Thursday, April 19, 2018

Does Your Elected Representative Have a Map Gallery on Her Web Site?

Yesterday I received an email newsletter from Spotlight on Poverty that featured an interview with Dwight Evans of the 2nd Pennsylvania Congressional District. It mentioned that he hosts maps on his web site and I did some digging and interaction with Rep. Evans on Twitter, to find the link.

Below is a screen shot of his map gallery page, with a screen shot of the ESRI map that you get when you click on one of the map icons in his gallery.

If you spend some time on this blog you can read articles posted since 2008 encouraging Chicago and Illinois politicians to  use maps strategically to show where non-school, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs are needed in their district, who is already there providing these services (and who often need help themselves), and places where the incumbent has delivered needed support. That could be dollars, volunteers, attention, partners, or all of these.

My past articles and the maps the Tutor/Mentor Connection created are intended to inspire and serve as templates for work others could be doing in many other places.  Click here, here, and here to see a collection of articles.

While I focus on helping youth tutor/mentor programs grow, the map platforms and articles that I point to show many indicators of need and could be used to help a wide range of service providers....a comprehensive system of available in different map areas.

My father's family is from Philadelphia and I've many siblings, nieces and nephews living there, so I hope Rep. Evans and others will take a look at what I've suggested, and that they will send me links to pages on their web sites where they host map galleries and blog articles showing their use of maps.

At the same time, this use of maps should be happening in Chicago, Illinois, every US state and in every big city in the world.

However, I can't influence what happens in most of these places because I don't live there. However, there's a strategy that you can follow.

Last Tuesday the weekly ChiHackNight featured Judy Hertz, Executive Director of Midwest Academy She gave an introduction a power analysis, planning and community organizing strategy that I think many could benefit from using.

Browse the #ChiHackNight tweets from Tuesday, April 17, and you can see photos and comments from here presentation. Here's the video from Tuesday's session.

If you do the research and follow her recommendations, you can help people in every district figure out ways to influence people in power. It's a process. It takes work. The maps can help.

If your elected representative is using maps the way I'm suggesting and hosts a map gallery on his/her web site, send me your examples and I'll add them as updates to this article.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Justice Map - Visualize Race & Income Data

My Twitter feed today included a Tweet that introduced me to the JusticeMap project. The screen shot at the left shows African American population in the US as a percent of total population.

This site  enables you to "Visualize race and income data for your community, county, and country. It includes tools for data journalists, bloggers and community activists."

It's easy to use. You can click one of the categories on the horizontal bar at the top of the map to create new map views, showing different demographic groups.

You can also zoom in to focus on different regions of the country. This map shows the Chicago region. You can zoom in even closer and add street maps, getting you down to the  neighborhood level.

My goal is that people learn to use maps like these to tell map-stories that point to places where people need extra  help, and repeat often enough that people are actually motivated to provide the talent, dollars, ideas and other resources needed to create change where it may be needed.

Here's a Tweet showing how someone created a map showing Hispanic population density.

If you skim through past articles on this blog you'll find other data mapping platforms and you'll see many ways I've used maps to tell stories intended to help volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas of Chicago.

Here's another Tweet showing how you can focus in on a small area:

Browse feed of Tweets by benjancewicz and see how many are interacting with this platform and with each other on Twitter.

Create your own map stories and share them on social media. Help build the conversation.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Number of High Poverty Chicago Youth in Each Community Area - Change since 2011

In 2011 I produced a PDF report showing the number of Chicago youth, age 6-17, who were living in high poverty households in each community area.

This week I've received new information from the Social Impact Research Center at the Heartland Alliance, and have updated the presentation to show current numbers.

The map shown above is from the new report.  2011 numbers are shown in yellow and 2018 number in blue. This map shows the far west side where the number of high poverty youth in the Austin neighborhood has increased while in areas close to the Chicago LOOP the number has decreased.

