May 31, 2011
Redlands, CaliforniaLos Angeles County is giving its citizens the opportunity to propose new district boundaries through a comprehensive online redistricting application built on Esri's geographic information system (GIS) technology. Through June 2, the public may submit redistricting scenarios for consideration by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' Boundary Review Committee, which will recommend a plan to the board. The adopted plan will assign the 9.8 million residents of the nation's most populous county to five districts to elect their county supervisors, who collectively oversee a budget of $23 billion.
"The online app makes redistricting accessible to a wide audience, increasing the transparency of the process and encouraging citizen engagement," says Mark Greninger, geographic information officer for the County of Los Angeles. "Citizens feel more confident because they are able to build their own plans online from wherever they are most comfortable. The tool is flexible enough to accommodate a lot of information and does not require specialized technical capabilities."
Los Angeles County's public redistricting tool supports multiple datasets and enables sophisticated redistricting capabilities through an easy-to-use interface that makes the process manageable for the average resident. The county's customized version of Esri Redistricting offers a step-by-step workflow and provides access to more than 600 demographic variables. These features enable the public to develop informed redistricting plans that meet the county's objectives of ensuring equitable representation and keeping communities intact. Submissions are accompanied by details on each plan's goals, giving proposers the opportunity to explain their rationales.
Greninger says the board opted for the web-based solution in part because it offered significant savings compared to the 2001 public input program, which involved purchasing numerous desktop software licenses and making county technical staff available at public redistricting sites.
"Working with L.A. County on implementing the Esri Redistricting solution was especially interesting due to the fact that the county population is larger than 44 states in the US," says Larry Boden, Esri Professional Services chief technology officer. "Besides vast demographic data, the tool integrates other important reference information such as county facilities, established communities, and election data."
For information on Los Angeles County's redistricting process, visit www.redistricting.lacounty.gov. To learn more about Esri Redistricting and sign up for a free 30-day trial, visit esri.com/redistricting.
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