Election map follow-up

by Andy Woodruff on December 22, 2008

After posting our election map last month, we received a number of excellent comments and suggestions. It’s late, but I thought I’d finally post the couple of variations of the map that I’ve managed to find time to put together. The maps below do two things differently from the original:

  • Vary the brightness of counties by population density rather than total population. This was a frequent suggestion. I think it has a few of its own drawbacks too, but it looks pretty good.
  • Different color schemes. Just for fun, I’ve used the purple color scheme that has become common in recent elections. I also liked the suggestion in one comment to saturate colors by margin of victory, so I’ve done that too. In these, full blue would be total Obama domination (Obamanation? Obamadom?), full red would be the same for McCain, and gray is an even split.

No snazzy posters this time. Just a few map snapshots.

First, the original colors mapped by population density, as posted in the comments on the original post.
Election map, population density

The purple color scheme. First by total population:
Purple election map with county populations

And by population density:
Purple election map with county population densities

Margin of victory by total population:
Margin of victory election map with county populations

Margin of victory by population density:
Margin of victory election map with county population densities

Apologies for any trouble seeing the images. It’s tricky to find a brightness that will look right on every screen.

There are 4 comments in this article:

  1. December 23, 2008Jon Peltier says:

    A lot of good effort has gone into these maps, but I have the same comment I had a month or two ago. The black background makes the details very hard for me to see.

  2. December 23, 2008andy says:

    Right, I recall. Unfortunately I haven’t had a whole lot of time to revisit these maps and had to choose just a couple to do. White background is next on my list, though, assuming I can find a chance to crank out a few more.

  3. December 29, 2008Using Transparency for Feature Highlighting » Tim Showers - Web Development, Design, and Data Visualization» Blog Archive says:

    [...] Axis maps blog is sharing an interesting technique for adding another dimension of data to maps by using transparency.  Somewhat like a cartogram, they’ve taken each county in the US and modified it based on population density, but instead of stretching it to a new size, they’ve increased the alpha transparency to make more populated areas brighter and less populated areas faded out. [...]

  4. November 9, 2012Caprise says:

    These maps are a great idea. I love it. I think it would be a lot easier to see if instead of black background with darkening of colors, you used a white or transparent background with less saturated colors. Maybe you tried that and there’s a reason you didn’t end up doing it that way, but still a very cool idea. Hope you make one for 2012!