Create your own Chicago ward map

January 11, 2012

The maps we created were done using Google Fusion tables.

Others have tried creating sample versions, but to create all the proposed maps is a daunting task, even for organizations with trained staffs.

We created a database of sorts, that contained the polygon geometry (or ward shapes), with info related to each of those shapes, such as race breakdown, ward number, etc.

This is a similar method we used when creating a heat map of school closings by community areas last month. In media parlance, this is called data visualization. 

Over the summer, the Chicago Tribune used similar data to create a side-by-side comparison of current ward boundaries with 2000/2010 census demographics applied to it. Last year, the New York Times used similar data to do a popping vizualization of the U.S. breakdown by race.

Creating polygons can be done in Google Earth and can be saved as a KML file or the compressed version: .KMZ.  A group of polygons can be imported into Google Fusion tables, with columns for additional data being added afterward. Data that breaks down ward race, population and other information can be imported manually cell-by-cell, or by merging documents from other spreadsheet documents.

Once completed, the maps can be enabled for public viewing, and embedded like a YouTube video.

Here are the examples of the maps I drew in table format: Latino Caucus | MALDEF | Earlier version of the Black Caucus

We've received a couple of requests that we share some of the available data.  Here you go, folks!

Necessary programs:

Google Earth (or equivalent) Google Maps

Google Fusion Tables (if you want to go the easy route)

SHP2KML converter

 

Necessary Files:

GroupShape FilesRace BreakdownsOrdinance Submission
MALDEF Shape filesDatasetAmendment of Title 2, Chapter 8 of Municipal Code Concerning Redistricting of City of Chicago Wards, submitted by MALDEF
Pro Bono Thinking SocietyShape filesDatasetAmendment of Title 2, Chapter 8 of Municipal Code Concerning Redistricting of City of Chicago Wards, submitted by The Pro Bono Thinking Society
Latino CaucusShape filesDatasetAmendment of Title 2, Chapter 8 of Municipal Code of Chicago Concerning Redistricting of City Wards
Black Caucus

latest shape files are not available at this time:

Old shape files

Partial file of 11 wards in current filing

Current from most recent filing

 

(current filing as of 1/10/2012)
Percy Rossshape files were not provided,but can be found on city data portal siteNot availableAmendment of Title 2, Chapter 8 of Municipal Code Concerning Redistricting of City of Chicago Wards, submitted by Mr. Percy Ross

 

Other files:

RailRoad shape files from Census, also helpful: Openstreetmap.org

2010 U.S. Census breakdown by race for Cook County

U.S. TigerLine ID files (census tract shapes)

Any questions: Tweet me @ChicagoEl or email: eramos@wbez.org.  

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