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Gerrymandering - creating the maps of politics

With the 2010 Census behind us, political districts of all levels across the United States are being redrawn.  Gerrymandering - the process of creating political districts to give extra power or take away power from a certain group of people, usually on the basis of race or class - has been going on in the United States since our earliest history.  The Economist recently published a nice overview article of the history and challenges of drawing fair political maps.  We've also looked before at the Illinois Fair Map Amendment and its impact on political districting here in Illinois.

Fair Political District Maps for Illinois

logo for the Illinois Fair Map InitiativeMaps are powerful and important!  That's the caption of a slide in my standard "GIS for nonprofits" presentation, right around the part where I'm trying to teach why nonprofit organizations should care about maps.  Maps aren't always used just to illustrate historical statistics or last year's data - they can also be used to visualize future plans and activities for our communities and our world... with both positive and negative implications.  That's why I think the Illinois Fair Map Initiative's Fair Map Amendment is such an important issue.