GIS User Group Presentation on Redistricting



My slide show from from our local GIS User Group meeting on Wednesday. Yep, one slide. My presentations are becoming more minimalist over time1. Pretty soon I’ll just stare meaningfully for 15 minutes. I did sneak in a couple of screen shots though - the local Wifi was squirrelly.

If my innane blather can be said to have points, I’d say it was this:


  • Redistricting is dull in terms of the science of GIS, but it has a huge impact on people’s lives

  • Mecklenburg County liberated redistricting, allowing anyone to create and submit district plans.

  • We crafted a system usable by Real Human BeingsTM.

  • Built using open source software (OpenLayers, jQuery) and free API’s (reCaptcha, Google Charts API).

  • Released redistricting data on Google Fusion Tables and the source code under an open source license.

  • Take an hour every week to look around and think about new ways of doing things. With budgets being where they are and everybody’s plate overflowing, it’s easy to think you can’t afford to. You can’t afford not to. If we hadn’t been occasionally looking at the horizon, this project probably never happens.

As usual, a great meeting was put together by our local user’s group. It’s easy to underestimate how laborious and time consuming setting up events like this is, and I think this last meeting was the best one yet. Kudos to everybody involved!

1 Thank Ryan “icculus” Gordon for that. Every presentation I’ve seen him give starts with a single slide that says, in essence, PowerPoint rots your brain. Then he shuts the projector off and starts his talk. Great speaker. GIS being a highly visual discipline you can’t always get away with that, but it’s probably better when you can.