User Guide

Getting Started with Districts

  • On the Districtr homepage, click “Jump to the Map” in the top right corner.
  • You will be redirected to an interactive map of the United States. Click the state for which you wish to make a districting plan. All states are available, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
  • Once you have selected a state, you will be directed to its landing page. The landing page contains all mapping options along with background information. Districting options are in purple, which is the default setting.
  • Choose a locality (state, region, county, or city) and district type by clicking on a purple card. The available localities and districts vary by state. (Additional localities can be added upon request.)
  • You will now be redirected to your selected districting page.

Main Tools

    Moving across the map

    • Select the hand icon in the top right corner of the page. Then click and drag to pan across the map.
    • To zoom in and out, use the plus and minus buttons in the top left corner of the map. You can also use a mouse scroll wheel or trackpad.

    Drawing the districts

    • To draw your first district, select the paintbrush icon in the top right corner of the page. Click and drag on the map to add units to your district.
    • To draw another district, select a new color from the color bar directly below the paintbrush icon. Each color corresponds to a different district. For pages with large numbers of districts, only one color will show when you start. For these, use the “+” button to add the remaining district colors.
    • To change the size of the brush, drag the brush size slider directly below the color bar or use the up/down arrows to the right of the slider.
    • To paint whole counties, toggle the “Paint counties” box below the slider.
    • To inspect districts without altering them, or to avoid painting over already-drawn areas, toggle the “Lock already-drawn districts” box.
    • To correct the boundaries of your districts, click the erase icon in the top right corner of the page. Click and drag to remove units from that district. The size of the eraser can be adjusted by dragging the slider or using the arrows to its right.
    • Alternately, click the “undo/redo” buttons to revert the boundaries of your district plan to a previous version. You can undo/redo as far back as your most recent use of the paint tool.

    Examining the districts

    • To see detailed population or election information for a particular unit or group of units, select the magnifying glass in the top right corner.
    • Click the Tooltip Data dropdown menu to change the type of information shown. The options available vary by page. Then mouse over a particular unit to see the corresponding information for that unit.
    • To examine multiple units, drag the slider directly below the Tooltip Data menu or use the arrows to the right of the slider.

Tabs

    Population

    • The population tab allows you to view the population of each drawn district. To balance your population evenly between districts, make reference to the ideal population count and vertical bar provided in this tab.
    • To see which units you still need to color, click the “Highlight unassigned units” box at the bottom of the tab..

    Data Layers

    • The Data Layers tab allows you to display districts, boundaries, demographic, and electoral data, as available.
    • Districts

      • To hide the districts from the map, toggle the “Show districts” box at the top of the tab.
      • To see county boundaries overlaid on your map, toggle the “Show County Boundaries” box.
      • To see the boundaries and names of Nations and Tribes, toggle the “Show Nations and Tribes” box.Names of this field vary slightly by local naming conventions.

    Demographics

      Coalition Builder

      • Using the Coalition Builder tool, you can combine multiple demographic groups of your choosing into a shared “Coalition population.” Check off the name of each demographic group you want to add to your Coalition, and click again to uncheck and remove a group. Below the selection buttons, you can view the total population of the Coalition as well its percent composition of the jurisdiction as a whole.
      • Under the “Show population” and “Show voting age population” tabs, select the Coalition population from the dropdown menu to display this layer on the map.

      Race

      • Toggle the “Show population box” and select the desired variable from the dropdown menu to view percent variable by unit. Using the dropdown menu for Display, choose to display the data as sized circles or shaded regions.

      Socioeconomic data

      • Several states and other areas feature socioeconomic data from the American Community Survey (ACS). Available features include but are not limited to: homeownership, household income, and broadband access. (Note: ACS data can be added to additional localities upon request.)

      Previous elections

      • Toggle the “Show partisan lean” box and select the desired set of election results from the dropdown menu to view partisan lean by unit. Using the dropdown menu for Display, choose to display the data as sized circles or shaded regions. Please note that this option is only available when building your districts out of precincts.

    Evaluation

    • The evaluation tab allows you to see the racial, voting age population, and partisan balance of the district plan you’re making. Some districting pages have additional data for evaluation, such as household income and age.
    • Population by Race

      • You can compare the percentage of the population by race for districts, relative to one another and relative to the overall composition of the area. Use the drop-down menus to compare different races.

      • Voting Age Population (or VAP) is the group of people who are 18 years or older. As in the previous section, you can compare the percentage of the voting age population by race for districts, relative to one another and relative to the overall composition of the area. Use the drop-down menus to compare different races.

      • You can compare the percentage of votes received by the republican and the democratic candidate for a variety of elections, by your districts and relative to the overall partisan lean. In places where we show candidates by other parties or variation within parties, candidate names and/or parties are listed. Note: because we only show two-party vote shares, the overall percentage may differ slightly from official percentages, which include third party candidates

      • In some areas, there are options to evaluate the age and household income distribution of the population in each district. Some areas also have the ability to check the contiguity of the districts you have drawn.

Sharing your Map

  • Clicking the “Share” button saves the map you created and uploads it to the Districtr database. You do not need to create an account, and only the information in your map is shared.
  • As long as you are in the same browser session, you can update this original map, leaving the link unchanged. To save changes made to the map, click on the “Update” button (in the same location as the “Share” button once you have shared). You will know when your map is up to date when the button says “Saved.” You can keep repeating this process to edit and re-save your map as long as you are in the same browser session.
  • Anyone who has the link, including you, can open up the map in their browser and make additional changes to it. These changes can be saved to a new link by clicking “Share” again. When the button says “Saved,” this means all changes are saved to the new link.
  • Whenever you need a copy of the link, click on the “Saved” button.
  • To download your map, choose from the options in the drop-down menu in the upper right corner. For more detail on these, refer to the Import/Export Options page.
  • Event Codes

    • MGGG can help you with map collection by setting up an event code for your organization.
    • Once you have an event code, you can tag maps with it. When you click “Share,” “Update,” or “Saved,” enter the event code and click “Tag your map.”
    • All maps tagged with an event code will be viewable in a dashboard available to the event organizers.
    • Event codes can be used to compile and compare a large quantity of maps for a region. Map collections made through events can in turn be used to influence official map-drawing, for community organizing, for educational purposes, and more.