When we launched DistrictBuilder last September, we wanted to create the best experience for drawing district maps on the web. With block-level district editing and real-time feedback during district drawing, we wanted to give everyone the best tools to draw maps available. And to date, we’ve seen almost 14,000 maps created in DistrictBuilder by individuals who care about how the districts are drawn in their community.
But there is power in numbers, and redistricting only gets better when we come together as a group. When folks come together in a community and raise their voices about what’s important to them in redistricting, it becomes harder for those in power to ignore.
That’s why today we’re excited to announce the release of DistrictBuilder Organizations.
Introducing: Organization Pages
Organizations give groups of concerned citizens, nonprofits, or redistricting commissions the tools to create their own community on DistrictBuilder and engage the public in the redistricting process. A place to bring people together, highlight the group’s goals, and showcase maps that the community has created.
DistrictBuilder Organizations are arriving just in time for the updated Census data later this year. We’re excited to share these new features with you and demonstrate how DistrictBuilder Organizations can drive public engagement in the redistricting process.
Organization pages are the place where you create your community on DistrictBuilder. Each Organization page features customizable fields to personalize your page, including:
- Link to your website
- Description to tell users about your organization
These customizable options help you establish your organization’s presence on DistrictBuilder and create a common hub for your public mapping efforts.
Gather community maps
Users who visit your page can join your Organization to begin drawing maps with you. This enables your community to connect with your organization and participate in your public mapping process. All the maps drawn by your community are collected in one place to see your public engagement as it happens.
Draw districts anywhere with templates
With an Organization page, you can provide templates for your members to use as a starting point for their maps. Templates define a geographic location, chamber, and number of districts, so users can easily start mapping any region right from your page. Organization templates provide three advantages over the basic version of DistrictBuilder:
- Templates offer the ability to map custom regions with DistrictBuilder. While the basic version provides state-level redistricting, templates enable drawing any custom geography: counties, towns, or even international locales.
- Templates enable using custom data in maps your users draw. The basic version of DistrictBuilder provides select data from the US census, but templates can be configured with many more fields, whether demographic or political, that are unique to your location. Templates even enable drawing with non-census geographies.
- Templates can be blank or pre-populated with a district map. Set up a pre-populated template if you want users to focus on editing an existing map, rather than starting their map from scratch.
Publicly feature awesome maps
Each Organization page comes with its own section for Featured Maps. This is a section that lets you highlight maps your community has drawn to showcase particularly effective, important, or unique maps for the rest of your members. These maps are publicly available for anyone to view and let users explore the maps in detail to see how the author chose to draw the lines. Featured maps are selected by the Organization administrator, giving them control over how to best curate public submissions.
See Organization Pages in action
The Dane County Redistricting Commission (from Dane County, Wisconsin) is a partner of DistrictBuilder and is using DistrictBuilder Organizations to collect public map submissions for redistricting of their supervisory districts later this year. Their setup demonstrates the customizability options available when using DistrictBuilder Organizations:
- While we offer state-wide Wisconsin redistricting by default, here we set up a custom region specifically for Dane County where they will be mapping.
- Additionally, we set up Dane County wards to use as custom building blocks, instead of the default Census blockgroups.
Signing up for a DistrictBuilder Organization unlocks the ability to customize the mapping experience for your users.
The commission is striving for a redistricting process that engages the public, takes their submissions into consideration in the map-drawing process, and remains accountable and transparent throughout. DistrictBuilder Organizations provide them the opportunity to achieve all of these goals in their open redistricting process.
Sign up for your own Organization Page
DistrictBuilder gives your organization the resources needed to run a public redistricting effort and generate public engagement in an important democratic process. Contact us to ask about setting up your own Organization on DistrictBuilder. Together we can expand access to fair and transparent redistricting in every community.