A maddening map of the precincts

countygis.jpgHas anyone ever successfully used the Allen County GIS system to determine his own precinct or polling place?

I appreciate the effort that went into gathering all the information and pulling it into one system. But the county system is a classic example of enterprise software being written for programmers rather than for end users.

If you’re like me, you just jump into a site like the county’s, thinking that you’ll figure it out as you go along. But see all those folders down the sidebar in the picture? Some things in there are already selected, which is why you see so many colored lines in your map.

Good luck finding all the checkboxes that go with the renegade lines.

Next, you may try the instructions for finding your election information. This actually works, as far as it goes, although it does take nine steps.

But the big problem is that you get the address of your polling place, but all of the polls remain marked on the map. So, if you’re like me, and you’re unfamiliar with many Fort Wayne streets and buildings, you could end up at a closer, but incorrect, polling place.


My polling place is not the VFW, a polling place actually located inside my precinct. The VFW is a polling place for a different precinct. My polling place is located two precincts to the north at the Eagles Club — meaning that if you don’t have a car, you have to either get a ride or take public transportation.

Why so far away? I believe it’s because of Americans with Disabilities Act concerns, which are valid as long as everyone has equal access to transportation — and that’s an unlikely prospect in my neighborhood.

A good city features polling places that are easy to find and, at least in the urban core, easy to get to by foot. Let’s hope better polling places — and maps — arrive before the next election.