Here's the full presentation which I've posted on Slideshare:

My goal is that people form study groups, planning groups and support groups in each community area and they use this data in an on-going effort to help build and sustain well-organized, non-school, volunteer-based tutor, mentor and learning programs in areas with a large number of kids living in poverty.

I'd be happy to spend time with such groups, helping them understand the data and the resources available to them on the Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC web sites.

In the report I indicated that the maps came from the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator which was created in 2008-09. I also said that I've not been able to update this since 2013 due to lack of funds and technology support.

The Program Locator still works and serves as a demonstration of the type of mapping portal needed to help people find existing tutor/mentor programs, understand the availability of such programs in different community areas, and understand who some of the assets are who should be supporting youth  in different community areas because they have facilities in those areas.

If you'd like to help, or want to meet with me,  introduce yourself on Twitter, LinkedIN or Facebook or email me at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mapping Income Levels and Population Changes

Last week I found a City Lab article titled How Cities Are Divided By Income, Mapped , which uses ESRI story maps to show the income inequality in cities across the USA.

At the right is a screen shot of the ESRI story map.

For those who are concerned about these gaps, and the well-being of people living on the poverty and low-income side, these articles will add ammunition to your efforts.

Here's another map, that I learned about from my ChiHackNight network.  This shows population changes in US cities from 1990 to 2010. The graphic at the left is a screen shot showing the Chicago region. Green dots are cities with population gains and red and pink are cities that lost population.  Click on any dot and see the gain or loss.

For those studying poverty and income equality, as well as racism, education, violence, etc. the population changes  may add some additional information to your analysis.

For any activist, these articles will demonstrate ways to embed maps into stories, with the goal of helping you draw attention, resources and solutions to places where the maps show a need for extra support.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Understand Graduation Rate in Every State

The America's Promise Alliance hosts a map on its web site showing graduation rate data for every US state. Take a look.

Earlier today I posted an ESRI storymap showing places around the world where each of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals needs to be addressed.

With that map, and this map, I said "Great work. Useful data." Then said "We need to look at this information at the block level, or at the zip code level" (not sure how this works in other countries).

The state and national level are too large. Within such boundaries are many places where there is much greater need than what the average shows, and other places doing far better.

The Education Trust Data Tool
Here's another map. This is shows inequality and funding gaps (2018) in school funding from state to state. States shaded green provide greater funding to schools serving high numbers of low income kids. States shaded pink  and red (Illinois) provide less funding to these students than to other schools in the state.  View article here and data tool here.

If you compare the different maps shown on this map you begin to see that areas with high poverty show up as places needing extra help.

Building the public will to provide that help is something the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC (T/MI) have focused on since 1993.

Mapping UN's Sustainable Development Goals - ESRI Story map

At left is a screen shot from an ESRI story map that shows areas of concentration for each of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Take a look.

These goals target the year 2030 for an achievement date and for the past year a growing effort has attempted to get more people involved.  I wrote about this on the Tutor/Mentor blog, here, and here.

I've been following the #SDGs on Twitter.

Last August I created this graphic, combining my Race-Poverty in US concept map with the SDGs graphic. My goal was to show that places in the US face some of the same issues, and that all the issues are interconnected and have poverty as a root cause, or as a primary result.

While I think the ESRI map is great, I feel that individual story maps need to be created for each of the 17 goals, and that these  maps need to focus on areas as small as a few blocks, in every country.  This would show areas in the US and Europe where people live in pockets of poverty, isolated from the wealth that surrounds them.

While we need a global mobilization, problems will only be solved at the local level and without maps it's hard to focus on all of these places, or know if resources are being provided to help people overcome their challenges.

I've been aggregating links to data-mapping platforms, and share that information via this blog, a concept map, and links in my web library.

I hope that in the near future I can find a site that if building a similar collection of links, focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

South Side Weekly (Chicago) - Event Map

Here's another example of effective  use of maps.  This is the South Side Weekly's Event Map

I encourage you to take a look at the Chicago tutor/mentor programs map that I created in 2016 (and the Program Locator, created in 2008 and the Program Locator search screen, created in 2004).  My maps are not showing programs as clearly as the South Side Weekly map shows event locations. 

