Election Maps

Like most residents of the United States, every 4 years the media I consume becomes saturated with election maps. So. Many. Maps. Some of them pretty great! Most of them…fairly mediocre. Many of them, outright bad. And by “bad” I mean they fail spectacularly at their purpose. Or worse – their purpose is to mislead and misinform people, and they accomplish that effectively.

A map is a visual communication tool. Maps shape how we view our spaces and the things we are exploring in that space. Things like election results. The problem is….a lot of these maps are distorted in ways that make them total failures at communicating the one thing they are supposed to communicate!

Let’s look at an example that uses the 2016 election map. In response to the preparations to impeach President Trump in September of 2019, Lara Trump posted the standard 2016 presidential election map (by county) with the words “impeach this.” This map is often used to suggest that most of the United States actually votes for the Republican Candidate (the red counties) and that seems to be Ms. Trump’s intent here.

In October Karim Douieb, a data scientist in Belgium and co-founder of the Data Visualization company Jetpack, responded with a very effective GIF that visualizes the problem with the original election map (and others like it):

His gif started the rounds on social media again in 2020, but this time with a very effective tagline: “Land doesn’t vote; people do”.

And that, truly sums up what is wrong with the original map. By coloring the entire county we see land area instead of the actual population that is doing the voting. And some of the blue counties have very small land areas, but a lot of actual voters!

Take a look at a map that uses a 3-D perspective to better illustrate the number of voters instead of the amount of land – here the height of the county shapes is scaled to the number of votes in that county:

Reference: http://metrocosm.com/election-2016-map-3d/

Stellar Student Maps

Stellar Student Maps

When I taught GRY 324 in-person I would select one map each week from each of my Intro GIS classes (GRY 324) to print and put on the Map of the Week Bulletin Board in the hall outside our Lab. These students are learning to use ArcMap for the first time and they are nailing it. Their final projects showcas

Here is a selection of some of those truly excellent maps!

Social Justice and GIS

Click the image to read an April article about using GIS to address COVID-19 in a racially equitable way.
Click the image to visit this Esri Community dedicated to Equity and Social Justice. In this group, members can be part of a community of people who are leveraging GIS to advance equity and social justice.

Group members can find the latest information and resources on this topic, connect with others, ask questions, participate in discussions, share their successes and challenges, and learn about relevant events.


Test your geographic seaworthiness: navigate our map-based questions and claim the hidden prize!
Click the image above to go to our SUNY Cortland GIS Day 2020 map of visitors!!! Add your point to the map! (use the instructions below to add your point)
Follow these instructions to do some GIS of your own! Add your point to our map!
Click the image above to explore the sounds of Planet Earth…….by map!
Click on the image to explore Weird Earth!

Discover Maps

There’s something here for everyone. Take a closer look. Marvel at the splendor.

Click the image to be taken to Esri’s 2020 Map Book. The maps in Esri® Map Book Volume 35, represent examples of how the use of digital geography helps us see what others can’t. From terrorism in France to monarch migration in the US to solar panel suitability in Puerto Rico, the data and spatial analytics developed from these works represent the growing geospatial infrastructure that represents our world in digital forms.
Cool Maps [kool maps] noun: A collection of creative maps that use the Esri Mapping Platform to demonstrate how solutions can be enriched with the power of location. Feel free to share these maps with friends but please remember that they are designed to stimulate ideas and for demonstration purposes only.
Explore the Maps We* Love gallery to see more examples of what’s possible with ArcGIS. Each addition to the gallery features inspiration, ideas, and information that will empower you to create your own compelling maps. 
*Curated by Esri

GIS Heroes

Click the image above to be redirect to ArcNews’ GIS Heroes page with images and articles about everyday folks using GIS to do amazing things.
Click the image above to be redirected to an interactive map game! Learn more about Pioneers of Geography and GIS!

Careers in GIS

Esri Career Videos – click on the image above to be redirected to an Esri Career Group hosting these 8 videos about potential GIS Careers!
Click the image above to be redirected to Gisgeography.com’s GIS Career Page. They have career outlooks, typical salaries, and more!
Click the image above to be redirected to environmental.org’s webpage about GIS Careers, career potential, and related information!