Five months of outreach, learning, discussing, trial and error, and refining have come down to this, Map Day. What happens next to all the maps that students and adults from across the Commonwealth are entering in our spring mapping competition?

Here's how judging works:

1) First the DTL team will review all entries and winnow out those that on their face are not potential honorees.  This would include: entries with cursory personal statements,  or weak map metrics on the stated goals, and maps that the entrants admit were whimsical and entered just for fun.  This will be done by June 7.

2) We then organize all the surviving maps - call them our semifinalists - into nine cohorts, one for each region/age grouping e.g. West/Youth, Central/Adult etc.

3) Each cohort is then evaluated by a panel of members of our three regional steering committees.

They are guided by a rubric that weights each of the elements of the evaluation: the look of the map; how well the mapper met his/her/their stated goals, as revealed by the map metrics; the quality (clarify, depth and creativity) of the personal statement; the amount of democratic dialogue and research that went into the map.

Each panel picks one regional champion for its region/age cohort, who wins $500, and one runner-up, who wins $250.  They can also award several honorable mentions, using a $500 pool for that.  This will be accomplished by June 14.

4) All the regional champs and runners-up then move along to the judging for statewide awards, which will be done during the third week of June by the six co-chairs of our steering committees, whose ranks include a former governor, former state appelate judge, a former U.S. Attorney and a former state senator.  A regional runner-up is eligible to win a top state award, if the judges so decide. And they did so decide a couple of times for our first competition last fall.

They pick our six state honorees: A champion in each division who wins $5,000 and a runner-up who wins $2,500.

The regional honorees will be announced in late June, as will the six potential state honorees.

Who gets first place and who gets second among the state nominees will not be announced until an event in the State Capitol early next fall (the date will depend on when the General Assembly decides to be in session.

And we are adding one new twist this time around: A People's Choice Award. You and everyone else in the world will get a chance this summer to look at all six statewide honorees and vote online for the one that impresses you most.

The People's Choice Award winner will get an additional $1,000.

Stay turned for more on that. We'll launch the online voting in mid-July.

For now, let's give a round of applause to everyone who is entering a map and thereby proving that the people of Pennsylvania are indeed ready, willing and able to draw the lines.