How GIS Tools are Used in Civil Rights Cases

Geographic data serves many purposes for businesses, but it can also serve the community as well.  Recent civil rights cases have used GIS data to show how some neighborhoods with greater minority demographics have less available infrastructure (water access, sewer lines, etc.).  GbBIS looks at how certain organizations have used geographic and demographic data to win civil rights cases. 


Many organizations, such as the Cedar Grove Institute for Sustainable Communities based in North Carolina, are using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data to map available infrastructure against the racial characteristics of different neighborhoods in the United States.  The Institute has been studying the placement of things such as water lines, sewer lines, and street lamps in neighborhoods.  When viewing this data alongside demographics, startling inequities come up.

Governments often annex new neighborhoods over time, extending their town boundaries to accommodate a larger population that is already part of the local tax base.  What GIS data has often revealed is that governments often do this selectively, choosing which citizens are eligible for basic services and which aren’t.

In Zanesville,OH, the Cedar Grove Institute used GeoCoded data to reveal that neighborhoods with predominantly African-American populations were being denied access to water services.  In 2008, a judge awarded the plaintiffs of Zanesville over $10 million due to the Institute’s convincing data.

None of the Cedar Grove Institute’s work would be possible without the digital geographic data and tools that are now available.  GbBIS offers the most accurate, up-to-date data to help manage any area of a business impacted by geography or locations.  Demographics come into play in almost every business.  GbBIS can help you better target your market, profile customers, and identify new markets.  We’ve been the leader in geography-based business solutions for over 25 years.  Call us today.


Contact GbBIS today and discover how the most accurate geographic and demographic data can improve your business. 


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Call Us at 1-877-447-6277


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