Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Free Redistricting Tool Now for 12 States

The free congressional redistricting web application I launched a few weeks ago now supports 12 states. These are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington. Also, the app now has 2008 population estimates. You can find the app here. I will continue to add new states (and make minor fixes) over the next month or so, in order to include all states that may gain or lose congressional seats. After that...what do you think? A number of people thru comments and emails have made suggestions on where to go with this tool. I don't have a ton of time to spend on it, but I want to keep it moving in a useful direction. Some of the suggestions include:
  • Expand the number of districts so that the tool could be used for state legislatures; or better yet, support state legislative redistricting more fully by showing existing districts' shapes.
  • Make this an open source project that could perhaps become an Open Redistricting Project as written about by Heather K. Gerken. The idea here is to enable citizen activists or commissions to do "shadow redistricting" and thus pressure the powers that be into staying in line.
  • Have an option to color according to existing districts as a starting point.
  • Add political data for districts. This may be difficult to do for some states.

And a couple of my own ideas:

  • Figure out a way to get rid of the extra Windows app to make JPGs.
  • Port from C#/Silverlight to Java/Flash and add in Google Maps.

What do you think? Thanks a lot.