Billy Cundiff



As part of our GIS curriculum, we read many articles regarding honesty within maps. Mapmakers often have a sort of power or influence over others as many people associate a map with the truth. When I first did this analysis of voting patterns in Washington State, I knew that a map of just counties showing either Democrat or Republican trends would leave out valuable information. If someone who didn’t know Washington’s population distribution were to see the map in the top corner of this display, they may assume that a majority of the state voted Republican. So I decided to take this information a little bit further. I decided to create a value-by-area cartogram that would show the correct voting patterns in Washington. This exercise was completed outside of normal class work, it required some research and quite a bit of trial and error. Eventaully I would find an external program that would allow me to distort shapefiles based on a certain field. I essentially imported a shapefile of Washington’s counties joined with population data, and distorted the map so that counties would either shrink or grow to represent their population. I would then export this shapefile and put it back into ArcMap to symbolize counties either red or blue. Creating a map like this shows that in reality a majority of Washington State residents actually voted Democrat.


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