Summaries for Week 6

Summary of the NYTimes Election map using geography and the electoral college:

The default map is the geographic map which displays red and blue states depicting which states had Bush winning the election and which states had Kerry winning the election. Looking at the map as a whole, it appears that Bush had a huge victory because the states he won in were physically larger than the states that Kerry won in. The map in interactive and mousing over the states lets the user see what the exact vote counts were along with the number of electoral votes that the state had. Below the geographic map is a bar chart of the total number of electoral votes for Bush and Kerry and the total ratios of Bush to Kerry popular votes.

From this chart, it seems that Bush won by a significantly larger margin on the electoral vote than he did the popular vote. Then, if you switch to the electoral vote visualization, the electoral votes are represented also in the form of a pixelated-looking map of the U.S. Scrolling over each state reveals pretty much the same thing as the first map but resizes the states so you can see their size by how many votes they actually get, making the race look a lot closer than the first map. I thought it would have been a more interesting map if some of the states’ electoral votes were different than the popular votes they had, but it didn’t appear to have that going on.

I did really like the election results for the other categories, but I wish more of them operated like “The House” category, which really illustrated the republican victory in the House, for other things like Governors or the Senate, there was much less change and almost didn’t seem worthy of a visualization.

Summary of Choropleth Maps:

This essay was created as a response to a choropleth map created by the Guardian which supposedly illustrated the areas with the most severe poverty in the United States. The argument was simple: The Guardian’s map was slightly too dramatic and could have taken steps to make it more accurate.

It could have not just rounded the numbers, which increased the number of people below the poverty line and underrepresented the high-income people. It could have used more equadistant colors that didn’t have as dramatic a difference between small percentage jumps in order to indicate a more consistent rise or decline in income. The map could have also increased the number of classes in order to make it more accurate and complex and it could have used a Dorling cartogram in order to prevent the possible misconception that the larger states with high-levels of poverty indicated more poverty in general.

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