Previewing my Howard County blogging in 2012

2 minute read

Following my review of my 2011 Howard County blogging and related activities it’s time for a look ahead to 2012. I did a similar preview last year and will use it as a guide to what I’d like to accomplish this year.

As I noted in my last post, my posting frequency (and hence my traffic) declined somewhat last year. I would not be surprised to see that trend continue this year, possibly to the point where I’m posting only once every two to three weeks. Part of that is due to wanting to devote more time to my ongoing math study, and part to needing to do more background research on the topics I want to cover here.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I tend to specialize in somewhat obscure and geeky Howard County subjects, with an emphasis on presenting at least some data to supplement the discussion. That will continue, so don’t expect anything from me on “current events”: the 2012 presidential election (or even the 2012 school board election), who’s running for what in the 2014 Maryland or Howard County elections, or anything else that’s likely to be covered in the Baltimore Sun, Howard County Times, or other local blogs.

With that in mind, here are my tentative blogging plans in 2012:

First, I have at least three possible follow-ups to my series on Howard County Council redistricting: First up will likely be a brief discussion of the process of converting the series into my Dividing Howard ebook, along with how, why, and where other local bloggers might consider doing something similar. Once the current round of redistricting ends I’ll then consider covering the period from 2002 to the present and bringing out a second edition of the book. Finally, in blogging about the effect of the move from at-large to district council elections I got interested in alternative voting systems, and so will try to post some about whether and how Howard County could create a better way to elect council members.

One of my biggest regrets in doing the redistricting series and the resulting book was that I didn’t include any actual redistricting maps. This was partly due to the poor quality of the maps I found in old copies of the Baltimore Sun and the Columbia Flier and partly due to the fairly hefty royalties I’d have had to pay to the Sun to reproduce those maps. What I really should have done was to generate my own maps, but I don’t know enough about working with GIS applications and data to do that effectively.

I’m going to try to correct that deficiency this year. Most of that work will be my own study and experimenting (for example, working through the tutorial from the Chicago Tribune developers) and hence will not be directly visible in my blogging. I’m not sure what actual subjects I’ll try to take on; one possibility is visualizing past council election data, another looking at 2010 census data (something I wanted to get to last year but didn’t).

Of other things I mentioned in last year’s preview, I’m still interested in the general tasks of preserving Howard County history in digital form and creating HoCo-local applications using government data. You can consider the proposals I’ve outlined above to be my own promised contributions to those two goals.

We’ll see how I do in fulfilling these promises; in the meantime Happy New Year to all of you who do me the honor of reading this blog!