The way the health situation has evolved, we have decided to go all-online for our summer activities.  We’ve given a great deal of thought to how we can run training sessions remotely and still promote engaged participation and community-building.

Trainings – two options

We have split our summer trainings into two kinds:  we’ll stick with the Geodata Bootcamp June 8–19 (10 days, all day), and we’ll offer an alternative option called Mapping Training (3 days, 2 hours per day, offered June 29–July 1). 

The Geodata Bootcamp (GDBC) is a two-week intensive training session for undergraduate and graduate students who want to develop their data wrangling skills for voting rights projects. Participants learn to work with shapefiles and tabular formats for election and demographic data.  Training will incorporate QGIS, Python, GeoPandas, and more.

Accompanying but independent from GDBC is a six-hour Mapmaking training. Along with background on civil rights and geography, this three-evening training introduces a mix of public and commercial software for making and analyzing district maps.

We will pay a stipend of $1000 for active participants in GDBC, or $200 for active participants in the Mapping Training.  We’ll also host an in-person reunion at Tufts as soon as it’s safe to travel!

Remote sessions will require you to take more initiative to learn things on your own and be sure you can follow along.  So we’ve set up some exercises to give you a flavor of the sessions and so we can be sure everyone’s ready to roll.


The Districtr exercise is all that’s required if you want to apply for the Mapping Training.  If you want to apply for GDBC, please choose one of the other two (Mapping/GIS or Python)—choose the one you know LESS about.  Of course, feel free to do all the exercises if you have time and energy for it.

  • Districtr Exercise should take about two hours.
    • The Pennsylvania task is challenging. If you can’t make two majority-Black districts, try for a lower share while hitting the other benchmarks.
    • Some people are having trouble saving landmarks in the community task. If so, just tell us about your landmarks in the comments section when you upload your work.
  • Mapping/GIS Exercise, and southern_counties data needed to do the assignment.  You’ll have to install QGIS if you don’t have it already.  There is some recommended reading (1-2 hours) and then an assignment that should take another 1-2 hours, installations included.
  • The Python exercise is in an online environment called Google CoLab so you don’t have to install anything on your computer.  If you’re new to Python, we recommend that you do the Codecademy tutorial (~3 hours) before you try the exercises here (~1 hour if you’re new to python and did the tutorial, maybe more otherwise).

Completing your work

When you’re ready to submit, use this Google Form [note: the form is now closed as the events have passed].  It lets you submit partial progress and keep coming back till you’re all done.  Please complete your work as soon as possible so that we can finalize the rosters for the sessions.