Map the Vote Builds a GIS-based National Election Precinct Data Set
Map the Vote, a partner of the National Committee for
an Effective Congress (NCEC), a
progressive political action committee, contracted with Farallon
Geographics to build a precinct-level data set for key battleground
states in this year's U.S. presidential election. With data from the
Democratic National Committee and using Oracle Spatial, Farallon
processed over 20 million voter records to produce election precinct
data sets. Editor-in-chief Joe Francica contacted Joe Metro, vice
president of marketing for Farallon Geographics, to discuss the
Joe Francica (JF): You indicated that "key battleground statesâ are
mapped. Which states are they? Did the DNC or NCEC specifically request
Joe Metro (JM): We cannot divulge which specific states were
processed due to confidentiality issues involved; however most are
considered key battleground states. These states were selected by NCEC,
JF: The map in the press
release shows point locations. The press release says that you
processed voter records to determine precinct locations. Did you derive
a polygon from these point records? Will the precincts be mapped as
polygon boundaries specifically?
JM: Yes - we did derive polygons from the point record.
Yes - the final output is precinct polygons.
JF: You used Oracle Spatial. Did you choose a spatial database
to process because the 20 million records could not be processed by a
JM: We chose Oracle Spatial for many reasons. The main reason was
its ability to process the large data volumes more quickly and
efficiently than a desktop GIS could.
JF: Were there specific functions in Oracle that allowed you to do
the work in the database and not with another GIS solution? Which GIS
was used to display the work or did you simply use the Oracle MapViewer?
JM: We used "Locator" level functionality like sdo_relate, and
nearest neighbor. For some of the processing steps that we could have
coded in Oracle, we instead chose to use GeoMedia in order to avoid
custom programming, which minimized the cost to our client, NCEC. The
final deliverable was a shapefile, and therefore visualization of the
data (paper or digital) was not a requirement of the project. When our
processing required visualization, we used GeoMedia.
JF: Can anyone use or purchase these precincts or are they only
available to the organization that requested the work?
JM: The data belong to our client, NCEC, and are not publicly
JF: Was thought given to segmenting the database for mobile
technology since the information would be used for canvassing?
JM: Farallon has done mobile work on other projects but this was
not requested for this one. But there is nothing that would prevent us
from using it that way.