Monday, November 03, 2008

US voting demographics via Google Earth

I learn from Jim Gibson, Director of the Intellectual Property Institute at the University of Richmond, that Richmond's Digital Scholarship lab has been playing around with an interesting mash up displaying US presidential voting demographics since 1980 via Google Earth.

Head over to the Google election 2008 website. In the right-hand column, click on Download Historical Voting Results. Google Earth should open (if installed!) when you agree to download the file. Depending on your part of the world you may need to re-orient the globe to get the red/blue picture of the US front and centre. Then click on the circle in the middle of any state to check out its voting data. Zooming in further allows access to the county by county data. You choose the year of interest by scrolling down the 'Places' box in the left margin of Google Earth.

You need to have Google Earth installed and it is a bit slow (particularly on my creaky old Windows 2000 machine in the office) but it's a great example of the kind of thing Tony H. so regularly evangelises about, presenting important historical empirical data in a visually accessible way. And it's fun to play with (well it is on a slightly more modern machine) especially if you're interested in the US elections.

Update: There is a browser based version too.

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