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Territory design 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. In this paper we review the existing literature for applications of territory design problems and solution approaches for solving these types of problems. After identifying features common to all applications we introduce a basic territory design model and present in detail two approaches for solving this model: a classical location–allocation approach combined with optimal split resolution techniques and a newly developed computational geometry based method. We present computational results indicating the efficiency and suitability of the latter method for solving large–scale practical problems in an interactive environment. Furthermore, we discuss extensions to the basic model and its integration into Geographic Information Systems.

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.

The problem discussed in this paper is motivated by the new recycling directiveWEEE of the EC. The core of this law is, that each company which sells electrical or electronic equipment in a European country has the obligation to recollect and recycle an amount of returned items which is proportional to its market share. To assign collection stations to companies, in Germany for one product type a territory design approach is planned. However, in contrast to classical territory design, the territories should be geographically as dispersed as possible to avoid that a company, resp. its logistics provider responsible for the recollection, gains a monopoly in some region. First, we identify an appropriate measure for the dispersion of a territory. Afterwards, we present a first mathematical programming model for this new problem as well as a solution method based on the GRASP methodology. Extensive computational results illustrate the suitability of the model and assess the effectiveness of the heuristic.

In this paper we develop a network location model that combines the characteristics of ordered median and gradual cover models resulting in the Ordered Gradual Covering Location Problem (OGCLP). The Gradual Cover Location Problem (GCLP) was specifically designed to extend the basic cover objective to capture sensitivity with respect to absolute travel distance. Ordered Median Location problems are a generalization of most of the classical locations problems like p-median or p-center problems. They can be modeled by using so-called ordered median functions. These functions multiply a weight to the cost of fulfilling the demand of a customer which depends on the position of that cost relative to the costs of fulfilling the demand of the other customers. We derive Finite Dominating Sets (FDS) for the one facility case of the OGCLP. Moreover, we present efficient algorithms for determining the FDS and also discuss the conditional case where a certain number of facilities are already assumed to exist and one new facility is to be added. For the multi-facility case we are able to identify a finite set of potential facility locations a priori, which essentially converts the network location model into its discrete counterpart. For the multi-facility discrete OGCLP we discuss several Integer Programming formulations and give computational results.

The objective of this paper is to bridge the gap between location theory and practice. To meet this objective focus is given to the development of software capable of addressing the different needs of a wide group of users. There is a very active community on location theory encompassing many research fields such as operations research, computer science, mathematics, engineering, geography, economics and marketing. As a result, people working on facility location problems have a very diverse background and also different needs regarding the software to solve these problems. For those interested in non-commercial applications (e. g. students and researchers), the library of location algorithms (LoLA can be of considerable assistance. LoLA contains a collection of efficient algorithms for solving planar, network and discrete facility location problems. In this paper, a detailed description of the functionality of LoLA is presented. In the fields of geography and marketing, for instance, solving facility location problems requires using large amounts of demographic data. Hence, members of these groups (e. g. urban planners and sales managers) often work with geographical information too s. To address the specific needs of these users, LoLA was inked to a geographical information system (GIS) and the details of the combined functionality are described in the paper. Finally, there is a wide group of practitioners who need to solve large problems and require special purpose software with a good data interface. Many of such users can be found, for example, in the area of supply chain management (SCM). Logistics activities involved in strategic SCM include, among others, facility location planning. In this paper, the development of a commercial location software tool is also described. The too is embedded in the Advanced Planner and Optimizer SCM software developed by SAP AG, Walldorf, Germany. The paper ends with some conclusions and an outlook to future activities.