Daves Redistricting 2.0 is now ready.
There are many changes from 1.0. It uses a Bing map, so you can see roads and aerial view, and pan and zoom normally. You can load and save files normally, too. You can save a view directly to a JPEG. And there are more features to help do the job of assigning districts to CDs.
I am very excited to be releasing this. You are the first to know! I hope you like it.
Fire it up and check the “How To” for a brief idea of what’s different. And the help file explains it all. You can load 1.0 files, too.
Please let me know of any bugs. I’m sure there are some in there. I’ve only tested on Windows, so Mac users, please let me know if it’s ok on the Mac.
Update: Here’s some more info and explanation of the big changes:
1) The background is a bing map instead of a canvas. The advantages are you can see the roads and you get pan/zoom in a way you are use to (using the pan and zoom controls or the hold-mouse-and-drag that are common to bing and google maps). The disadvantages are that rendering is slower necessitating showing only a subset of the voting districts at a time, and that hold-mouse-and-drag no longer colors (because it pans) so you have to double-click to change the mode to coloring and back. I’ve tried to mitigate the performance disadvantage by giving you control over showing those districts (All, None, Auto with control over Auto). Another disadvantage is that the colors are paler in order to show the roads thru. I plan to give you a little more control over that.
2) File Save/Load is improved. I hope you all find this to be a big win. I always disliked the necessity of saving your work in the obfuscated files.
3) Area views. Saving the 1.0 area maps in some XML that required another tool was a real hack. And I had really broken the look of those, too, with all of the crossing lines. All of that is gone and now you can save directly to JPEG. The only issue is that Bing does not allow its road map or aerial map backgrounds to be saved — proprietary. (I’m prevented from rendering the background into the bitmap that is translated into the JPEG.)
4) Labels: This may be harder to notice, but all of the labels (CDs, Counties, etc.) can be moved and resized. Hover over them to get the tool tip. Hold mouse and drag to move; Hold mouse and hit ‘s’ to make it smaller or ‘l’ to make it larger. You can even delete some of the labels.
5) The Cur CD check box is new. It lets you focus on the currently selected new CD, hiding all the others. If you switch CDs when this is checked, it will pan and zoom to the newly selected CD.
5) Find CD Parts is a new feature that helps find little pieces of a CD that you may have left behind when changing CDs around. It uses only the bounding rectangle, so it won’t catch non-contiguous pieces that are really close to the main CD or in especially snake-like situations, but it can help. I may try to implement a real contiguity check someday, but that is much harder.
6) There still is Auto Assign according to Old CDs. I’ve also added Auto Assign by quadrants — something I came up with. It does not balance the CDs, but starts you out with rectangular districts that you can then modify to balance properly. I’ve made a map for Texas using this and it’s reasonably compact. In the future, I hope to add additional algorithms that others have developed or will develop.
7) I didn’t include city shapes this time, because the road map helps you see where the cities are. However, the road map doesn’t show the actual boundaries, which can of course, be useful. I will look into adding those back. But remember that adding more shapes slows down Bing’s rendering, so I need to think about how to limit the city shapes to the ones that are really useful.
And keep sending feedback. I will try to make improvements over the next couple of months and then work on all the new data when it comes out, so the app is ready for really helping you and others next year.
From the feedback it seems you all are facing two major issues:
1) It’s too slow, even with the “only show some districts” mitigation. And that mitigation is a pain because you can’t see as much as you need.
2) The Bing pan control seems to go wild.
For (1) I am trying a change that looks promising and, I hope, will get the speed to be close to 1.0 speed. I thought about this all day (while doing other stuff), tried a couple of things. I need to work on it more and it will be at least a few days, possibly after T-day before I would have this ready. So stay tuned.
On (2), I was finally able to sort of duplicate the behavior. I can see that if I hold the mouse in the pan control and then quickly (really fast) move it out of the control, the map does speed away in that direction. My guess is that on the Mac at least, the pan control is not calibrated to the mouse as well and is too sensitive, so you all hardly have to move the mouse to get the map winging away. Since I don’t do anything for that control (the Bing object does) I don’t have a good solution, other than using the drag on the map method of panning.