Azavea Atlas

Maps, geography and the web

Free Cicero API credits for Apps for Philly 2015!

In honor of Apps for Philly Democracy 2015, Cicero is granting twice the free API credits to all who sign freeup this weekend. Apps for Philly is a weekend-long hackathon that brings Philadelphians together to discuss how technology can improve democracy in our city, an awesome event for which Azavea is a flagship sponsor. Cool, right?

As a proud supporter of this event, we want to encourage everyone to test out Cicero’s API with 2,000 free credits! The API matches addresses to legislative districts, both in the US and abroad. It also returns comprehensive elected official information, including district offices and social media identifiers: just the tools you need to engage in democracy your way. cicero

To sign up, simply visit our free trial page. You will instantly get 1,000 credits, which is good for 90 days. As a tribute to Apps for Philly, we’ll add 1,000 more. Happy geocoding!

Five Easy Steps to Add Districts to Your Salesforce Nonprofit Account

We’re excited to announce an integration that allows users of the Salesforce Nonprofit Starter Pack to verify addresses and append legislative district information to their Salesforce records. The Nonprofit Starter Pack uses the Cicero API to geocode household addresses, and parses the response to extract the district and attach it to the address record. Cicero will also update the record with the CASS-certified address using our geocoding services. CASS-certified addresses have a much better automation postage rate and helps mail carriers deliver more accurately.

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As of right now, the integration will only append Congressional district information. But with a little tweaking of the code, it could easily be configured to append other district information from Cicero — like state legislative district, school district or census identifiers.

The Cicero API will verify the address and append Congressional district information to the address record. It’s important to note the address record is associated with the household in Salesforce.

Setting up Cicero in Salesforce

Once you have the Nonprofit Starter Pack installed, integrating the Cicero API is quite simple.

  1. First, you’ll want to make sure you have a Cicero API account, which you can sign up for here. You’ll need the unique API key from your account.
  2. To start using the Cicero API, navigate to the Nonprofit Starter Pack Settings page.
  3. On the left side menu, under People, click the Addresses option. This will take you to the Address Settings page.
  4. Click the Edit button. For Verification Service, choose Cicero. This will populate the Address Verification URL with the legislative_district Cicero endpoint ( Choose whether to enable automatic address verification for new addresses.
  5. Authentication ID can be left blank, but you’ll fill in the Authentication Token box with your unique Cicero API key. Your API key can be found on the Cicero Profile page.


You can then choose to update all of your households at once. As soon as Address Verification is activated, Salesforce will update new records with Cicero information whenever they’re added.

Boom! Now you’ve got a Congressional district for every verifiable address record in Salesforce.

address_detailOf course, the Cicero API free trial will give you 1,000 credits to use just for signing up. This will essentially allow you to verify and append district information for 1,000 addresses (applicable to legislative district information only). If you’re a TechSoup member, that’s 5,000 Cicero API credits. For additional addresses, you can easily purchase a bucket of credits by logging in to your Cicero account. We also offer discounted high-volume pricing for more than 100,000 credits and always offer a 10% discount to nonprofits. Questions? Email or tweet us and we’ll be happy to help you get started.

The United States of Social Media Part II: This Time It’s Partisan

A few months ago, I researched how many state legislators had social media accounts and which social media platforms they were most likely to use.

That post focused on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and found that 46% of all state legislators have an account on at least one of these platforms, with Facebook being the most used of the three. As a follow-up, I decided to look at whether one of the two major parties was more likely to have social media accounts than the other.

My first assumption was that Democrats, being more popular with younger voters, would be more likely to have social media accounts. As I entered more social media data into the Cicero API database, I discovered that Republicans more than held their own on this front. After we entered more data into Cicero I started to believe that Republicans might actually have more social media accounts than Democrats. I readjusted my expectations, but this was all assumption. It made me curious enough, though, to further explore the data and see if either of my hunches might be correct.

As it turns out, the data indicate that in both the upper and lower chambers of state legislatures, Republicans and Democrats hold almost identical patterns in their social media account membership.

Overall, nearly half of all Republicans and Democrats (48% and 47% respectively) have an account with one of the three major social media players that I was studying.

All Social Media Upper Chambers

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In the upper chambers, 51% of Republicans and 52% of Democrats have at least one account. Nearly 3 in 10 in each party (27% of Republicans and 28% of Democrats) use only one platform. That drops to 2 in 10 (21% of Republicans and 20% of Democrats) when it comes to using two platforms. Only a small number of legislators use all three platforms: 3% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats.

