The King County Department of Elections conducts all elections by paper ballot, which a voter either mails or deposits into one of nearly 70 drop boxes that are distributed throughout the county. For its secure tracking of drop-box collections, Elections transitioned in the spring of 2019 to an all-digital workflow using mostly Esri GIS products. The all-digital aspect is notable in part because this is not yet common practice among elections agencies.
The responsibilities of county government are many, including elections, criminal justice, property value assessment and taxation, and dozens of others. One obscure but economically important responsibility of King County is to reduce and, if possible, prevent the negative impacts of noxious weeds.
During the past year interest in using GIS to address issues related to Equity and Social Justice (ESJ) have been accelerating. Recently Mark Salling from Cleveland State University, Nicole Franklin, King County Chief Equity Officer, and I co-authored an article for URISA’s The GIS Professional to initiate a discussion about the role of GIS professionals…
“Strengthening the GIS Profession”—that was the title of a 2012 ArcNews article authored by my friend David DiBiase. David asked: ‘Is GIS a profession?’ As he pointed out, this is an important question. He defined a GIS Professional as ‘…someone who makes a living through learned professional work…that requires advanced knowledge of geographic information systems and related geospatial technologies, data, and methods.’
The GIS profession, or any profession, rightly requires a definition that defines it across multiple dimensions. This article will assess from a personal perspective where the GIS profession stands today, based on the dimensions of the GIS profession that DiBiase outlined in 2012.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to their own town to register.” (Luke 2) Fast forward 18 centuries and the US Constitution states: “The actual Enumeration [of every free person] shall be made…every subsequent Term of ten Years, in…
King County’s marine research vessel, the SoundGuardian, spends much of its time on Puget Sound monitoring water quality, collecting samples to check on marine health, and maintaining marine buoys. Recently though, it went on its latest mission as part of a multi-year project to survey the King County saltwater shorelines and I was aboard.
Sixty-five miles north of the King County GIS Center there is another highly effective county-based GIS operation. Skagit County Geographic Information Services (SCGIS), located in beautiful Mount Vernon, was recently featured in the March/April issue of Insight magazine, a publication of Professional & Technical Employees Local 17. The article looks into the history and growth of SCGIS and the current makeup of its ten-member team.
Gerrymandering, the process of manipulating political district boundaries for some advantage, is a broadly recognized but poorly understood process. This topic was first discussed here in GIS & You by Dennis Higgins in a September 2017 article. Now, Mark Salling, Ph.D., GISP, Senior Fellow and Research Associate at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, has written an informative article for the GIS Professional, the bimonthly newsletter of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.
Perhaps, like me, you remember the term “gerrymander” from history class. A gerrymandered electoral district is one whose boundaries are defined—often with unusually shaped geographic extents—to intentionally favor one political party over another. While the term sounds silly, gerrymanders are serious business that can and do affect every aspect of our society.
King County continues its commitment to making GIS data available to the public. This post introduces the release of the new King County GIS Open Data site. Our new site is hosted on Esri’s ArcGIS Online Open Data platform and initially provides access to more than 100 datasets, in fifteen thematic categories, for inspection, analysis, and download.