Due to technical difficulties (and lack of money) the Program Locator has not been updated since 2013.

I keep searching for tech volunteers/partners (or donor/investors) to help me upgrade the map platforms the Tutor/Mentor Connection launched on line starting in 2004. 

Want to help? Contact me on Twitter @tutormentorteam or on Linkedin.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Building Political Power to Enact Gun Laws in America

Another school shooting tragedy has hit America and my social media feed is full of anger at elected representatives who have done nothing over the past 20 years to make America safe again. Below is a map I found today showing school shootings since 2013.

Associated Press map - find it here
I looked through my files and I've several maps showing shootings and gun violence in America. Below is a map from 2013, showing "Gun Deaths Since Sandy Hook"

Since the second map shows outlines of all 50 states you could do a count and see that 10 to 12 states have far fewer gun deaths and school shootings than other states.  If you did the political math this would mean 20 to 24 Senators (less than 25%) might firmly oppose gun legislation because it's not a big issue in their states.  If you added up the number of Representatives in the House from those states the percent would be far below 25% since these are low population states  (and it's likely that some of the gun violence is in the big cities in these states, which means their representatives should be pro gun law voters).

So what's the problem?  Why aren't elected representatives in these other states where there is a clear problem of gun violence, doing something to change this?

A few years ago I created a pdf presentation that showed how maps could be used in a campaign to get the needed votes in the state legislature to enact effective high-school drop-out prevention strategies.  You don't  need 100% of the votes. You need 51% (or maybe 61% to over-ride a veto).

That's true at the national level too.

I've posted dozens of article on the Tutor/Mentor blog that focus on planning and leadership and many include the graphic at the right, which is from a presentation titled "War on Poverty".

A similar process needs to grow in America, where the maps above are used and are filled in with information showing that the elected local and national representatives are voting to enact radical changes in American gun laws, for the welfare and safety of the American people.

When we have the needed votes, we'll get the laws we need.

Update 2/19/18 - NPR article shows gun legislation voting records for every House and Senate rep from all 50 states.  click here

Update 2/19/18 NY Times article - Thoughts and Prayers and N.R.A. Funding - click here

Update 2/19/18 - GunControlNow - this site is collecting information on state-by-state basis. Looking for volunteers to help. See info they have for Texas.

I'm on Twitter @tutormentorteam. I look forward to talking with you about the way I see maps being  used.

If you like what I write about and value the web library I host, please go to this link and send a small contribution. I'm paying all of my expenses from what I can raise.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Understanding DACA, Immigration and Importance to America

This is one of many interactive maps that can be found on the web site of the USC Center for Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).

Browse this section of the Tutor/Mentor web library to find many articles related to law, poverty, racial justice, etc.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Chicago United for Equity - CPS equity maps

I attended an event last night titled "65/54 Brown v. Chicago: Race and Access in Education" which was held at the Hull House Museum near UIC in Chicago. The map below was shared by one of the speakers, Niketa Brar, a co-founder and executive director of Chicago United for Equity (CUE)

Link to interactive map - click here
The event description says "Sixty-four years after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) declared that separate was unequal, Chicago’s public schools remain segregated, and access to education continues to be out of reach." Panel members were passionate and full of data to support this claim and urged that anyone who cares, should take an active role.

The map on the CUE web site helps support this. It is one of the few maps I've found that show CPS school boundaries. You can zoom in to enlarge the maps. You can also run your mouse over the map and find data for each school, showing segregation rates, student gains and/or loss over past few years, and school utilization by community members.

Other speakers were Amanda Lewis, Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at UIC and  David Stovall, a Professor of Education Policy Studies and African American Studies at UIC. I met Dave last year and continue to encourage him to put his research on a blog or web site.  The moderator was Cassandra McKay-Jackson, an associate professor, and the new director of the Master of Social Work program at Erikson Institute. 

