The Next Big thing II

What's the next big technological development in South Dakota Campaigns? A weblog for each of them? Nope. It's GIS - Graphical Information Systems.

If you're not familiar with it, it's a type of software technology that can turn a large database of names and addresses into a map of an area with points that represent your voters. Even better, it allows you to offload all this information into PDA's, which are a handy and convenient size for canvassers who are out walking the neighborhoods.

Taking a door to door poll? Pull up your voter. Tap..Tap..Tap on the PDA, and you're done. No clipboards, no mess. Back to the office for a recharge? Upload your information into the master database at literally the same time.

This technology is being implemented at the national level for campaigns, and if it hasn't already, it's going to be soon filtering down to a campaign near you. Want to create a graphical map of where your areas of support are? No problem. Want to spit out a map of Republican owned properties along the interstate highways for potential 4x8 placement? Easy as pie.

And the best part? a lot of the information you need is already being assembled for you by counties. Rapid City/Pennington County has quite a bit of data available already, as well as Minnehaha County. Other areas are coming on-line with GIS as quickly as they possibly can.

Many of these GIS programs have a street address module available for purchase, which specifically maps addresses to longitude/latitude locations on maps. And these maps are not only accurate down to the block, you can integrate existing topographical and photographic maps as an overlay.

Need a map of yard sign placement? Here you go. Want to map out your voting precincts where your party has traditionally won? Piece of cake. Even better, want to color code precincts based on priority? Not a problem. I've seen some applications of this software on a very limited basis by political operatives already. But it's going to become bigger by leaps and bounds.

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