Among the fundamental skills required to be map literate, that is, to be able to read and comprehend maps, are an understanding of scale, the recognition of spatial orientation, and an appreciation of map projections. A higher-level, overarching principle of map literacy is that a single map can seldom tell a whole story, which is a point well made by Dr. Kenneth Field, Esri senior cartographic product engineer, in a recent article in Wired.
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.