Council aims to win by making residents the biggest losers

Nov 11, 2015

Local eateries offering nutritious meals and smoke-free dining have won a spot in an ingenious good food guide – a Victorian council’s healthy eating smart map.

Diners can interactively use the Healthy Together Cardinia Shire Healthy Bites online smart map to get a taste of all the cafés and restaurants in the Cardinia Shire area with delicious, wholesome meals on their menu.

The health-conscious council, located 53km south east of Melbourne, used mapping giant Esri Australia’s Cloud-based mapping system – ArcGIS Online – to create the interactive smart map.

The Healthy Together Cardinia Shire team developed the program after discovering more than half the area’s local adults were overweight and only 3.4 per cent of residents ate sufficient fruit and vegetables.

Cardinia Shire Council Health Promotion Officer Monica Klein currently manages the program, which is active in 16 venues around the shire.

“Our residents want access to healthier food, which helps us advocate to venues to increase the number of healthy options they have to choose from,” Ms Klein said.

“To get on the Healthy Bites map, food outlets must offer at least three healthy menu items – low in saturated fat and salt and high in fibre – as well as a healthy dining environment.”

“We are promoting those options via an interactive and easy-to-use smart map – enabling the community to instantly locate where the Healthy Bites restaurants are located and what they are offering.”

Council Geographical Information Systems Officer Cory Bixler said smart maps were ideal for the project as they were straightforward and easy to set up but rich in information.

“It only took a couple of hours to create the map and we can quickly add to it as more restaurants sign up to the program,” Mr Bixler said.

“Smart mapping is increasingly being used to help communicate a range of messages to communities from the location and progress of capital works through to the details of an unfolding natural disaster.”

“Residents will soon be able to quickly pull up a map of the shire and click on capital work projects to get more information.”

Local government specialist at Esri Australia Mehrnoush Ghorbani said councils are increasingly leveraging smart mapping technology to communicate with residents in a variety of scenarios.

“During a flood or bushfire for example, councils can rapidly update their communities as the situation develops through easy-to-understand maps which anyone can access from their computer or smartphone,” Ms Ghorbani said.

“The maps can be layered with various up-to-date information sources – including photos, videos, text and social media posts – to provide a clear view of a situation as it unfolds.”

“Smart maps are being leveraged due to their inherent ability to communicate large volumes of information in a universal, visual language.”

“Cardinia Shire Council’s Healthy Bites smart map is just one of many pioneering tools the council has developed to improve services and encourage the community to view their local area through a geographic lens.”

View the Healthy Bites map at: