User Guide

The District Builder software is designed to be a simplified redistricting tool that can be used by a novice to redistricting and geographic information systems. It has design elements that will be familiar to people who commonly use on-line mapping programs that show addresses or route directions. However, redistricting is more complicated than mapping an address. This user guide describes how to use the features of our program to successfully draw a legal redistricting plan that conforms with the federal criteria of having equal population districts and adhering to the Voting Rights Act, and conforms with various additional state requirements.

We are developing additional in-program help to be included in future versions of the software.

To start, most users will point their web browser to a website running the software, create an account, and then start mapping. A website administrator will have prepared the software and data behind the scenes so that users can jump right in and start mapping. This software user guide is for those users. We have additional documentation if you wish to be a website administrator and install your own version of software for yourself and others to use.

We've tried to make the program as simple as possible to use. A number of ordinary people have already been successful at drawing legal redistricting plans, and we hope that you will be too.

District Builder is in active software development. Currently, we have released two software versions, version 1.1 and version 1.2. The two versions share many of the same functionality. The major difference between the two is that in version 1.2, we added new community mapping and report features and simplified the map editing user interface.

You can determine which version you are using by logging into the software and looking at the tabs at the top of the web page.

Version 1.1

In version 1.1, once logged in, the top of the web page looks like this:

Browse: User Guide for Version 1.1

Version 1.2

In version 1.2, once logged in, the top of the web page looks like this: