A generic geometric approach to territory design and districting
- Territory design and districting may be viewed as the problem of grouping small geographic areas into larger geographic clusters called territories in such a way that the latter are acceptable according to relevant planning criteria. The availability of GIS on computers and the growing interest in Geo-Marketing leads to an increasing importance of this area. Despite the wide range of applications for territory design problems, when taking a closer look at the models proposed in the literature, a lot of similarities can be noticed. Indeed, the models are many times very similar and can often be, more or less directly, carried over to other applications. Therefore, our aim is to provide a generic application-independent model and present efficient solution techniques. We introduce a basic model that covers aspects common to most applications. Moreover, we present a method for solving the general model which is based on ideas from the field of computational geometry. Theoretical as well as computational results underlining the efficiency of the new approach will be given. Finally, we show how to extend the model and solution algorithm to make it applicable for a broader range of applications and how to integrate the presented techniques into a GIS.