Chad Day, Election Mapping


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Chad Day, investigative and projects reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, held a lab session at Down-home Democracy at the Reynolds Journalism Institute on February 1, 2014, on how to make interactive election maps for your website on the fly with no money, no time and no hassle. This seminar walked through the creation of an interactive, online election map from start to finish using Google Docs, Google Fusion tables and other free internet resources. The session also covered some best practices and tips for working with local governments to get timely election results in a format you can use.

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Chad Day, Election Mapping

  1. 1. Quick Election Mapping Chad Day Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
  2. 2. What we’re doing This seminar walks you through how to make interactive election maps for your website on the fly with no money, no time and no hassle.
  3. 3. DISCLAIMER This is a basic class. If Raphael is just a ninja turtle, python(s) bite and JSON is that annoying guy from 11th grade English, you're in the right place. If not, (and you get my bad joke) this is probably not the class for you.
  4. 4. Why map? The American political process is entirely based on geography. Elected offices, taxes, bond issues — these all correspond to where people live, or for us, where readers live.
  5. 5. The payoff Readers not only want to know who won and lost but why. Good interactive maps help them (and you as reporters) answer that question.
  6. 6. hl=en
  7. 7. Not just elections Summer Robberies
  8. 8. The tools you’ll need 1. Google Drive account 2. Excel or GoogleDocs 3. An Internet browser 4. BBEdit/TextEdit 5. Windows users will need Winzip, 7zip or some similar compression program.
  9. 9. What you don’t need — Arcview or comparable GIS software — Any coding knowledge — A web developer
  10. 10. Source materials 1. Shapefile(s) of the area 2. Election results in spreadsheet form
  11. 11. What is a shapefile? A shapefile is actually a grouping of files that contain geospatial information in database form. Computers read this info to draw polygons, or in our case, maps.
  12. 12. Shapefile
  13. 13. Shapefile sources — Tigerfiles, U.S. Census Bureau — State GIS website — Secretary of State’s office — Election commission — City/County government — Police Departments
  14. 14. Election results
  15. 15. Election results sources — Secretary of State’s office — Election commission — City/County Clerk — AP
  16. 16. Demo Open folder on your flash drives
  17. 17. Further learning Github Google — If you want to do it, there’s a tutorial out there.
  18. 18. Further learning USA Today Montreal Gazette; quick updating http://blogs.montrealgazette. com/2013/09/10/updating-a-fusion-table-mapfrom-a-google-spreadsheet/
  19. 19. Further learning
  20. 20. Questions?
  21. 21. Contact info Chad Day Arkansas Democrat-Gazette @ChadSDay
  22. 22. What we’ll be making