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2018 Planning and GIS Resource Roundup

2018 Planning and GIS Resource Roundup

The end of the calendar year provides an opportunity to reflect on resources that we’ve found useful, intriguing, or beautiful. This blog provides a list—in no particular order—of five websites related to school district planning or geographic information systems (GIS) that caught our interest in 2018. We hope you will find these links helpful, and Happy New Year!

School District Planning. Facilities management at school districts has long been a place-based process. Advances in GIS tools present opportunities for districts to blend geographic data with other sources of information. Broward County, FL has been a leader in using GIS for data analysis and presentation. Their website offers excellent explanations for how GIS is useful to the school district in general and district planning in particular.

Desegregation. Desegregating public schools continues to be a hot-button issue in the US. This heavily researched article by Alvin Chang discusses how school attendance boundaries contribute to, or mitigate, segregation based on neighborhood patterns. The interactive maps and charts provide eye-opening visuals, and the article includes plenty of links to the supporting research.

Cartography. In “Storytelling with Maps on Paper and Screen,” cartographer Allen Carroll discusses the differences between maps for printing and maps for display on screens. Beautiful maps accompany the text to illustrate his conclusion: …print provides the luxury of space—of presenting lots of fine detail across the expanse of a sheet of paper—while digital gives us the advantage of time, enabling us to unfold a narrative along the razor-thin membrane between past and future.

Enrollment Projections. School district administrators in multiple departments must rely on enrollment projections in order to make effective plans for the future. Districts also need to keep an eye on nation-wide demographic trends. The National Center for Education Statistics provided a 2018 update with projections by region and state.

Citizen Science Projects Using Maps. As school districts continue to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), educators may find citizen science projects engaging and useful for students. This article by Diana S. Sinton for Directions magazine provides many links to citizen science projects that involve mapping applications.

Eddata Word Cloud

Is School Boundary Redistricting in Your Future?

By Susan M. McMillan, Ph.D., Senior Statistician and Researcher

Our family moved to Eden Prairie, MN during the middle of the 2011—12 school year. On an ice crystal-cold morning in January, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a school bus would collect my boys at our corner. When we decided which house to purchase we had been under the impression that our family fell into the “walker” category because we lived only a few blocks from an elementary school.

The pleasant feeling faded as the other parents at the bus stop abandoned their “Minnesota nice” roots and described the acrimonious year-long redistricting process that had sent our neighborhood kids to a school about 1 and a half miles away. Read more

Why Map Data?

By Caroline Fahmy, President and CEO

Since our company’s inception, our Planware division has used geographic information systems (GIS) to view data. Our GIS software applications and services have helped map school district boundaries and model changes in school attendance areas. Using maps to model changes in the district’s geography (e.g., new streets or subdivisions) or student population (e.g., growth or decline in one or more areas of the district) assists school district planners in making decisions about how to utilize their school facilities more efficiently and, ultimately, better meet students’ needs.

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School Districts: Four Benefits of Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technology

By David Johnston, GIS specialist at Educational Data Systems

In today’s technologically connected world, we are constantly using Google Search to find the answers to our questions. In seconds, we can find the location of the nearest sandwich shop along with its reviews, website, and more. This is an example of geographic information systems (GIS) technology in action. In its simplest form, GIS technology delivers information based on a physical location. Think of it as a “smart map” that not only provides locations but can answer your questions, too.

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