The election at night

Election results by county with population

We’re working on putting together a few election maps and and graphs at Axis Maps, and above is one that we’ve come up with so far.

It’s a standard red-blue map indicating the winner of each county in the lower 48 states, where the transparency indicates the population of a county. The many counties with low population fade into the background, diminishing their visual prominence. This is meant to accomplish something similar to a cartogram, where sizes are distorted to show the actual distribution of votes. It’s step one of trying out alternatives to the cartograms that I complained about earlier this week. I won’t claim yet that it’s better… just different.

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  1. I think it’s quite successful. As intended, the areas with small populations recede into the field.

    7 November 2008 @ 9:10pm

  2. This is maybe the best illustration of the “San Bernardino County problem” I’ve ever seen. Just look at it.

    7 November 2008 @ 10:41pm

  3. San Bernardino County… the bane of a cartographer’s existence!

    Andy Woodruff
    8 November 2008 @ 10:29am

  4. Could the alpha be a function of population density rather than headcount?

    Michal Migurski
    8 November 2008 @ 8:35pm

  5. I’m lost – and obviously not a cartographer. What’s the San Bernardino County problem?

    9 November 2008 @ 4:52pm

  6. @nathan – guessing the problem is that it’s big (largest U.S. county says wikipedia), but has a very uneven population density. It’s the brightest thing on this map, yet does not include any city you’d recognize as major.

    Michal Migurski
    9 November 2008 @ 8:17pm

  7. @Michal: population density is an interesting idea, and in a way a logical extension of what I was doing. Didn’t think of it for some reason! Here’s what it looks like:
    Election results by population desnity
    It has its own problems, of course. I think it can overemphasize low-population but dense counties, and even now understate the vote of a high-population but very large county like San Bernardino. But overall I think I like it better.

    Andy Woodruff
    10 November 2008 @ 2:32pm