Monday, March 1, 2021

Map resource for redistricting in 2021

 Every 10  years state political district maps are re drawn, based on the new Census information. Across the country Democratic and Republican party leaders try to "gerrymander" the maps to favor one party or another.

This platform provides maps for every state, showing maps favoring one party or the other, plus an recommended "fair map". 

Use the search bar under the map to find your state, then to see the three versions of the map. Which will your state choose? 

Friday, February 12, 2021

TIF Districts in Chicago

 I use this blog to show ways GIS maps can be used to share information and to provide resources that people can use to tell stories showing where people need help.  Below is a screen shot from Chicago's Interactive TIF Data Map.

The website shows that "Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a special funding tool used by the City of Chicago to promote public and private investment across the city. Funds are used to build and repair roads and infrastructure, clean polluted land and put vacant properties back to productive use, usually in conjunction with private development projects."

The red and yellow dots on the map show infrastructure projects (yellow) and redevelopment projects (red).  You can turn on or off layers showing community area boundaries, planning regions and wards. You can click on any of the red or yellow dots to find information about that project.   You can zoom into the map down to the neighborhood level.  

Note: one of the most vocal critics of the TIF program is Tom Tresser, who I met via the Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences in the 1990s.  Here's a site where you can learn about Tom's concerns.   Frankly, I'd love to see a TIF map where there was a third set of dots, representing non-school youth tutor, mentor and learning programs funded with TIF dollars.  That would support the campaign I've led through the Tutor/Mentor Connection (1993-present) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (2011-present)  for the past 28 years.

At the left is a screen shot of the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator which my organization built in 2008 to share information about Chicago youth tutor, mentor and learning programs.  The site has not been updated since 2011 but remains a model for what needs to be created to help mentor-rich youth programs grow and thrive in every high poverty area of the city.

The TIF map is an example of the type of platform that could be developed in a new version of the Program Locator.  Something like this could be developed in any city of the world and shared via open source to every other city.  If you recognize the need for this in your city, or want to  help rebuild the Program Locator, and Tutor/Mentor Connection 4-part strategy, for Chicago, please reach out to me.

You can connect with me on any of these social media platforms

Monday, February 8, 2021

Census Map Shows Home Town of Superbowl Players

 I've pointed to the US Census Bureau in past articles to show how their maps can be used to create map-stories. I was reminded of this capacity when a friend emailed me this map showing home towns of players in the 2021 Super Bowl.

You can find this map here

Are you using the Census Bureau platform to create map stories that draw attention to the needs of youth and families in high poverty areas of the USA?  Share links to your stories in the comments.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Exploring Neighborhood Change. Exploring Big Oil to Big Energy

Below I'm sharing two mapping platforms that I've discovered recently.  They both are interactive, meaning you can add or subtract layers, zoom into neighborhoods, and find useful information.

In both of these the description I'm providing comes directly from the website.

"The National Trust for Historic Preservation developed the Exploring Neighborhood Change mapping series for 10 cities as a part of an initiative of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. The mapping series is designed to complement a written report entitled Preserving African American Places: Growing Preservation’s Potential as a Path for Equity, which explores the historical and present day context of African American neighborhoods to develop effective preservation-based strategies that promote justice, inclusion, and equity in our movement today."

The view I'm showing is Chicago. Visit this page to choose from nine other cities. I've added a layer showing colleges and universities. You can turn on or off different types of demographic information. 

The second map, shown below, is a resource created by Time To Change / Just Transition. The introduction from the website says "Together, map and website form a geographic information system. Its aim is to provide swift and trustworthy access to geolocated knowledge about the North American energy landscape. Publicly available data, compiled by government agencies and civil-society organizations, has been collated into three thematic sections, covering the oil & gas industry, coal and its devastating environmental consequences, and emergent electric power production based on renewables."

This platform has three maps for  a) oil and gas; b) coal and ash; c) wind and sun energy categories. The one I'm featuring shows oil and gas pipelines in North America. There's also a global version. 

As you zoom in on this map extra layers of information are provided. The blue circles are videos embedded on the map.  There's an icon for refineries. There's an icon for accidents. Click on any of these and a pop-up will provide identifying and explanatory information.

As I discover new resources such as this I've been adding them to the Tutor/Mentor web library and/or to a blog article about the climate crisis.  Below is a Tweet pointing to the new additions I made to that article. 
These show just two platforms sharing useful information via Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Scroll through articles on this blog back to 2008 and you'll find many more.

Below you can see how I've copied a map view from a mapping platform, then pasted it into Power Point, where I added a screen shot from a local news story about a shooting in Chicago, that took place in the area I've highlighted on the map.  I've been doing this since 1994 to try to draw attention and resources into high poverty areas of Chicago to support volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs.