Last night's session was recorded and once the video is available I will add it as a link to this article. Listening to the speakers is much more effective than me trying to paraphrase what they were saying.

As you look at the CUE map, look at map stories on this blog and on the Tutor/Mentor blog.  I feel that students, parents, volunteers and others could be using map platforms like the CUE site to tell stories, specific to areas as small as a city block or a CPS school neighborhood. Every time something happens that shows the inequity in the city, a story needs to be created. Every time something good happens, stories can be created.

This needs to be happening daily if we're going to get more people involved and build the political power needed to address the deeply implanted root causes of these problems. 

Do you value what I write about and the information I share. Visit this page and use the PayPal to send me a small contribution to help me continue this work. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Chicago Regional Housing Solutions Dashboard

This week's presentation at ChiHackNight described a planning tool developed by the Chicago Regional Planning Agency for Planning (CMAP). Take a look at the video, then look at the screen shots I've posted below.

The dashboard Elizabeth Scott is describing can be found at

Enter a community name, or Chicago community area name in the search bar on the middle of the page.  I entered Rogers Park, on the far North side of Chicago.

This is a screen shot of that results.  In the video Elizabeth looks at a different community. You can compare the two, or search for other communities.

Note the two rows of colored boxes to the left of the map. These are the eight issue areas CMAP data focuses on. The map is color-coded for these issues. 

Click on the name ROGERS PARK in the pop-up box on the map above, and you get a screen shot that I show at the right.  This provides an overview of what housing issues face Rogers Park.

This view also shows a list of other communities in the region, including community areas of Chicago, which profile the same way. Each of these communities could be a resource for all others.

If you scroll down on this page you come to a list of the eight issues. Click on any one of them and this type of screen opens, with a discussion of that issue and some suggestions of possible solutions.  I don't know if this section focuses on the specific community area in my search, e.g. Rogers Park, but as I find out, I'll update this post.

This is a robust and creative tool and people in every community of the Chicago region (and other places) should spend time getting to know its features. Also watch for updates showing how people are using this and how CMAP is adding new features to enhance its use.

Why is this important to Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC? I've been trying since 1993 to create a map platform that would support policy makers in similar ways that the CMAP platform is  doing. At the right is a map view created by the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator.

So far the CMAP platform does not include poverty overlays, or other indicators such as poorly performing school, concentrations of ex-offenders, health disparities, violence, etc. 

It also does not include overlays of service providers and assets. It may in the future.

Browse this site to see  maps I've created using the Program Locator, and other maps created using ARC GIS.  Browse this section of the Tutor/Mentor blog, to see more map-views created using the Program Locator.

Here's a pdf created to show how the Tutor/Mentor Program locator can be used to make your own maps.  And, here's a wiki page where I show the goal of using maps, starting in 1993.

While I'm looking for partners who would help update the Program Locator that was built for me in 2008-09, I also point to other data indicator platforms, that people can use to create map stories that focus attention and resources on areas with high poverty. 

As you look at the features in the CMAP platform, and how they support discussions of housing issues, imagine a parallel platform supporting how communities discuss the needs of kids and the steps that would lead to better schools and a better non-school support system helping kids to careers.

I can be reached on these social media platforms or you can introduce yourself with a comment on this blog.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Too Many School Districts in Illinois? Look at maps on BGA web site

Map from BGA web site
In January 2018 I posted an article, showing a Better Government Association (BGA) story about police shootings in Cook County, Illinois.

The map at the left is from another story, that focuses on the number of school districts in Illinois. Take a look at the story, and the maps.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Police Shootings in Cook County, IL - Interactive Map web site
The Better Government Association and WBEZ have been following police shootings in Cook County suburbs and reporting this in a TakingCover series of articles. Their focus is on "How Cops Escape Discipline For Shootings in Suburban Illinois."

