Welcome to the Draw My CA Community user guide. This user guide provides full instructions on creating your community map and description through the Draw My CA Community tool.
To understand your community, the Commission needs to know 2 things:
Through this tool, you can tell the Commission about your community. Try to describe your community in a way that helps the Commission understand what matters to your community and why it’s important that your community be kept together in California's new election districts.
Along with the written description of your community, you will be able to draw your community’s location on a map to let the Commission know where it is.
We will ask you to answer a few questions about your community. There are no wrong answers to these questions! The only limitation is that your community should not be defined by its support for a political party, candidate, or incumbent. If you have trouble identifying your community, it may be helpful to ask yourself a few questions:
Once you have answered the questions about your community, you are ready to start working on your map.
To create your map:
Then, send us your map and comments by clicking the “Submit” button. Your community will be sent directly to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission!
We need your input to:
Everyone in California is invited to participate.
Learn more about how your input can help shape California’s new districts here: https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org.
You can use Draw My CA Community as a guest or by creating an account. If you make an account you’ll be able to save your work as a draft and finish it later. You will also be able to see any maps you submitted to the Commission at an earlier date.
To create a new account, click the “Sign up here” link on the home page, complete the form, and check your email. Follow the instructions in the email we send you to verify your account. If you do not see a verification email, check your spam folder.
Once you log in to your account, you will be taken to a page called “My Maps.” Click “Start a New Map” to draw your first map.
To use the tool as a guest, click “Continue as Guest” at the welcome page. You will be able to do everything a logged in user can do except save your work. If you start using Draw My CA Community as a guest and decide you would like to save your work, you can still create an account and log in after you’ve started drawing your community.
You can change the language you are working in at any time.
At the Welcome Page, you can change the language by clicking the “Languages” menu in the top left corner of the window.
Tell us about your community in the Describe your community section. Click the words Describe your community on the left-hand side of the page to expand this section. Answer the questions in this section to help the California Citizens Redistricting Commission understand who your community is and what matters to you. Remember, there are no wrong answers – you can describe your community however you like. Try to describe your community in a way that helps the Commission understand who is part of your community and what is important to you.
Click on the words Draw your community on the left-hand side of the page to expand this section. You will see tools you can use to move the map, draw your map, and more.
When you open Draw My CA Community, the Move Map button will be enabled. You can click on this icon at any time to use this tool.
Click and drag anywhere on the map to move the map.
You can search for any address, city, or town in California using the search icon below the [“+”/”-”] buttons. Some landmarks, such as parks or schools, can be found through the Search feature as well. Click the search icon, type a location into the search bar, and hit [enter]. If the search returns multiple results, choose one from the list. A pin will appear on the map at the location you searched for.
You can use the drawing tools to draw the location of your community on the map. Use these tools to choose areas on the map that are part of your community. When you use the drawing tools to choose areas on the map, the areas will highlight on the map; the highlighted area represents your community map.
Example drawing layer
The map area displays the "basemap” and the “Drawing Layer.”
The basemap is the background map that appears in the map area of the screen. It shows the streets, rivers, schools, and other landmarks commonly displayed on online maps. The closer you zoom in, the more detailed the basemap will appear.
You can change the basemap by choosing a different one from the Basemap style drop-down list.
Black and white
You will use the Drawing Layer to “draw” where your community is located on the map. The Drawing Layer is displayed in the map area on top of the basemap. The Drawing Layer appears as part of the map, but shows different information than the basemap does.
While the basemap helps you orient yourself on the map, the Drawing Layer shows the boundaries of counties, cities, and towns in California along with smaller levels of detail as well.
For example, the basemap might help you find your community on the map based on a highway or river near your house, while the Drawing Layer will show you the exact boundaries of the city or county you live in.
Just like the basemap, the Drawing Layer will automatically change to show you more detail as you zoom into the map.
Only one Drawing Layer will appear on the map at a time. The Drawing Layer that is displayed on the map at any given time is the layer you can use to draw the location of your community by using the drawing tools.
By default, the map will automatically switch between different Drawing Layers based on your zoom level.
The Drawing Layer section under “Draw Your Community” will show you which Drawing Layer is currently visible on the map. The name of the layer will be displayed in the same color as the layer’s lines that appear on the map. As you zoom into the map, the Drawing Layer will automatically change to show you more detail, and the smaller the size of the individual shapes that make up the Drawing Layer will be. That means the closer you zoom in, you'll be able to draw your community with smaller shapes and more detail. As you zoom out of the map, the Drawing Layer will change to show you less detail.
For example, if the Drawing Layer shows the boundaries of counties, you will be able to add a county to your community map. If you zoom into the map, the Drawing Layer will automatically change to display cities. You will now be able to add a city to your map. You do not have to use only one Drawing Layer to create your community map. In this example, both the county and city would be included in your map.
In this example, the user first selects areas from the 'Cities and Towns' drawing layer.
Then, they zoom into the 'Tracts' drawing layer and selects additional areas.
The Drawing Layer section under “Draw Your Community” will show you which Drawing Layer is currently visible on the map. The name of the layer will be displayed in the same color that the layer’s lines appear on the map . As you zoom into the map, the Drawing Layer will automatically change to show you more detail. As you zoom out of the map, the Drawing Layer will change to show you less detail.
If you want to use a specific Drawing Layer, but that Drawing Layer does not appear on the map by default based on your zoom level, click the Choose Drawing Layer drop-down list below the Drawing Layer label. Choose the layer you want to work with. Now you can work with the layer of your choice in a zoom level that works for you.
For example, if the Drawing Layer is displaying cities and towns and you want to add a county to your map, but don’t want to zoom out of your current view, you can choose “Counties” from the Choose Drawing Layer drop-down list instead of zooming out of the map. Once you choose “Counties” as your Drawing Layer, you will be able to add a county to your community map.
To switch back to having the zoom level automatically control the Drawing Layer, click "Default" in the Drawing Layer drop-down list.
The Drawing Layers are color coded. For help remembering which color corresponds with each Drawing Layer, toggle the map’s Legend on and off.
Draw My CA Communityworks with five Drawing Layers. Each layer shows a different level of detail in the shapes that make up the layer. The Drawing Layers are based on census geography, which is created by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the geography the California Citizens Redistricting Commission will be using to create districts.
There are many levels of census geography - ranging from large (nation-wide) to small (block).
This is the list of census geography levels we use as our Drawing Layers, in order of largest to smallest:
You can send yourself a copy of your community description and map at any time. To export your work, click the Menu at the top right corner of the screen and select “Export.” You can choose to download either a PDF, a shapefile, or an equivalency file. Shapefiles and equivalency files can be used in mapping software.
If you are logged in to your Draw My CA Community account, you can save your work as a draft.
When you save a draft, you will be taken to the My Maps page, where you will find a list of all your saved drafts and submissions. When you click on a draft or submission, the map of that community will appear on the screen. To edit a draft, click the three dots next to the name of the draft. Choose “Edit” to keep working on your community.
When you are ready to send your community description and map to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, click “Submit.” You will have one last chance to review your work before it is sent to the Commission.
Once you submit your community input to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission it becomes part of the public record, and the Commission may make the information you provide readily available to the public.
The California Citizens Redistricting Commission must adhere to several criteria when creating new districts; keeping communities together is just one of them. Communities submitted through Draw My CA Community will be reviewed and considered, however, your community is not guaranteed to be kept together in California’s new election districts.
Learn more about the California Citizens Redistricting Commission and California’s redistricting process here: https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org.