Public Mapping Project
The drawing of electoral districts is among the least transparent
processes in democratic governance. All too often, redistricting
authorities maintain their power by obstructing public participation.
The resulting districts embody the goals of politicians to the
detriment of the representational interests of communities and the
public at large.
We seek to change this power balance by making it
possible for the public to draw the boundaries of their communities and
to generate redistricting plans for their state and localities --
through their web-browsers. The Public Mapping Project is developing District Builder, an open
source software redistricting application designed to give the public transparent,
accessible, and easy-to-use on-line mapping tools.
This technological innovation will enable greater
public participation where redistricting authorities solicit public
input. Where redistricting authorities are not responsive to the
representational needs of the public, plans drawn by the public may be
used as a yardstick by which to compare a redistricting authority’s
plan against. And where the courts must step in when the regular
redistricting process breaks down, judges will have a greater menu of
options to consider.
Full Public Access to Version 1.1
All members of the public are invited to try out the newly released version 1.1 of the District Builder software. We recommend that you visit web sites of organizations and governments who are providing public access to our software. We hope to announce other
partnerships in the future.
The software can be used for any state or locality. We are working on incorporating other states' data into the software and list the currently available states. At this time, we are not providing web hosting for these other states other than for educational purposes, courtesy of Amazon in Education. These pre-configured versions of the software can be hosted through your own Amazon Web Services account. Those interested should follow these instructions.
Subscribe to Our Developers e-Mail List
Keep up-to-date with the latest Public Mapping software development news and connect with other mappers by subscribing to our developers e-mail list. Those wishing to keep up with our latest news, please read our news feed.
Get Informed About Redistricting
Redistricting News Feed
With help from the Brookings Institution, we provide links to redistricting news stories around the country.
A Citizens Guide to Redistricting
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law's comprehensive Citizen's Guide to Redistricting explains the various processes and criteria that govern redistricting across the fifty states.
The Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act is an important federal redistricting requirement that ensures our representatives reflect America's racial and ethnic diversity. It enjoys overwhelming bipartisan congressional support. The U.S. Department of Justice and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund's Redrawing the Lines are excellent sources of information about the Voting Rights Act.
Gerrymandering: A Documentary Film
The Gerrymandering documentary film lays out the pathologies of partisan gerrymandering whereby districts are drawn to favor politicians, not the public. A DVD has been released. See the Gerrymandering film website for more information.
The Redistricting Game
The University of Southern California's Game Innovation Lab has created this fun and informative redistricting simulation which teaches how redistricting works.
Americans for Redistricting Reform
Americans for Redistricting Reform is tracking redistricting related developments across the United States.
Learn More About Our Vision
Drs. Altman and McDonald describe where this project fits in the history of redistricting technology in this Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy article. Also read a Washington Post opinion editorial calling for greater transparency and public participation in redistricting, based on principles articulated by the Public Mapping Project advisory board. Dr. McDonald has presented these ideas to the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Oregon State Legislature.
All About Redistricting
Americans for Redistricting Reform
Gerrymandering Movie Blog
The Rose Institute
Stateline's Redistricting 2011
Washington Post's Mapping the Future
Organizations Using Our Software
New York Redistricting Competition Opens
To foster awareness of the new opportunities available to become involved in the redistricting process, the Center for Electoral Politics at Fordham University and the Public Mapping Project have launched the “2012 New York Redistricting Project.” The initiative is generously funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. See http://redistrictny.org
Minnesota Supreme Court to Consider Public Plans
The Minnesota Supreme Court has issued an order that they will consider redistricting plans generated by the Public Mapping software, which is being used in the Minnesota redistricting competition.
Minnesota Launches Redistricting Competition
Draw Our Minnesota is an effort to improve the redistricting process in
Minnesota by ensuring that the process is fair, transparent and that
there is meaningful citizen input. Past redistricting attempts in
Minnesota have been driven by partisan influences and lacked active
citizen participation in the process.
Florida and Georgia AMIs Now Available
Amazon Machine Instances pre-loaded with Florida and Georgia data are now available through Amazon Web Services. Follow these instructions to run your own site and to see a list of all currently available AMIs.
Philly Redistricting Competition Begins
Our software developer partner, Azavea, has launched a redistricting
competition for Philadelphia's City Council districts. Competition
partners include Newsworks, University of Pennsylvania Project for Civic
Engagement, Philadelphia Daily News, and Philly.com.
Ohio Redistricting Competition Begins
The Ohio Redistricting Competition is now underway. State legislative
plans are to be submitted for judging by August 21 and congressional
plans are to be submitted by September 11. For more information, visit
the Ohio Redistricting Competition.
Public Mapping on C-SPAN
Dr. McDonald will discuss the Public Mapping Project at a Brookings Institution forum at 10am on Monday, July 18th. C-SPAN coverage of the forum is on-line.
Sloan Foundation Supports New York Public Mapping
The Sloan Foundation has awarded the Public Mapping Project a grant of
$380K to provide full public access to a New York version of District
Builder. Also funded are five redistricting forums to be organized by Fordham University, further software development, and integrated user help.
District Builder Version 1.1 Released
The most significant development in this new release is a statistics
chooser, which allows the display of more district-level statistics and
the ability of users to create custom side-bar displays of their
favorite statistics. We are currently developing community mapping features and district
completion features, which we hope to release in the near future.
Public Mapping in USA Today
A USA Today story follows the Virginia Redistricting Competition
and the role of the Public Mapping Project. The awards ceremony for the
competition will be held on Tuesday, March 22 at 2pm at the Virginia
State Library. The event is open to the public.
Amazon Web Services Provides $50K to Support Public Mapping for Education.
Amazon Web Services has provided the Public Mapping Project $50K in web hosting support for educational purposes. Read more...
Midwest Democracy Network Partnership
As part of their multi-state Midwest Campaign for Accountable Redistricting,
the 25 civic engagement and community organizations that make up the Midwest
Democracy Network will partner with the Public Mapping Project. Read more...
More Public Mapping Project News...