I have a shapefile with 3800 polygons representing the smallest administrative areas in Ireland. Many of these, in rural areas, have tiny populations, under 100 people. In urban areas, all would have adequate populations.
For each area I have a population figure, and various other attributes, all of which can be intelligently summed to give valid results for areas produced by combining the smaller areas.
I need to merge the areas to get say, 500 or 600 areas of reasonable population. I need to leave the larger (in population) areas alone, where possible. I would greatly prefer to do this automatically. This is necessary for model fitting purposes, primarily.
I've looked at a number of the dissolve questions here. 'Batch Dissolve Polygons based on Attributes in QGIS or FWTools' I think would require me to know which areas to merge, when this is what I need to calculate. 'Practical way of managing polygons and unions of them' and 'How do dissolve polygons from shapefile using open source tools?' have the same issue.