How Maps Lie

We all know how you can lie with numbers. You can lie with maps much more effectively, as Jonathan Corum demonstrates with a widely-used map of California's recent gubernatorial election results.
December 7, 2003, 1pm PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"County maps can be deceptive, especially for large states like California. Unless the population of a state is dispersed evenly in proportion to the size of each county, there is no direct relationship between the physical area of a county and the number of people, registered voters, or votes cast within it... The map is correct in showing that Schwarzenegger won this election, but the map doesn’t fit the data very well. The tally of votes gives him 48.6% of the total, but almost all of the map is green. Stretching or condensing data to fit a physical area often results in visual misrepresention or exaggeration, and I was curious to find out how much the county map exaggerates the voting data."

Thanks to Danny Krouk

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Published on Thursday, October 9, 2003 in Style.org
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