mapping elections

For this in-class assignment we are going to be looking at some of the 2006 election coverage as well as maps of the United States that indicate election results. We are going to be working with Tufte’s ideas on mapping and what creates beautiful evidence. In your groups, please complete the following:

  1. Using your own words, but informed by Tufte, define “mapping” and list at least 5 characteristics of effective mappings. Do the same for “sparklines.”
  2. Other than the terms “mapping,” “sparklines,” and “beautiful evidence” please list at least 5 terms that Tufte uses that you were unsure of their meaning. Do not spend a great deal of time trying to find their meaning; we will discuss them later.
  3. Answer the question: How are effective maps examples of beautiful evidence? Discuss your response in terms of at least one of the illustrative mappings Tufte points his readers to.
  4. Look at the election maps of US House results from the New York Times and CNN. Scroll your mouse over the maps to see their interactive features. Answer these questions: How many dimensions of data are depicted in each graphic? What are those dimensions? Which of these two graphics is a better example of mapping? Why?

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