Archive for the ‘Election’ Category

UK election map and swingometer (Guardian)

Friday, April 30th, 2010

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[Editor’s note: Cartograms (1, 2) are all the storm in the UK in the lead up to the general election later this month. I first noted them via the Financial Times’s print edition graphic and then came across this interactive version done by the Guardian (screenshot above). It combines the geography view typical in the US with a cartogram of the same. The cartogram does better at showing overall trends since each enumeration unit (election district) is the same size, where on the geography view some districts are super large and some (around London) are tiny as they are sized by area rather than population / electors. The Guardian’s online version has search function as well as mouse over and the geography view zooms in to reveal those tiny districts. What’s super amazing is the swingometer. It allows the user to see what would happen if the electorate “swings” towards one party or another both in numbers and on the maps. This would be fabulous to see in the US for our midterms. Quibbles with their map: I can’t click and drag in the geography view to move the map, nor can I click and drag the detail box in the UK context map in the geography view. Overall A+ effort. And yet another reason why Steve Jobs, bless his heart, is crazy for thinking HTML5 should be the only game in town. These types of maps excel in Flash’s compiled plugin runtime.]

Republished from the Guardian. Monday 5 April 2010.
By Mark McCormick, Jenny Ridley, Alastair Dant, Martin Shuttleworth

Browse the 2010 constituencies and use the three-way swingometer to see how different scenarios affect the outcome. This map is based on 2005 figures, notional or actual, and does not take account of byelection results. Full explanation here

Interact with the original at the Guardian . . .

MAP: Campaign 2010 – Congressional Races, a closer look at the 435 House races (WaPo)

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

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[Editor’s note: Just in time for the midterms, The Washington Post has relaunched our online politics section, including a nifty interactive map by Kat Downs (lead), Dan Keating, Karen Yourish and Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso. The map starts off on House races but also tracks Senate and Governor races. It’s zoomable, panable, has a time slider for past election results. The original linework was generalized using MapShaper.org with manual adjustments to blend in detailed urban districts with more generalized rural districts, resulting in smaller file size, quicker load time, and less ambiguity on which district is which. Please email us with questions or suggestions.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

Will Republicans take control of the house in 2010? Use this map to track all 435 House races, analyse past election results, and drill down to district level data. Post reporters Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza will weigh in regularly on the 25 races you need to know about. SOURCES: Federal Election Commission, U.S. Census Bureau.

Interact with the original at The Washington Post . . .

Two more screenshots, showing generalized urban area linework in the Washington, DC, metro area with thematic attribute “details” panel open and then the advanced filtering options, in this case to pull out swing districts that have rate more than 21% uninsured.

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Better Know a GeoCommons Feature – GeoJoin (Fortius One)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

[Editor's note: Easy technique for joining a table of thematic data to geographic shapes in GeoCommons Maker! web app.]

Republished from Fortius One.
February 9th, 2010 by Kevin Burke

Often I have had various GeoCommons users ask me, “How do I turn my excel spreadsheet data into proportional shapes like the map below?”

proport map

Before now I would have told these users that they would have to use complicated and expensive mapping software. This would allow users to combine spreadsheet data with the desired shapes that they want to view on their map.

I am now happy to announce that with GeoCommons you no longer have to rely on the ways of the past. Now FortiusOne has created the new feature of GeoJoin which allows you to move beyond points and easily visualize regions. Below is a walk-through of the process or click this link to view a video that will visually assist you.

Continue reading at Fortius One . . .

Senator Al Franken Draws Map of USA (MPR)

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

[Editor’s note: YouTube video of comedian and now Senator Al Franken doing a slick parlor trick at the Minnesota State Fair. Harder than it looks ;) Thanks Todd!]

Republished from Minnesota Public Radio via YouTube. Sept. 4, 2009.

Senator Al Franken draws a map of all 50 states from memory during an appearance on Minnesota Public Radio’s Midday at the Minnesota State Fair last week.

Book: The Big Sort (Bill Bishop)

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

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[Editor's note: I could not put down this fascinating book about post-WWII politics, religion, and culture in the United States of America. The lead author is a journalist by training and skillfully pulls together many threads into a coherent overview with first hand stories, maps, and graphics illustrating his points. If you are a geographer, sociologist, or political scientist make sure to check out his work.]

Republished from TheBigSort.com.

Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart

By Bill Bishop with Robert G. Cushing

This is the untold story of why America is so culturally and politically divided.

America may be more diverse than ever coast to coast, but the places where we live are becoming increasingly crowded with people who live, think, and vote like we do. This social transformation didn’t happen by accident. We’ve built a country where we can all choose the neighborhood and church and news show — most compatible with our lifestyle and beliefs. And we are living with the consequences of this way-of-life segregation. Our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don’t know and can’t understand those who live just a few miles away. The reason for this situation, and the dire implications for our country, is the subject of this ground-breaking work.

In 2004, journalist Bill Bishop made national news in a series of articles when he first described “the big sort.” Armed with original and startling demographic data, he showed how Americans have been sorting themselves over the past three decades into homogeneous communities — not at the regional level, or the red-state/blue-state level, but at the micro level of city and neighborhood. In The Big Sort Bishop deepens his analysis in a brilliantly reported book that makes its case from the ground up, starting with stories about how we live today, and then drawing on history, economics, and our changing political landscape to create one of the most compelling big-picture accounts of America in recent memory.

The Big Sort will draw comparisons to Robert Putam’s Bowling Alone and Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class and will redefine the way Americans think about themselves for decades to come.

Continue reading at TheBigSort.com . . .

Leveraging Iconic Photos to Augument Names in Graphics

Monday, May 4th, 2009

[Editor's note: Augmenting textual names with iconic faces can liven up a graphic. Same goes for flags with country names. This graphic from The Washington Post's Karen Yourish and Laura Stanton does exactly that.]

Republished from The Washington Post, April 2009.

The Confirmation Race

A look at presidential transitions from Reagan to Obama. President Obama needs to fill about 500 government-agency positions that require Senate confirmation.

Related: Heat Count–Tracking Obama’s Appointees.

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Instance_setMcName Flash Script + MaPublisher = Flash Interactive Thematic Mapping (Kelso)

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

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[Editor's note: Making the GIS > Illustrator > Flash workflow a 30 minute process instead of a 30 hour slog. Thanks Sebastian!]

Ken Hawkins, formerly of The Post and Courier newspaper (Charleston, SC) helped me figure out how to take GIS shapefile data (point, line, and polygon) prepped in ArcMap or similar, process it in Illustrator using the Avenza MaPublisher plugin, and then copy-paste import into Flash CS3+ and apply the Instance_setMcName script. I first saw his handywork in the http://www.charleston.net/graphics/200802_primary/ map which is illustrated at the top of this post. I first learned of this technique last year but I think it is still relevant so am posting it now.

Ken had help from Len De Groot over at newsartists.orghttp://www.newsartists.org/forums/showthread.php?p=41780, registration required). I have reformatted and edited Ken and Len’s instructions below.

Requirements:
  • A shapefile,
  • Illustrator CS3,
  • MaPublisher (Illustrator plugin),
  • Flash CS3, and
  • Free command script called “Instance_setMcName”. Before you start, download the script from Adobe, registration required (alternate download, no registration required) and double click file icon to install the script into Flash. Relaunch Flash to enable the script.

Overview:

  • Shapefile prep work in ArcMap GIS as needed.
  • Import the shapefile (.shp) in Illustrator using MaPublisher. Each geographic feature imports as it’s own path object in illustrator, visible in the Layers panel when it is set to not just show top level layers.
  • Use MaPublisher to name each map object’s GIS database attribute to name itself.
  • Import the Illustrator file to Flash .
  • Run the script to take the movieclip names and apply them to instances.

Detailed Workflow:

  1. Shapefile prep work in ArcMap as needed.
  2. Open your GIS shapefile in Illustrator via the MaPublisher plugin (File > Import Map Data).
  3. Edit > Select All the imported map path objects.
  4. Open the MapAttributes panel by going to View > MaPublisher > MapAttributes.
  5. In your MapAttributes panel, use the flyout menu to select Edit Schema.
  6. Select the #Name (usually selected by default) in the list of columns.
  7. Check the box marked “Derive value from expression”
  8. Click the “…” button.
  9. In the resulting dialog’s text entry field, type in the name of the field you want to use to name the individual polygons (county, precinct, etc.). This is case sensitive.
  10. Hit OK twice.
  11. Watch as your individual path objects are named in the Layers panel then save the file.
  12. Open Flash and import the AI file to the stage (File > Import).
  13. In the Import dialog box, select all the sublayers and check the box named “Create movie clip” and hit OK. The map will be imported both onto the stage and each map object will be added to the document’s Library.
  14. In the Library panel, select all the MovieClips in the Illustrator Import sub-folder and drag them up and out of the folders to the top level.
  15. Use Edit > Select All to select all your map object symbols on the stage.
  16. Under “Commands” in the top menu, select “Instance_setMcName.”
  17. All you symbol instances will be named the same as their parent movieClip libary item. Use the Properties panel to verify this.

