NY1 – New York City’s 24-hour cable news channel – featured the maps in a segment they aired during the Thursday, June 20 segment of the “Road to City Hall”. We’ve posted a link to the video below:
The Graduate Center also posted a news release about the project.
JUNE 10, 2013
Today our Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center / CUNY joined with the League of Women Voters to launch an online service so anyone can identify their elected officials in New York City.
The idea behind this “Who Represents Me” service is not new (in fact, my old team at NYPIRG’s Community Mapping Assistance Project pioneered it more than a decade ago). But now that redistricting has changed all the legislative boundaries in the city (and the City Council lines will all be new by January 2014) it seemed like the perfect time for a reprise of our Who Represents Me service from 2000, updated with new data and new technology.
How it works
Anyone can enter a street address at the “Who Represents Me” website, or if they’re using a mobile device they can tap the Use My Current Location link. The site displays a list of all city, state, and federal elected representatives (as well as NYC Community Board), an interactive map of the district and all districts nearby, contact information for local offices, and links for more information such as email addresses, individual websites, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages of elected officials.
Users can also link to candidate information using the League’s VOTE411.org interactive voter guide. And we provide district-specific links to DecideNYC.com’s candidate summaries.
According to Mary Lou Urban, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of the City of New York,
resources like MyGovNYC.org are what it takes to make participation in government appealingly simple and is a logical approach to increasing voter participation.
We believe our Who Represents Me service will be even more popular and helpful than it was over a decade ago.
First, the League of Women Voters is providing up-to-date info for all elected officials across the city. The League keeps this information current through ongoing contact with all officials at all levels of government. Initially the League collected this data for its 2013 They Represent You brochure (which you can order here). And they’ll be providing new info periodically for the online service.
We supplemented the League’s info with data from Sunlight Foundation, the Open States project, and local websites with contact information and photographs of City Council members, state legislators, congressional representatives, and executive branch officials.
One of the best features of the service is that Who Represents Me can be embedded in anyone’s website, blog, etc. So all the advocacy groups, elected officials, media outlets, and others who use the service can widely share it and make it their own.
Anyone can use the service, Tweet about it, post it to Facebook, and/or create and share a location-specific link to the list of representatives. Just click the “LINK / EMBED” option at the top of the page and the link like the one below will automatically display the list of officials for that location:
We used a combination of cartoDB, Google Maps API, and the Twitter Bootstrap framework to add a flexible and helpful interactive map overlay to the service. Just click a thumbnail map of any district, and a new window is displayed that shows all the district boundaries for that location. Hover over the list of districts and each one is highlighted on the map. Double-click on a district in the list, and the map zooms to its extent.
Most important, you can click anywhere on the map and new districts are highlighted for that location. And the list of representatives is automatically updated when you close the map window.
So the maps — combined with the address search and current location feature — enable you to determine elected representatives literally for any and every location in the city.
“Who Represents Me: NYC” has been developed with the generous support of the New York Community Trust.
Geographic data sources for the service include:
- district boundary files for state Senate, Assembly, and Congress from the New York State redistricting task force (LATFOR) website; and
- boundary files for City Council, Community Districts, and boroughs from the NYC Dept of City Planning’s Bytes of the Big Apple website.
The geographic data representing district boundaries is hosted at cartoDB. The overall site design relies on the Twitter Bootstrap framework. We use the Google Maps API for address matching, “typeahead” address search, and basemaps.