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Top 11 examples proving that election maps can be awesome

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, America will choose their next president. For most of people this means a lot of emotions but for GeoGeeks it also means a lot of election maps. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of bad and boring electoral cartography. Below you’ll find a couple of examples showing that election maps can actually be pretty cool.

Have a cool map that was not featured here? Share it in comments!

First electoral map from 1883


One of the first election maps has been published in the 1883 Statistical Atlas of the United States. It is based on the publication of county election returns from the 1880 presidential election. The map paved the way for most of the future electoral maps.

source: Mapping the Nation



A cartogram is a type of map that depicts spatial phenomena per geographic area unit. Above you can see a pretty standard cartogram but the line chart above the map helps to understand the final results.

source: 270ToWin

3D cartogram


If you think that your cartogram is boring you can always elevate it.

source: Princeton

Demers cartogram


The Demers Cartogram uses squares to represent the phenomena. It maintains neither shape, topology or object centroids. It is fully abstract representation of the spatial pattern of the phenomena being mapped but it’s visually very strong.

source: NY Times

Dorling cartogram


Another type of cartograms are Dorling cartograms. Similarly to Demers cartogram it doesn’t maintain shape, topology and centroids but instead of squares it uses circles. It is also a fully abstract representation of the spatial pattern of the phenomena but in certain cases they do the job well.

source: Huffington Post

Other way to look at cartograms


Cartograms allow you to be creative.

source: Washington Post

And one more cartogram


Simple forms can be more readable than complex graphs.

source: NPR

Twitter Political Engagement Map


Elections are not all about votes. This project by Twitter illustrates people’s reaction to and engagement by state to Tweets from Romney and Obama.

source: Twitter

Dot election map


On this map of the 2012 presidential election, each dot represents 1,000 votes.

source: Ken Field, Esri

Votes are not distributed evenly


In the US presidential elections although Americans vote directly for their chosen candidate the president is elected by the institution called the Electoral College. It is quite possible that a candidate wins the popular vote (i.e. gets more votes over all) and yet loses the presidential election. You can show it on a map.

source: New York Times

Area distorted cartograms


Area cartograms also known as the Gastner-Newman Cartogram or a population-density equalising cartogram is a technique for representing data for areas that modifies the size of the area depending on the chosen attribute. It can be pretty cool.

source: Wikipedia


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Tesla is preparing itself for the Self-Driving Car era

Cars may not be smart enough to drive themselves in all environments just yet but Tesla has announced that will equip all Tesla cars being produced (including the Model-3) with “Full Self-Driving Hardware“!

“All Tesla Cars Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving Hardware” – Tesla Team

Preparing for the Self-Driving Car Era

“… Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.” – Tesla Team 

Tesla is arguably the leader (currently) in self-driving car tech, thanks mainly in part to its customers who have been helping test one AutoPilot feature improvement after the other. But one has to also give credit to Elon Musk and Tesla for thinking ahead and equipping every single Tesla car sold earlier with the tech required for building maps for self-driving cars (Related: Tesla enters map making business. What does it mean for the industry?).

Elon has upped the ante by having all future Tesla cars equipped with “Full Self-Driving Hardware“. At the beginning, Teslas fitted with the new hardware will not have all the current AutoPilot features but this is expected to change as the new software that will used with it is validated.

Shadow Mode

While the rest of the Automotive industry will have to be contend with testing their self-driving car software and sensors using a limited fleet or simulations, Tesla is going to be collecting millions of hours worth of real-world driving data! Tesla isn’t just stopping at collecting the data, they are planning to keep the AutoPilot feature running in the shadows so that they gather data to evaluate the performance of the software. (Related: Tesla’s new Autopilot will run in ‘shadow mode’ to prove that it’s safer than human driving).

Tesla is planning to demonstrate its progress by having its self-driving car to do a road trip from LA to New York (autonomously of course)!

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