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IPS-Township School District Borders, 2008
Borders play important roles in many parts of life. Borders decide what nationality you are, what taxes you pay, what wars are fought, and, most importantly in this case, what sort of education you receive. In Marion County, there are eleven school districts whose borders decide where a child goes to traditional public school. I have not been an Indianapolis citizen long enough to know most of the neighborhoods these school district lines run though, but I plan to investigate them.
If you look at a map of the townships of Marion County and then the school districts, some definite incongruities appear. The township lines are either relatively straight, or follow natural boundaries such as rivers. Conversely, often the lines for school districts gerrymander and even form detached pockets of districts. I am sure, in procedural files buried in file cabinets somewhere, there are explanations for each serpentine line. I am not interested in these reasons. I want to follow the lines to see what is there today. Through this investigation actual effects of these borders might be garnered. From my preliminary research, I have found that sometimes a student could just end up on the wrong side of the tracks, quite literally, to go to a different school.
My mapping process entails several steps. First I import the map into Google Earth, I then set down points at a set interval, say half a mile, and then I go out with a GPS and follow the lines. When I get to a pre-set point, I take a photo in each direction and then a spacer image. The spacer image works like the edge in a puzzle allowing me to put the image back together. Then in Photoshop I overlay the photographs on top of the original map in a grid formation. This is all then printed as one large image. In this case, the pieces will be the borders between two districts. For example the border between IPS and Wayne Township Schools would be one piece.
When I set the rules down for going out to shoot, I stick to them rather tightly. I want my research, my photographs, to show what is actually in a place, what the borders actually mean, instead of what would b. I stated earlier that I do not know enough about the neighborhoods I will be photographing to say what these borders will reveal. The most important part of the work to me is that I am investigating without bias instead of trying to preach some point.