Both Ken and I have used this process on multiple shapefiles with hundreds of objects and it’s worked like a dream.

Caution on Numeric Names:

Some GIS shapefiles have category names that begin with numbers, which Flash doesn’t like. Flash is picky about some other characters starting off the name, too, so when in doubt, use the following solution.

You can edit the schema to add a letter in front of each name and then use actionscript to do the same to each item in your XML file. A little cloogy but better than the alternative.

  1. Click the Add button in the Edit Schema window in MaPublisher’s Illustrator panel
  2. Name the new column “a”. Make sure the Type is string and enter “a” for the value (the derive value button must be unchecked to see this option).
  3. Press enter.
  4. Select #Name column.
  5. Find the expression field in the same dialog and type out “a&PRECINCT” (where “a” is the “a” attribute column name and PRECINCT is the attribute column name). Note: the & symbol is used to concatenate (add together) the string values in each attribute column.
  6. Press enter.
  7. Verify the name changes in the Layers panel.

Seperate Stroke and Fill Workflow:

To have a seperate stroke layer on polygons so the fills can be color coded seperately from the strokes (which would always maintain the same stroke color) you’ll need to make a 2nd copy of the symbols:

  1. In Illustrator after you’ve used MaPublisher to name all your polygons appropriately, duplicate the layer and hide/lock the original layer.
  2. Give the new polygons a stoke and no fill, and rename them using Steps 3-6 except append the naming scheme with “Stroke”
  3. Import the Illustrator file to Flash. Two groups of symbols are imported.One group’s symbols will be named something like “precinct234″ and the other group’s corresponding symbols will be named “precinct234Stroke”
  4. Flash can now be instructed via ActionScript coding to independently control a symbols fill and whether or not it is “highlighted” with a stroke.

Bonus Feature!

Use MaPublisher to import other GIS layers (roads, polling locations, etc.) and they will land directly on top of the thematic symbols. I recommend doing this in the same import session, or before you rescale the maps. Best results when all GIS shapefiles are already in the same projection.

To set up your XML which is used to import your map data values (essentially an XML version of your DBF file associated with the shapefile), check out Layne’s thread.

Interactive: Obama’s Appointments (Kelso via Wash Post)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

[Editor’s note: I did the Flash ActionScript 3 programming behind Head Count: Tracking Obama’s Appointments. This ambitious, collaborative database-driven project tracks the Obama administration’s senior political appointments and will be kept up-to-date with the latest happenings. A look at some of the interactive features you can find at washingtonpost.com/headcount.]

Interactive graphic and database by Sarah Cohen, Karen Yourish, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Ryan O’Neil, Paul Volpe, Sarah Sampsel and Laura Stanton.

This project draws on concepts from these two blog posts in particular: It Ain’t Easy To Get A Newspaper To Provide Useful Data (TechDirt) and The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady (NY Times).

Republished from The Washington Post

Heads Pop Up and Heads Roll: Let’s Keep Track.
By Al Kamen; Wednesday, March 18, 2009; Page A11

Today we launch Head Count, The Washington Post’s interactive database to help you keep a sharp eye on the people President Obama is appointing to the nearly 500 top positions in the federal government that require Senate confirmation. The new feature will not only tell you who they are but also help you count all the demographic beans — age, sex, ethnicity, education (elite schools or not), home states and so on.

At http://www.washingtonpost.com/headcount, you can search agency by agency to determine which jobs are still open, should your private-sector job be looking a little shaky these days. You can also search by individual to determine how many officials in this “change” administration are merely retreads from the Clinton days.

And Head Count will give some clues to help answer everyone’s perennial question: How did that fool get that great job? It will also tell you who paid good, hard money or bundled huge sums for Obama/Biden, who worked on the campaign, who had the coveted Harvard Law connection, hailed from Chicago or was a pal of Michelle Obama, Tom Daschle or Ted Kennedy.

