Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adirondack Maps: Legislative Redistricting

It amazes me how cartographers continue to develop new ways to visualize spatial information. One example I thought might be of interest to Almanack readers is a website allowing the user to explore maps of New York’s new legislative redistricting, finalized in March 2012.

The website, hosted by the CUNY Center for Urban Research, gives users three ways to compare old and new legislative maps: side-by side, overlay or slider. My favorite was the overlay tool, but each has its advantage depending on what you want to get from the map comparison.
In the upper-right hand portion of the page you can find a button allowing you to toggle between the congressional, state senate and state assembly maps. Also, the “more data” tab in the lower-right allows you to overlay racial/ethnic or voting data. Clicking on the map gives you more information too. One thing I noticed while looking at the voting data is that the loss of liberal Saratoga Springs and the moderate-leaning area between Syracuse and Utica will make the new 21st congressional district even more homogeneously conservative than any of its predecessors.

I’d love to see this kind of functionality applied to Adirondack-specific data someday.

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Steve Signell is the owner of Frontier Spatial, L.L.C., an Adirondack-based company offering mapping and data services. He splits his time between Schenectady and Long Lake, where he punctuates his time at the computer with stints on the fiddle and banjo.

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