How to use Feat

We've designed the Food environment assessment tool (Feat) to be intuitive and simple to use. However if you're stuck, here's a guide to the basics.

Navigation

The easiest way to get started in Feat is to use the 'Search' box. You can search for a County or Local Authority; a middle super output area (MSOA) or lower super output area (LSOA) of interest either by name or code (e.g. Carlisle 007 or E02003993); a Ward, or a postcode (with a space between the outward and inward portions e.g. CB2 0SR). Feat will warn you if it can't find the area you're looking for. The geographic area currently being displayed will be shown in the 'Current level' panel.

You can then navigate and zoom as normal. If you zoom in to the postcode level from a larger geography, you will be warned that food access is calculated differently at the postcode level in Feat (see >Technical Notes). Click OK to dismiss this warning.

If you want to zoom out but preserve the geographic boundary (County, Local Authority, MSOA, LSOA, postcode) currently being displayed, click the 'Lock level' check box. You will then be able to zoom out three zoom levels (three clicks of the zoom out button), before Feat defaults to the next largest geography to display (see Figure example below). Feat has to default to displaying the next largest geography after zooming out more than three levels because there are limits to how much data we can feasibly show.

You display postcode data for your chosen area You zoom out three zoom levels. Postcode data are still displayed You zoom out four levels. Feat defaults to displaying LSOAs (the next largest geography).

It is also possible to navigate the food environment through time using the 'Date' slider to the top-right of the visible map extent. You can assess historic food environments every three months, starting March 2017. Prior to March 2017, only data from June 2014, June 2015 and June 2016 are available to view.

Display

Feat allows you to explore the food environment with respect to many different types of food outlet. Use the 'Food outlet types' selector panel to choose the type of food outlet data you want to display. Or, choose multiple types of food outlet to get a wider picture of food outlet access.

The types of food outlets we have classified as a Cafe, Convenience Store, Restaurant, Speciality outlet, Supermarket or Takeaway can be seen by hovering your mouse over each food outlet type (see also: >Technical Notes).

As you move your cursor across the visible map extent, the 'Current level' panel will show the name and code (if applicable), as well as the count of the number of food outlets selected within each area.

The 'Number of selected food outlet(s)' panel displays a legend to help you interpret the map. The legend always relates to the visible map extent, and displays quintiles of numbers of food outlets, in addition to those with zero outlets. Quintiles divide the total number of areas shown into five groups, meaning that each group in the legend contains 20% of the areas shown in the visible map extent.

The 'Distribution of food outlets' panel provides you with further information in the form of a histogram showing the distribution of selected food outlet type(s) across the visible map extent. This can be particularly useful for objectively comparing areas, or for quickly identifying the range of exposures within the visible map extent. The histogram is not shown if fewer than 20 polygons are displayed within the visible map extent.

Standardisation

Display of counts of food outlets is the default in Feat. Therefore, you will notice that None is selected automatically in the 'Standardisation' selector panel.

However, Feat also allows standardisation of food outlet counts by Total number of food outlets or by Resident population, using the radio buttons in the 'Standardisation' selector panel:

Total number of food outlets: the number of food outlets (of the type(s) you have chosen to display) is displayed as a percentage of all food outlets in each area. The legend and distribution panels are automatically updated. In the 'Current level' panel, moving your cursor over the visible map extent shows the count of selected outlets, the total number of outlets, and the percentage of the former (e.g. 24/50 (48.0 %)).
Resident population: the number of food outlets (of the type(s) you have chosen to display) is displayed per 1,000 population in each area. The legend and distribution panels are automatically updated. In the 'Current level' panel, moving your cursor over the visible map extent shows the count of selected food outlets, the resident population, and the ratio of food outlets per 1,000 population (e.g. 9/6281 (1.43/per 1k pop.)). Please note that this function is not available at the postcode level (see ).

Quick Tips

Don't forget that at any time you can hover over the information icon () for details on each function.

To show more of your chosen geography, try zooming out as far as possible to the point where Feat would normally automatically display the next largest geography, before selecting 'Lock level' and then zooming out three levels.

The 'Food outlet types', 'Standardisation', 'Number of selected food outlet(s)' and 'Distribution of food outlets' panels can all be collapsed using the collapse icons ( ). This is particularly useful if you're working on a smaller screen, or just want to de-clutter your display.

Pressing F11 on your keyboard allows Feat to enter full screen mode. This is particularly useful if you're working on a computer with a small screen and need to maximise the visible map extent.

The best way to export high resolution Feat maps is to Print Screen + Paste, while viewing Feat in full screen mode (F11). Then to exit full screen mode, press F11 again.