During the last presidential elections, television reports and websites prominently displayed the map of the United States with the Republican red and the Democratic blue. The US map was also used during President Obama’s re-election in 2012. The party colors were fairly recent developments but the US map has always been used by news organizations to report elections since 1896.
Although the map has become a symbol of the US elections, many people do not know that it is deeply flawed. The famous chart is called the choropleth – a thematic map where regions are colored according to their statistical value. Since the United States population is not distributed evenly, states having large areas are featured disproportionately on the geographical map even if they are sparsely populated with few electoral votes. For example, Montana is 15 times larger than Vermont but they have the same electoral votes. If the large rural area voted for a Republican, the map will show a greater proportion of red than what the results will reveal.
Critics will argue that that the map can be misleading or wildly distorted. For example, when President Obama was re-elected, he got 51.1% of the popular vote that is enough to amass 332 electoral votes. However, the states where Obama got the electoral votes only accounted for 37% of the area of the United States or 44% if Alaska is included.
In order to achieve a more truthful representation of data, a cartogram must be used. This type of map will adjust the area of states based on the number of electoral votes. Cartograms have to trade familiarity for precision because the shape of the state will be distorted including the position relative to one another. The shape of an area can also be re-sized so that it will be proportional to the state’s Electoral College.
Why will you need Illustrated Maps when it is very easy to download the app of Google Map? Maps were illustrated with simple design to it make easy for users to decipher specific landmarks and locations. Google Maps are popular for navigation but map illustrations are considered works of art that can be kept as reference of changes in an area.