The appointments that are tracked by Head Count do not include judges, ambassadors, U.S. attorneys or U.S. marshals. We’ll monitor those separately. Nor does the database include the many important officials who are not confirmed by the Senate. We’ll be tweaking the database as we go, adding new categories, such as veterans, and making other additions.

Loop Fans can help! If you’ve got information we could use or suggestions about how to improve the site, please submit comments and updates at the link provided on the Head Count Web site.

NOMINATING PARTY

The White House personnel logjam — also known as the Great Daschle Debacle — appears to have been broken. Team Obama’s nominations operation began at a record pace. But IRS problems sparked Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle‘s withdrawal on Feb. 3, leading to a general revetting of nominees that stalled everything.

The numbers are startling. Obama, by the end of his first week in office, had announced 47 nominees for senior-most jobs. He’d officially nominated 37 of them, according to data compiled by New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service Presidential Transition Project. (That number includes some holdovers.)

But in the month after Daschle’s withdrawal, the White House announced only 10 candidates for Senate-confirmed positions and formally nominated only six people.

In the next three weeks, however, the pace ramped up sharply, with 42 nominees named. Official nominations have been slower — only 27 during that time. But there were 15 last week, and we’re told there are plenty in the pipeline. As of yesterday, there were 39 Senate-confirmed individuals on the job. (That includes seven holdovers.)

The push now is to get as many nominees up to the Senate — and get confirmation for the three dozen or so already up there — before the Senate slithers out of town on April 3.

View the interactive at The Washington Post . . .

SND New York City Meetup Presentations

Monday, March 9th, 2009

[Editor's note: I was up in New York city Saturday for a regional Society of News Designers meetup. The same presentations are now live on the SND website, which I've clipped below. Enjoy.]

Republished from Society of News Designers.
By Jon Wile — March 4, 2009

We were in New York City on Saturday for a free regional meetup. More than 100 people joined us in person and many more checked in online. The all-star lineup of speakers included graphics legend Nigel Holmes, Rolling Stone art director Joe Hutchinson, former Fortune graphics editor Sarah Slobin, and New York Times interactive graphics gurus Matthew Ericson and Shan Carter. We have presentations to share and we will put up the captured video footage next week if you did not see it live. Check it out.

Rolling Stone art director Joe Hutchinson speaks on Saturday at the meetup in New York. <a href=

Rolling Stone art director Joe Hutchinson speaks on Saturday at the meetup in New York. Photo by William Couch

PRESENTATIONS

Download Sarah Slobin’s (PDF: 29.5MB) presentation here.

Watch Joe Hutchinson’s presentation here.

Download the presentation (PDF: 26.6MB) from Matthew Ericson and Shan Carter here.

PHOTOS

ABOUT THESE MEETUPS

We had our first meetup in December in Washington: At that event, more than 60 visual journalists showed up to talk about our craft and get to know each other over drinks at The Hawk ‘n’ Dove, a classic Capitol Hill watering hole. It was a lot of fun.

Have an idea for a meetup in your town? Drop me an email and I can help you set it up.

Cheney Leaves VP Residence, Takes Pixelated Google Map with Him (GizModo)

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

[Editor's note: At first I thought this was pure humor but, for whatever reason, Google Maps does indeed now show detailed resolution at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, aka Cheney's secret hideout #1.]

Republished from Gizmodo.
By Mark Wilson, 12:10 PM on Mon Jan 26 2009

Google Maps’ satellite imagery has shown us clear shots of the White House, the Capitol and even the Pentagon. But one thing it never displayed properly was Dick Cheney’s house. Until now.

The Vice President’s quarters, located at the Naval Observatory since 1974, have been pixelated ever since Google has given the public an easy way to check them out—coincidentally ever since Dick Cheney has lived there. This censorship wasn’t by Google but those supplying Google the source images, the U.S. Geological Survey.

Now on the same week of Biden’s arrival, we’re suddenly allowed to see the VP’s house as clearly as the President’s. Who knows the exact reason for Cheney’s extra security…maybe he’d been nervous about the public catching wind of his Mini Cheney clone farm, or maybe he’s just prone to gardening in his shorts despite being self-conscious about his varicose veins. [Valleywag]