When people feel like politics doesn’t represent them, they tend to become discouraged and tune out the process, no matter their party affiliation. People for the People, a volunteer advocacy group that arose from the Black Girls M.A.P.P. employee resource group at Esri, is focusing on making elections personal by telling focused, data-driven stories about policies that affect a variety of communities historically excluded from positions of power through the lens of maps.
“With everything that’s happened in 2020, we wanted to do something, to act,” said Whitney Kotlewski, Design Lead and Operations Program Manager at Esri. “We started People for the People to contribute to change, by creating a space for understanding and education around civic issues.”
People for the People has built more than 50 new mapping and data visualization applications tailored specifically to foster engagement from communities about the topics that directly impact them, while providing the resources and information to help them make informed decisions. The Who’s Running app, built with Esri’s mapping and developer tools, streamlines the experience for finding candidates near your current location or address, in the US for the House or Senate. You can also filter the map based on party affiliation or demographics like race and gender and you can click any candidate to directly access their campaign website and social media.
Visitors can also explore key voting issues in the 2020 race such as criminal justice , healthcare or the environment. You can find elegant stories that walk through the issues, interactive timelines with key moments in history related to that topic, and the underlying data to learn more. People for the People also strives to highlight the key roles that women, non-binary individuals, and people of color have played in advancing these causes.
“GIS is an especially powerful technology for providing the context and information needed to bring about informed action,” said Raynah Kamau, Technical Advisor at Esri. “Bringing together members of the GIS community to volunteer their time to build these maps and apps has been an especially rewarding experience and has produced a tool set that I know will help the electorate for many elections to come.”