DistrictBuilder and the Public Mapping Project
During the recent round of United States redistricting public participation and transparency in the process increased many times over, in part through the DistrictBuilder software development and the companion Public Mapping Project.
DistrictBuilder is collaboratively developed by Micah Altman and Michael McDonald (principle investigators) and Azavea (software development partner). The project has been generously supported by the Sloan Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Amazon in Education, the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, and pro-bono work by Azavea.
DistrictBuilder won the 2013 Tides Foundation Pizzigati Prize for "Software in the Public Interest", the 2012 Strata Innovation Award for "Data Used for Social Impact", the 2012 American Political Science Association, Information and Technology Politics Section "Software of the Year". The software was recognized by Politico as one of the "Top Ten Political Innovations in 2011" and received 2nd place in 2011 from GovFresh as "Best Use of Open Source".
The Public Mapping Project used DistrictBuilder and provided large-scale integrated election and census data and other resources in support for greater transparency in redistricting -- through competitions and other efforts -- across the United States.
Large-scale redistricting databases -- as described here -- are used to evaluate how a redistricting plan may confirm to federal and state constitutional requirements, and to assess political ramifications.