New Models, Algorithms, And Applications For Territory Design

  • contact:

    Alex Butsch, Jörg Kalcsics

  • funding:

    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

Objective target

Territory Design is the problem of grouping small geographic areas (so called basic areas) into a fixed number of larger clusters (so called districts or territories), in a way that the latter are acceptable according to relevant planning criteria, like balance, compactness and contiguity. Balance describes the desire for territories to be somehow equal with respect to one or more activity measures. Figuratively a territory is said to be compact if it is nearly round-shaped and undistorted. Typical applications of Territory Design are political districting and sales territory design.

Numerous different solution approaches for territory design problems have appeared in the literature. However, despite this large number of papers, the underlying model is always, more or less, the same. Other practically important extension and modification, like multi-level or time dynamic territory design, problems with unequally sized or overlapping territories or just a partial covering of the basic areas, are completely missing in the literature. Furthermore, the models are not dealing with interdisciplinary influences, such as for example party-political considerations in the topic of political districting.

In this project, which is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), we will address the following research goals: 

  1. We want to develop enhancements of the classical model and suitable solution algorithms in order to make it applicable to a broader range of practical problems. This concerns both the classical territory design problems and problems in the topic of supply chain management.
  2. We want to investigate the adaptability of territory design models and algorithms to other OR related as well as interdisciplinary fields of research.
  3. We want to collect the developed solution frameworks and algorithms to compose an open-source library.
  4. We want to provide interfaces that allow the integration of the library into common Geographical Information Systems.


See for further Information.