Redistricting Resources and Operations
This section summarizes resources available for redistricting that make use of Census 2000 geographic and demographic data resources. Access to and use of these resources are described in the context of redistricting operations consistent with today's technological alternatives.
Today one person can do what perhaps a team of 10 people would be required to do for a similar redistricting application following the 1990 census. Possibly more significant is the ability to convey alternative plans to a wider set of stakeholders, more easily and less expensively, through the Internet -- a capability which has grown almost infinitely.
The Constitutionally mandated reason for the decennial census is for Congressional reapportionment and the closely associated redistricting process. Census 2000 geographic and demographic data resources for use in reapportionment and redistricting are described in the Census 2000 Data Access and Use web site.
Decennial census data are widely used in other types of districting applications. Local and state governments must redraw boundaries to reflect changes in population size and composition. Redistricting applications include redistricting state legislatures, other types of statewide geographic area redistrictings, regional management areas, sales territories, school districts (attendance areas and election areas), fire districts, police beats, city election districts, and other types of geography.
Role of GIS. Advancements in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offer new, faster, less expensive, and [potentially] more accurate means of completing a successful redistricting operation. Advancements in Internet-related technologies make it inexpensively and readily achievable to make the results of multiple proposed plans available for viewing with a Web browser. As a result, more stakeholders have a better opportunity to review the scope of proposed alternative plans. Finally, the results of the plans remain something of a living resource--the GIS can be restarted at any time, if the components are all retained and documented, and revisions can be made without starting over with paper-sourced materials.
Redistricting Solutions. Resources listed below can help you implement effective redistricting solutions.
Standalone PC Redistricting. To perform redistricting in a standalone PC environment, requires these elements:
One alternative for the PC mapping software used by Proximity is the ArcView mapping software augmented with the districting extension. The districting extension enables ArcView to be used to recognize groupings of smaller geographic areas, such as census blocks and census tracts, into a set of larger district areas. Using ArcView with this extension enables the user to view, modify, save and output characteristics of a redistricting plan.
The key to successful use of any mapping software to develop district plans extension involves 1) understanding how to establish the base data that convey the "starting point" for the plan and 2) how to define parameters and deviations acceptable in the redistricting process, and 3) acquiring and making the data components available in the required formats and locations.
PC mapping software can then help create a plan and
alternative plans. The mapping software helps you create
and view a plan, manipulate and assign district elements (e.g. census
blocks), and dynamically recalculate statistical measures
for the districts.