have selected are not equal in their contribution to the VAMPIRE Index. The variables have been weighted according to their proportional contribution to the overall VAMPIRE Index (Table 3). Thus of a total possible VAMPIRE Index of 30, five points are provided by each of the car ownership and JTW variables while ten points each are provided by the income and mortgage scores.

PercentileValue Assigned 
Car Own > 2 JTW by Car Income Mortgage

Example Questions:

  • Are you able to find areas of Low and High Vulnerability in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne?
  • Can you comment on the geographic spread of these areas in relation to the centre of each of the cities?
  • Does there appear to be a relationship with the Accessibility levels observed in the Metro ARIA datasets?


AURIN has been developed to assist Australians with access to data. AURIN does this by bringing together data making it available to researchers and planners. To find out more about AURIN please go to
At AURIN we believe that this data is important for students to use and become familiar with and hence we have developed this tutorial.