There is an inherent connection between geospatial technology and the study of redistricting. Over the past decade we have committed to leveraging our research and development time to measure the impacts of United States policy decisions on redistricting processes and elections.
Through spotlight studies we’ve visualized the results of our data analysis, covering topics like efficiency gap scores for every US state, detailed descriptions of gerrymandered districts, and a state-by-state breakdown of redistricting plans.
Our research extends from studies of the impact of redistricting and gerrymandering. We have also applied research and learning time to develop methods that help to tell the story of data analysis results.
In 2017, we developed an open source process for creating scalable infographics that was used to visualize efficiency gap calculation results, automatically creating one for each US state.
We also outlined four commonly cited metrics for calculating compactness of legislative districts, including the mathematical formula and equivalent PostGIS expression for each.
We’ve leveraged this expertise and research to engineer DistrictBuilder, an open source product that allows communities to create district plans using a mapping platform. The goal of DistrictBuilder is to make the redistricting process more open and transparent. The application encourages collaboration between agencies and the public.
Most recently, our team built an instance of DistrictBuilder for DrawTheLinesPA, a nonpartisan resource for Pennsylvanians who want to end gerrymandering and help democracy work better. DrawTheLinesPA aims to redraw Pennsylvania districts using the app through events, gamification, and public outreach.
As each round of Congressional redistricting took place, we set out to measure district compactness to assess how the results have affected the geometry and geography of legislative districts across the United States. We documented our findings in several white papers over the last 10 years.