|1) The data: When you select a state you will be asked to select a data set from the choices available.
-- I've downloaded all the data for available states and the vote district (VTD) shapes from the Census site. I expect to have MS, LA, AR and IN late today. I'm currently using VTDs. I will evaluate using Block Groups in states where VTDs are too big.
-- 2010 data includes voting age population (18+) which is now shown with the overall population data.
2) Election data: a group of professors, led by Steve Ansolabehere of Harvard, is gathering election data for nearly all states. In general you will see the 2008 Pres numbers + an Average over some elections in the last decade. Important:
-- To aggregate the Average across VTDs, we use the voting age population for the VTDs.
-- To aggregate the 2008 Pres, we (temporarily) do the same. Steve is working to get VTD actual Pres vote counts in the data and I will use them when available.
3) The UI: Top Panel
-- you can minimize the top panel.
-- Tools and Area Views are collapsed by default. Tools includes less used stuff like Auto Color, Reposition CD Labels and more. Also, a check box to go back to the "Old" coloring method.
-- Help button takes you to a dialog where you can navigate to "How To" sections on common tasks. The link to the Help Page is on those dialogs.
4) The UI: Right Panel
-- The data for the current CD has been moved from the bar under the top panel to the right panel. This should give you much better readability, especially with more data.
-- You'll notice also that VTD tool tips appear in the upper right of the map, also for better readability with more data. Note: I use the less desirable fixed-width font for performance reasons.
5) UI: Coloring:
-- "New" coloring (introduced 1 months ago) is on by default. "Old" is still available. See Tools.
-- Z-Drag, like Ctrl-Drag, drags out a box and colors the box. Ctrl-Drag was introduced 1 month ago, but does not work on the Mac. Z-Drag does the same thing and works on both Mac and Windows. [Hold down the Z key, hold down mouse button and move the mouse to draw a box. When you release, everything in the box is colored. On the Mac TrackPad, moving 3 fingers is the same as pushing the pad down while moving.
-- City/Town boundaries: These are a prominent magenta. They are meant to help you color in or out of the boundaries, rather than for pretty viewing.
-- Vote District lines: when you hide these the app zooms out and back in. I have found no other way to get them to go away. (I've tried a lot of other things.)
-- County lines are a little thicker.
-- Bottom line: this takes a bunch of memory no matter what.
-- The DataGrid used to show CD data on the right panel is fairly expensive, which is why I didn't use it for VTD tool tips.
-- Setting the tool tips has always been slow. When loading a saved DRF, I use to do them twice. That's been fixed, but loading a large state is still slow. I intend in the future to push this to the background.
-- Silverlight 4 seems to have some memory leaks. There's much discussion on their forums. My app may force you to upgrade to 4.0.6something, but not all is perfect.
-- Because of memory issues, I recommend refreshing your browser if you are switching a lot between states. I found that, using the 2010 data, if I did VA, then NJ, and both again, I would run out of memory. (Browser would should memory usage of 1.3GB.)
8) The Help pages are not updated yet. I'll be working on that soon.
Thanks for your feedback. As always, let me know of bugs. Happy Redistricting!