Scottish Boundary Commission: We don't need no stinkin' PDFs
Scots publish constituency maps in open format to avoid data drama
The Boundary Commission for Scotland (BCS) has said it will publish shapefiles of its initial proposals for constituencies after the Boundary Commission for England (BCE) was criticised for not doing so.
The BCS said it had "watched with interest" the response to the BCE's publication of its initial proposals for constituencies and would subsequently publish the shapefiles – an interoperable data format for geographic information – when the consultation begins on 13 October.
The format, developed and regulated by software firm Esri, makes it possible to plot different types of data onto a vector map.
The BCS will also provide an interactive map that will allow constituents to search by postcode and local authority and to zoom in and out.
Last week the BCE attracted criticism for publishing more than 500 maps in the less-flexible PDF format as part of its public consultation on new constituency boundaries. It defended its decision, saying the maps provided "an appropriate level of detail".
Hugh Buchanan, secretary for the Scottish body, explained that it was very important that the Scottish public engage in the consultation.
Buchanan told GGC: "We are keen to ensure that we provide information on the initial proposals in a form which encourages informed comment on them, and enables constructive discussion and alternative suggestions.
"As well as the shapefiles and map, we will also produce hard copy documents explaining our initial proposals, as has been the case in previous review, since we recognise that hard copy publication retains an important role in making such information available."
The shapefiles will be produced in-house and the interactive map by Informed Solutions, a spatial information and systems consultancy.
The BCS also plans to produce spreadsheets showing the relationships between constituency and ward electorates. ®
This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.
Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.
Boundary Commission for Scotland
Thanks for the coverage of the Guardian Computing story about the Boundary Commission for Scotland’s intention to distribute a shape file of its Initial Proposals for constituencies when these are published on 13 October.
However, your headline is grossly misleading. We will be publishing PDFs as well as distributing a shape file. For many of those interested in the review, PDF remains a very valuable and easy-to-use tool for viewing a map of our Proposals.
Secretary, Boundary Commission for Scotland
Some government offices CAN learn from mistakes...
Well done them.
More detail please
@jake: "PDFs are a useless waste"
This is not a criticism - just intrigued.
What's wrong with PDF? I've found it a godsend for distributing documents that *everyone* can open without losing formatting, colour, fonts, etc. And what would you recommend as an alternative?