Hello, me and a friend decided that 5:19 am was a good time to talk FIRST. I genuinely don’t remember how this started, but basically we were talking about districts and decided to divide up all 50 U.S States into very simple districts. I decided to post this here because i wanted to know what some of you guys would change up about the districts, from names to areas anything is welcome! Also for the people who wanted to know what we came up with here it is!
Do the Carolina’s have enough teams? If not, then perhaps Kentucky & Tennessee could be joined with them, and be the “Great Smoky Region”.
Then move Arkansas into “Midwest”, rename it the “Tornado Alley”, and rename the remainder of “The South” to “Gulf Coast Region”.
Move Colorado and Utah in with AZ and NM to be “Four Corners”
Move Nevada into California and be “Sierra Region”.
Move the remainder of “Rocky Mountain” into PNW and call it “Columbia River”
NIce stuff! Good to think thought the theory to spark conversation - the ideas generated might help, one day, influence reality.
One potential hitch from my biased view of my little corner of the world:
The St. Louis regional is a popular option for folks throughout the Great Lakes area, but is in the Midwest Regional. This might be OK, depending on what gets combined for Indiana.
While I doubt it was in scope, a really cool next-step study might be to look at all FRC teams and their home zip code, and where they went to competitions in the past ~5 years. As long as borders can be arbitrarily shaped, I bet there’s an academic optimization algorithm which maximizes “clustering” of teams around events, with some skew toward how far, generally, teams are willing to travel. Secondarily, minimized cases where the team next door is in a different district.
Well, since North Carolina is already a district on it’s own, the answer would be “yes”. We have 76 teams currently and have been adding new teams every year at a rate of four or five per year (though we lost some older teams too, especially during the pandemic.) Of course, South Carolina just joined the Peachtree District (Georgia) so they might have something to say about switching, especially since one of the offers on the table was that they join FIRST NC to form…wait for it…a Carolinas district. They went with Peachtree instead. Still, a Carolinas district would have 113 teams based on current numbers, so a decent sized district to be sure.
All that said, I get that teams in non-district areas would sometimes like to be in the district system rather than in regionals, with more regular season events for your money plus the possibility of a DCMP before Worlds. But the logistics of some of the large districts the OP proposed would be pretty difficult. Great idea though, and some of the proposals make sense (like California, either as one or two districts, for instance.)
Seriously, though, you do live in the single largest district by a long shot. Even FiT is much smaller (247 teams) and most districts are somewhere more in our range, though we are on the smaller side as a district. There’s a reason we can have a unified DCMP with no divisions. Still, I expect we’ll top over the 100 team number in a few years, given our growth curve. I recently did this map of FIRST NC teams by county (inspired by the county map of FiM, actually) and you can see that we’re still mostly concentrated around the major urban centers (the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle, Charlotte, Asheville, and Wilmington) with a lot of room for new teams to be established, both school-based and community.
This does allow for lower budget teams to exist since there isn’t the cost of hotels and travel expenses like most other areas. For example after winning the state championship in 2022 and qualifying for worlds we didn’t really have the funds to travel to Houston for worlds and with the quick turnaround last year there wasn’t time to try and raise funds. There were other issues that compounded the reason not to attend but I’m not going to address those here.
It’s understandable to not know this since the name is very Texas, but New Mexico teams compete in the FiT district currently. Amarillo is the closest district event to them currently; I hope to see a district event in NM some day soon.
I doubt my team having joined PCH and telling everyone how wonderful they were had that much of an effect, but when I was asked to join the SC mentor advisory council I only ever heard discussions about SC joining PCH and the conversations started at the FIRST Championship the year prior.
I assume you mean NOT state-line boundaries so K-Means is an easy place for OPs to start experimenting if they know the team locations. Parameters include number of regions required. There are many other clustering techniques such as minimum entropy.
Or OPs could ask each team how far it is willing to travel and crank the answers through something like simulated annealing to get a map that works for most.
All this math probably will just verify the intuitions displayed in all the other responses herein.
fun fact, i actually said that i wanted to make a tornado alley. it was gonna be North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. My friend convinced me that there might not be enough teams considering on frc map considering that SD has a single team and Nebraska quite literally has no teams. and that alot of Kansas teams would be on the Missouri side of the border, putting them into the Midwest category. The Four Corners, Sierra Region, are SUCH GOOD IDEAS, However putting the rest of RMR into the PNW would be a cool idea but the name would be funky because the Columbia River doesn’t go outside of Washington (in Washington it turns into the Spokane River, and then the Harrison Slough in Idaho. Overall great ideas! Thank you!