Getting Started in DRA 2020

Dave Bradlee
DRA 2020
Published in
4 min readMay 8, 2020


In 2021 every state will do redistricting. We believe in fairness and transparency in redistricting, and toward that goal we offer DRA 2020, a web application that lets you create, view and analyze congressional and legislative district maps. This article will help you get started.

Sign Up

First, you need to sign up with your email and a password. By default your email name (without the host) will be your username, but you can change that later if you want. Your email will not be visible to others, but your username will be if you publish any maps.

After you sign up, you’ll be logged in automatically. The Navigation control (upper left corner) is where you can change your profile, navigate, and log out.

My Maps

Whenever you log in, you’ll be brought to My Maps. (If you are on the Home Page, click Maps to take you there.) If you’ve just signed up, this will naturally be empty, but click on My Maps and you can navigate to Published, a list of maps others have published, or Official, a list of current congressional and legislative district maps for every state. Select one of those maps and click View to see it.

Home Page

Click the logo to navigate to the Home Page. You can click a state on the map or use Pick a State to get to a state page. The state page shows the official congressional map (except for states with only 1 district) and legislative map(s). Click on one to view that map. There are also links to additional information about redistricting in that state. Every state has a different process. The Home Page also has links to articles like this one.

Create A Map

There are two ways to create your own map: start from an existing map or create a new blank map.

To start from an existing map, for example from Official, select a map (using the checkbox), and then click the Duplicate icon. This create a copy of that map and takes you to My Maps, where the copy should be on the top of the list, ready for you to edit. If you are already viewing an official map, or other map in view-only mode, you can duplicate it form there as well.

To create a new blank map, click New Map, which brings up Map Settings.

When you pick a state, we’ll default the district count to the state’s current number of congressional seats and set the target population for each seat. Change them as you wish.

Shapes are the building blocks you’ll use to build your district map. For new maps, only the 2010 precincts, released with the 2010 Census, are available. Next year, 2020 precincts will be available, too.

Once you pick a state, you’ll see the Data Selector open below Map Settings.

Your map’s Primary Datasets are used to set the target district population, to show you views of demographics or election results, and for analysis. We provide defaults, which you are welcome to change, now or anytime.

Display or Hide Datasets lets you choose additional datasets to show in the Details panels available when viewing your map.

When you’re ready, click Apply to create your blank map.

Paint Map

If this is your first map, you should see the Map UI Tour. (You can always get back to the tour from Help.) The left and right panels allow you to view dataset details, control the district you’re painting, and select various options. The left side of the top bar controls when and what to paint; the right side has tools to analyze and help you complete your map.

Your map is automatically saved in the cloud and ready for you when you come back. For a deeper dive into creating maps see Building Your District Map. We hope you find our app useful and effective in getting prepared for the next round of redistricting in 2021.

We hope to hear from you at




Dave Bradlee
DRA 2020

Software Engineer. Creator of Dave’s Redistricting App (2010) and co-author of DRA 2020.