Where does my food come from? It’s a question consumers are increasingly asking – particularly in light of the recent media scandals surrounding the safety of imported food and the impact it has on local farmers.

Using location-based analytics, we can help people find the answer to this question more easily by visually representing on a world map where Australia is sourcing its food from – and how much the country is spending on foreign agriculture.

UPDATE: For an up-to-date map showing 2017 data for where Australia imports its food from, see this new Story Map.

This interactive food imports map displays the top five countries from which Australia imports processed and unprocessed fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood, cereal, dairy and sugar.

The map uses GIS technology to analyse and visualise data compiled from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) relating to the trade statistics for primary products.

It’s a powerful way of translating data – previously locked in a maze spreadsheets – into meaningful insights that help people make better decisions regarding their food selection.

Some of the insights revealed are surprising. For example, France, Ireland and Germany are the biggest importers of our livestock.

Then there’s insights confirming what many of us always suspected: New Zealand is the major source of food brought into Australia, while Thailand, China and Vietnam dominate the importation of frozen and processed seafood to Australia.

The amount of processed food imported from China – particularly fruit and vegetables – has also increased in recent years.

The map contains many more fascinating insights, so check it out to make sure you know where your next meal is coming from.

Australian schools are entitled to free ArcGIS Online access through the GIS for Schools program. Find out how to get ArcGIS Online for your school.

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