All Social Media Lower Chambers

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In the lower chambers, the similarities continue. Forty-seven percent of Republicans and 45% of Democrats have at least one social media account. Again, nearly 3 in 10 in both parties (28% of Republicans and 30% of Democrats) have an account with only one platform. That drops to 16% of Republicans and 13% of Democrats using two platforms. Again, only a small number of legislators use all three platforms: 3% of Republicans and 2% of Democrats.

Upper Chambers with Facebook

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The parties show similar account ownership when it comes to each platform as well. In the upper chambers, 44% of Republicans and 45% of Democrats have Facebook accounts.

Upper Chambers with Facebook

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While in the lower chambers, 41% of Republicans and 40% of Democrats have Facebook accounts.

Upper Chambers with Twitter

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The Twitter data tells a similar story: 30% of Republicans and 29% of Democrats in the upper chambers have Twitter accounts.

Lower Chambers with Twitter

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While in the lower chambers, 20% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats have Twitter accounts.

Upper Chambers with YouTube

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Only 5% percent of Republicans and Democrats in their states’ upper chambers have YouTube accounts.

Lower Chambers with YouTube

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In the lower chambers, 7% of Republicans and 3% of of Democrats have YouTube accounts.

The data hammer the same point home: both parties are using social media in almost the exact same fashion. It doesn’t matter if I look at the upper or the lower chambers, or if I tease the data out to specific social media platforms. In just about every circumstance, the results are mind numbingly similar.

We are continuing to add more social media data into the Cicero API Database, and will start tracking sites like Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. My gut tells me that LinkedIn will take over YouTube as the third most used social media account in our data, but then again, I’ve been wrong before.

Districts of Westeros Now Available in Cicero!


Image source: uploaded by author to

The Cicero team is pleased to announce that we’ve added the highly contested and volatile political districts of Westeros. The Cicero API assembles legislative districts and elected official information for six countries and now the Lands of Ice and Fire! You can now send Westerosi addresses to the Cicero API to find detailed information (including lineage and sigil) of each king and lord ruling in any of the seven kingdoms. We also have added historical reigns dating back to Aegon the Conqueror.

We welcome you to send addresses to the Cicero API for example “8600 N. Kings Road, Winterfell of Wolfswood” or “53 Eel Alley, Flea Bottom, Kings Landing” which will return their respective Kings.

We hope you will bear with us as we do our best to keep up with the ever contentious and constantly changing rulers.  Though wildling territories are technically not considered part of seven kingdoms, we are currently monitoring the movements of Mance Rayder as we believe he has the potential to extend his rule south of the wall, into Brandon’s Gift.

Because we pledge to maintain accuracy in our data, we plan only to update the Cicero database based on an official King’s decree and never based on the Spider’s whispers.  We’ve also begun adding the districts for Essos including the Dothraki Sea and their many khalasars though we have found this challenging due to the constant migration of the Dothraki horse lords.

Please stay tuned for the planned upcoming addition of the Shire, Rohan and Mordor.

Click the search link below to access the Districts of Westeros in Cicero.

Try out the Westeros Districts in Cicero!


Azavea Shares Data for Google Maps Gallery

Making data about our elected officials and their districts more accessible has been a prominent part the mission of our Cicero API product. We believe it’s important this data is available to the masses. That’s why we’re excited to be part of the launch of the new Google Maps Gallery, an easy way to view some of the most interesting and data rich maps on the internet. The Google Maps Gallery already has hundreds of maps from many different data providers, such as the United States Geological Survey, the World Bank Group, NASA and even our hometown favorite PolicyMap. Eventually, these maps will appear in Google search results which will make it even easier to discover this important content. Right now, they can easily be embedded on a website or visualized in Google Earth.

As part of Google Maps’ Public Data Program for the launch of the Map Gallery, Azavea was invited to share some of the data we’ve collected and generated for our Cicero API database. To take a look at all the maps Azavea has produced for the Google Maps Gallery, check out our publisher page.

In the past couple years, we’ve made an aggressive effort to collect as much social media information about elected officials as possible. So one of the datasets you can view today on the Google Maps Gallery is a map of all current U.S. House members and their twitter account.

In addition, we’ve collected political data for other countries. Check out our recently added congressional districts for Mexico.

Ultimately, the Google Maps Gallery is just one place for Azavea to share data and research with the community at large. You can also find it on our GitHub, through CartoDB and ArcGIS Online. For a full list, head over to the Azavea Commons.