GIS Blamed for Redistricting Boundaries Splitting Houses

Political reporter Chris Vanocur who covers the news in Salt Lake City, UT determined last week that the proposed new boundaries split at least a dozen houses in two. So, the TV station followed up as to why and got the scoop from policy analyst Joseph Wade. 

He attributes the problem to limitations on the computer program used to make the boundaries.  It's called the Geographic Information System or GIS.

"It's the nature of the GIS data we have to work with.  It's not as accurate as we'd like it, but unfortunately it's what we have to work with," said Joseph Wade.

The system uses census blocks to draw the political boundary lines.  A census block is a cluster of voters and it can't be split in Utah, so each home fits with an exact census block.

He says the lines through homes are the result of a computer program that can't perfectly place all the lines.

The Lieutenant Governor is responsible to explain where each split home really belongs.

So, is it the data or software? Perhaps both? I can't tell from this discussion. 

- ABC 4


Published Monday, October 24th, 2011

Written by Adena Schutzberg


Published in

Government