Just building the mapping platform is not enough if the purpose is that the information is used to solve a problem.  You need a strategy that turns map views into on-going stories that draw attention to the problem and draw people together to innovate solutions, then actions that over time will solve the problem, or at least reduce it.

On the Tutor/Mentor blog I've three sections with articles using maps (look at tags on left side of the blog). Read some of these and then create your own articles, from the resources above or from other GIS  platforms.  

Once you've done this share your stories on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or Linkedin. I'm in all of these places (find my social media links here).  I look forward to seeing how others use these map platforms. 

Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Chicago Community Area Maps - Invest SW Chicago

 If  you've read many of the articles on this site I show ways maps can be used for planning that fills specific geographic areas with a wide range of needed supports, including mentor-rich non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs.  I share maps created in past years by my organization and maps and data platforms created by others.

One such resource is the City of Chicago's Invest South West initiative.  The home page of the website shows a map of Chicago and the 10 featured community areas.

The Invest South West Initiative was launched in 2019.  According to information on the website, its planning conversations "have helped guide decision-making on concentration and alignment of public investments, as well as efforts to catalyze additional private investment for the 10 target neighborhoods."

For each community area a PDF map is available. The one below shows Englewood.

This map has a lot of detail but since it is in PDF format I doubt that it will do much to support planning and a deeper understanding of assets and opportunities. There's no parallel map that shows where investments have been made, or what those investments support.  Maybe that will come in the future.

I've been aggregating links that use interactive maps to support planning and I share some of these in the concept map shown below. 

Then in articles like this, on the Tutor/Mentor blog I use maps in stories intended to focus attention and resources on specific parts of the city.  The city GIS department could borrow ideas from some of these.

If you've examples of interactive maps supporting city planning, or supporting the growth of non-school youth tutor/mentor programs, in Chicago or in any other city, please share the links.  The more we can show how some people are doing this the more we can influence others to do the same, and even better.

That's the goal of the information-based problem solving strategies piloted by my organization and myself since 1993. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Using Maps for Planning Grant Making

 I've posted several articles showing my goal of having maps used strategically in deciding where grants are distributed with a goal of coaching a better flow of operating and innovation dollars to normally neglected areas.  When I've seen a promising practice I point to it with an article and a link. Sadly, that's not too often.

However, here is something that I saw today that looks promising.  The description provided on the web site says: "The maps on this site are part of the COVID Response Dashboard, developed by the Center for High Impact Philanthropy in collaboration with Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia. They include grant award data from participating funds serving Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey."

This platform focuses on the greater Philadelphia area and on grants focused on Covid19 relief and seeks to show where funding is being distributed and where more is needed. That's a planning tool that is needed for other categories, such as youth serving organizations. 

Below is the dashboard, described as a "Strategic Planning Tool" that was created to support this project.  I'm working on an older PC so this kept crashing on me as I tried to use it, so I hope others have better luck. However, the interactivity shows excellent potential.

This platform was created by Urban Spatial, a firm located in Philadelphia and led by Ken Steif, who I met on Twitter. Browse the website to learn more about what Ken feels is the potential for using platforms like this.

My goal for 25 years has been to host a platform like this, with several layers of information. We created a version of this in 2008 when a team from India built the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator

Across the top you can see tabs opening different resources and at the left you can see tabs that represent different layers of information.  You can zoom into this and create maps focused on specific areas of Chicago, as shown by the map below.

This shows levels of poverty, locations of poorly performing schools (from 2007 or 2008), locations of non-school tutor and/or mentoring programs, and locations of assets who could help programs within a geographic area do more to help kids.  Assets would be banks, churches, colleges, hospitals, insurance companies, etc.  

I posted a blog article a few weeks ago showing layers of information needed on a platform like this. 

The platform showing Covid19 funding in Philadelphia shows additional types of information that could be layers on such a map, and a dashboard that might help people use it better.

Building a platform like this would provide a tool any one in business, philanthropy or government could use to mobilize and distribute resources into high poverty areas, supporting the growth of a range of birth-to-work programs, which I've described in these articles

The Chicago Program Locator is now out-dated and I've not been able to update it since 2013. However it still works and demonstrates what's possible.

I don't have the talent, or funds, to build and/or manage such a platform. but I've built a platform that models what's needed and a strategy that collects information and and shares it regularly so more people use the platform to support youth program growth throughout Chicago. Thus, I'd be an ideal partner/consultant to someone who has the vision, commitment and resources to build an updated version.

I'm on social media at these places. Let's connect. 

9/14/2020 update - Philadelphia looks to be using maps in creative ways. Visit this Rebuild Philadelphia page and view the data maps.