One data resource is an interactive map that shows locations of shootings and provides details. The screen shot at the left was created by zooming into one part of the map then clicking on one of the yellow dots. In this case, I'm looking at the South Suburban area around Harvey, IL.

While I'm interested in this topic, I'm more interested in helping people in communities with high poverty, poorly performing schools, too few jobs, and too much violence and police shootings, have a system of youth and family support services that help shrink the negatives by creating more paths to high school graduation, jobs and careers.

More specifically, I've been trying to help well organized, mentor-rich, non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in high poverty areas. Site based programs could be operating in faith based buildings, colleges, business sites and/or free standing locations. They could be hosted at public or private schools. I led one of these from 1975 to 2011, serving youth in the Cabrini-Green area of Chicago.

For this to happen, someone needs to take the lead, then begin mobilizing others, who will help start and sustain needed programs.  Using maps in stories that are presented via social media, YouTube, face-to-face presentations, etc. is one strategy to help do this. I've been piloting this for 24 years and keep trying to motivate others to adopt the same tactics.

I created the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 1993 to help non-school, tutor, mentor and learning programs grow in the Chicago region and started a survey in 1994 to locate existing non-school tutor/mentor programs in the Chicago region. I've been plotting this information on maps and sharing it via an Interactive Program Locator, a web list, and the map shown at this link

Since 1994 I've been using the database and maps to tell stories and generate public interest and involvement aimed at drawing needed resources to existing programs, or helping new programs form where more are needed.

At the left is a map view created by zooming into my map platform, to show the same area as the map.  In this case, I don't find any organized volunteer-based tutor or mentor programs in the area.  That means people in this area are going to need to step forward and create programs,  hopefully borrowing from the ideas on my web sites. Here's a section focused on "how to start a program".

Lack of programs in the South Suburbs is not new information to me. In 2007 I hosted a Tutor/Mentor Conference in this area and this article show our goal of mobilizing people to help programs grow.

At the right is a map-story created in the 1990s before I had access to the Internet for sharing these stories.  Click on the image to enlarge. Then  you can see a Chicago SunTimes story of a shooting in Chicago and a map that shows where the shooting took place. You can also see a table showing existing tutor/mentor programs in the area, with additional tables showing some businesses in the same area. Finally there's a narrative that ends up calling on assets, political leaders, media and others to help support existing programs in the map area, or help new programs form.

I've been repeating this type of map-story for many years, but my voice is too small, and I'm an outsider in these neighborhoods. If youth, volunteers, parents and community leaders learn to create these stories, and share them weekly, they can begin to draw together a coalition of people who will take the lead on building and sustaining needed programs.

view presentation

In 2008 the T/MC began building an interactive Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, with layers of information that could be used to create a story showing why help was needed, what tutor/mentor programs were in the area, if any, and what banks, hospitals, colleges, faith groups, etc were also in the area and should be taking a role to help build and sustain great programs.

This link points to a presentation showing "how to  use" the program locator to create map stories. 

Since mid 2011 the T/MC has been operated by the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC and I've not had the resources to continue updating the Program Locator platform. Thus, it's out of date.  However, it's a model for what could be created in Chicago or other cities, and how it could be used to create map stories that draw attention and resources to neighborhoods where bad things happen too often.

Furthermore, I've demonstrated on this blog, and many others on this site, that you can use data platforms created by others, such as the BGA and WBEZ to create map views which you then edit using Power Point or other tools to add additional information that shows why people should be helping tutor/mentor programs grow in this map-area.

While there are many examples of map-stories on this blog, here's a Nov. 2017 article that shows how one person is creating map stories and sharing them regularly on Twitter. 

Others can, and should, do the same. If I begin to see more map-stories in Tweets and Facebook posts that focus on helping build needed youth and family support programs in different parts of Chicago, the US or the world, I'll know that some people have read this story, or forwarded it to others.

Thank you to Joel Inwood of the ChiHackNight group for bringing the map to my attention.