Tuesday, November 4, 2014

On creating good maps

Teddy here. I am still getting used to my new computer, so the graphics quality of my maps may be below par for a while, however, I take pride in creating maps that can share quality information.

Take for example the Summerside election. Summerside is the second largest city in PEI and where I grew up. Basil Stewart has been mayor there since 1985 and has seen the city though it's worst times and best times. Stewart is a known Tory, having run to be a PC MP in 1993. He said publicly this would be his last term and last election. Normally, Stewart can be expected to win by huge margins.

Last night, he lost.

And not just by a bit, by a huge margin, 69% to 31%.

Any map you'd thus see of Summerside would be expected to be a single colour, as, Bill Martin, the Mayor-Elect, won every ward. However, I do not consider this to be a good map. It does not really share any interesting information.

So what is a good map? Frankly, this:

Shown in Blue are wards that Stewart managed to get over 31% in, 31% being the city-wide average of vote he obtained. Martin won all of these wards by a huge margin, but any map that shows the "winner" of each ward would miss this divide in the city.

You can see in a darker outline, the "downtown" Summerside; which was by in large the original city prior to municipal merger in the 90's, IE the city that originally elected Stewart. If you want to compare Summerside to Toronto (and this is not the best idea, but one can stretch it for an analogy) ward 4 and 6 are like the "old Toronto" and the remainder of the wards like the "Inner Suburbs"

Martin, as far as I understand, is from the Wilmot area, this being, the areas in wards 7 and 8. With that in mind, this map shows the "urban" and "suburban" split, if you can call it that.

This map reveals a vote pattern that could be important in Provincial and Federal elections, where Tories and Liberals might want to target resources.

I uurge everyone who makes maps to keep in mind that you are not stuck to the way things usually are or the way things always are. Think outside the box. This will allow you to expand your set of tools and make better maps.


  1. For those who feel bad for Stewart, don't. There is a vacancy in the Senate in PEI and Stewart is the kind of person Harper would want to fill it.

  2. Good post and good prediction about the Senate