Esri Technology Enables the Public to Create and Propose District Scenarios
The City of Sacramento, California, is opening its redistricting process to the public with the help of a free online tool built on Esri technology. Now through May 16, the City of Sacramento Redistricting Online application enables anyone to develop new district boundaries for consideration by the city’s redistricting citizen advisory committee, which will make recommendations to the city council.
“By offering a central place to create and submit plans, we can expand participation and communicate the objectives and challenges of redistricting,” says Maria MacGunigal, City of Sacramento IT manager. “Our goal is to make sure the community has the ability to develop a plan in a timely manner that works for both the citizens and the council.”
Sacramento IT staff worked with Esri to create the customized app based on Esri Redistricting, a comprehensive web-based redistricting solution, which was released in February and is also available as Software as a Service (SaaS). The Sacramento app enables users to redraw district boundaries to meet new population targets while keeping communities intact and adhering to federal, state, and city requirements. The online platform allows plans to be shared and revised before submission, enabling collaboration among citizen groups.
“Sacramento played a key role in developing a version of the solution that provides basic redistricting tools for citizens,” says Larry Boden, Esri professional services chief technology officer. “The easy-to-use interface and simple workflow are geared toward guiding non-GIS users through the process.”
Upon the release of the 2010 US Census data in March, the app was configured to include the latest official population and demographic information before its public launch on April 4. It is available for a six-week period ending on the May 16 public plan submission deadline.
Sacramento has a history of progressive efforts to engage citizens and leverage GIS technology to improve efficiency and services. In the previous redistricting cycle, in 2001, the city sought public input by offering a free GIS-based desktop redistricting tool, since online offerings were not yet widely embraced. MacGunigal says strong participation and positive feedback from that experience created an expectation of continued public involvement in redistricting, supporting the decision to offer an online app.
For information on Sacramento’s redistricting process, visit www.cityofsacramento.org/redistricting. To learn more about Esri Redistricting and sign up for a free 30-day trial, visit esri.com/redistricting.
[Source: Esri press release]