Thanks to all of you who filled out the survey. Highlights below the fold.
But first, I uploaded a new version a couple of nights ago. The changes are:
— the New Way to color is the default (Old Way still there) and the annoying dialog box to choose is gone.
— Loading a 1.0 file that used special data is fixed. (If it’s TX you have to choose special or not; for NY and CA the app can figure it out.)
County lines are a little thicker Correction: coming soon.
— Biggest change: Better Population Estimates if you use Block Groups (for some states: all states coming soon)
— Also Block Groups are now there for all New England States, which give you much finer grain control (as many requested).
On population estimates:
Astute observers have noticed that I’ve used County-Level population estimates (2008). Until recently, this was all that was available from the Census Bureau. This meant that any change in a county’s population had to be distributed among the voting districts or block groups. The app does this by assuming that every voting district/block group changed at the exact same rate. This is of course not the case and in counties where there has been significant growth the numbers can be off by a lot.
Recently the Census Bureau released 5-year American Community Survey data at the block group level. I’ve enabled the app to use this data, so if you choose Block Group instead of Voting Districts, and select Use New Pop Est, if the ACS data is on the server, the app will use it. That data is currently available for AZ,CA,FL,GA,MI,NJ,NY,OH,PA,TX and WA.
So, if you want to make more accurate maps, use Block Groups. Of course, there is no partisan data for Block Groups. There’s nothing at this time I can do about that.
Some quick highlights of the survey:
— 80% use Version 2.0 most
— Main like of Version 2.0 is seeing streets (50%); to a lessor degree save/open (30%), JPEGs (30%), Renumber (33%)
— Main dislikes of Version 2.0 ways to pan/zoom/color (each 30%), lose work (12%), move/resize labels (12%)
— To Color districts, 50% like New Way better, 30% Old Way, 20% never used New Way
— Mac Users (16%), Win7 (34%), Vista (24%), XP (26%)
— On the Rate features easy/hard/never used, the majority rated almost everything Very Easy or Easy. Exceptions (majority either neutral, hard or not used):
– Renumber CD, Recalc CD labels, Area Views, Save As JPEG, Auto Assign Districts, Find CD Parts
(1) By Far: more election data.
(2): non-election data, faster.
(3): Allow LDs and CDs together, measure compactness, demographics for DragBox.
(4): output summary, shared maps, more Auto Assign strategies.
(5): Hide vote district boundaries, Help walkthroughs.
Other things that I’ve had requests for (either in the survey or email) include: the 1 CD states; ability to redistrict single counties; bring back city boundaries….
I’m going to look at the results more and I’ll do my best with all of these features.
I’m still working on trying to get funding to keep working on this. If you have any leads to non-profits who would support this, please let me know. And I’ll keep you posted on that front.