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Precinct mapping – Boise and Spokane

For the true polisci junkies, a couple of posts with precinct maps – of how the elections went in Boise and Spokane.

In Spokane, Jim Camden’s Spin Control blog contains a series of maps from the last Spokane elections – tracing voter turnout, population, fire bond results and so on. Nothing especially unexpected here, but the watchful will find some of the precinct results of interest.

In Boise, Nathaniel Hoffman of Boise Weekly pulled together a series of maps showing who won the council races by precinct. They are, again, not surprising – the incumbents and incumbent-aligned T.J. Thomson won Boise to the north and east of the Boise River and most of the bench, while the opposition (generally, Republican) won toward the west and south. It was a clear indicator, again, of the state of politics in the city.

The really wonkish will want to read Hoffman’s description of how he developed the maps. It was a complicated process, complicated enough that for those of us interested in this kind of information raises the obvious question: Isn’t there an easier way?


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  1. fortboise fortboise November 15, 2009

    I suppose there was intended to be a hyperlink to Hoffman’s BW piece in there somewhere….

    Here we go:

    And the geek speak here:

    Is there an easier way? Probably, but the process of GIS imaging is all about infrastructure (and “easier” doesn’t necessary imply “easy”). The NEXT time Hoffman wants to do precinct results mapping, it’ll be way easier, because he won’t have to re-do all the steps. I imagine various political entities already have most of the infrastructure done, but that doesn’t mean you can get at it with your run-of-the-mill mashup.

    Google Maps has made some very powerful stuff available to the masses. Good on ’em.

  2. Randy Stapilus Randy Stapilus Post author | November 15, 2009

    Thanks for the link – intended originally to be incorporated and inadvertently left off.

    I’d love to see Google precinct maps, which in many cases (most places) haven’t been made widely available yet.

  3. fortboise fortboise November 16, 2009

    All it takes is time and effort… the map under discussion is really a “Hoffman precinct map,” rather than a Google map, eh? I can’t see Google having the incentive to do the grunt work, but most mapping efforts these days end up in GIS.

    Folks in the GIS departments of some government entities have seen the wisdom in applying Google’s infrastructure and API to giving the public a window into their work. (And Google has lit a fire under the 900-pound gorilla in the field, ESRI to create more accessible tools for the masses. They have mind-share with the technorati, but not so much with the rank of file of geekdom.)

    What we’ll see first–what we DO see now–is a hodge-podge of private efforts to improve the expression of public data.

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