Google Earth demo – 2008 General Election poll maps and results

For the past week or so, when I’ve had a spare moment in the office, I’ve been working on a mapping project involving Elections Canada data and the Google Earth KML standard.  For anyone that’s worked on a political campaign or in a Member’s office, poll maps are always close by and always useful for plotting strategy for the next election.  Elections Canada provides data for drawing these polls maps, but unfortunately this data is not available in a format or projection readable by Google Earth or Google Maps.

I’ve gone ahead and translated and reprojected (after crashing my computer a few dozen times) the geographical coordinates that dileaneate the approximate 60,000 polls that make up the 308 ridings.  I’ve written software that represents these data points as polygons in Google Earth and shades them by poll winner (party) or by party vote share by poll (Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green or Bloc).  I’ve also included an option in the software to shade the map by voter turnout.  These maps have an obvious political purpose, however, addressing low voter turnout is a non-partisan interest shared by most.

I’ve been working on writing an API to make this sort of data available to developers through a few GET requests.  I’ll keep you updated.  If you’ve got any questions, please send me an email or put a comment in the comment section below.  Here’s the demo, in all the wondrous splendor of Youtube HD.


(click the “full screen” button for the best experience)

Comments

comments

42 thoughts on “Google Earth demo – 2008 General Election poll maps and results”

  1. Differences from previous elections are very valuable as well. Putting the 2004 and 2006 elections in the data base could greatly increase the usefulness of this project. Add a feature which shows the percentage change for each party in each poll (raw votes) and also one that compares the change in each poll compared to rhe average change in the riding. I well be talking with the expected campaign manager in my riding in the next couple of weeks about my poll by po;; analysis of the last two elections and possible strategies or the next one that are the result of that analysis. If this could be tied in with the information in CIMS, there could be a very large amount of useful information extracted.

  2. I am impressed. Welcome to the world of Googlism.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to see how my polling area did in Toronto compared to others. As for your party, it has a chance to win two or three seats within Toronto if you target selected polling areas and ridings and increase your vote by five percent. The NDP could potentially win another two seats. The Liberals just have to hold their fortress.

  3. Well, Stephen, I can see where the average blog follower could be impressed with this but, as a discerning and intellectual blog follower, I have to say that you…er…how can I put this gently…failed miserably. Why? Well, it has been two days and not one derogatory comment from your resident troll Terry1.

    Really, people, how can you laud Stephen when he cannot elicit even the most inane or ineffectual insult from the resident troll? Betcha never thought of that one, didja?

    Sarc switch now firmly in the “off” position.

    Well done, Stephen.

  4. stephen, I wonder if you could “Google” the location of this blog:

    I think the internal rebellion against Harpo is underway:
    …………………………..
    Tuesday, August 11, 2009
    Blue Network Leadership Emerges, Retreats
    From the blogging Tory forums, last afternoon, a comment from Matt Altheim re “The Blue Network”, a clandestine group of Tory rebs:
    http://www.freedominion.com.pa/phpBB2/viewtopic
    Thank you for all your comments. Just try not and put too much emphasis on a word or two. We do not mean 'moderate' as in ideological beliefs, rather that we are not looking at reforming the party through any radical or undemocratic means. Our brand of Conservatism needs to return to strong right wing principles and policy. Our party has become a very top-down organization that ignores the membership base which has seen true right wing policy practically vanish.

    We support the core values of old Reformers and PCs. We are against this 'Liberal Lite' form of Conservatism we have been given.

    We are not a secret society, but at the initial stages we would like to prevent party hacks from influencing the organization. That is why we choose to use a referal system or go through and contact each applicant individually. That is why our network is closed; we have a full slate of information, greivances, and workshops for members to be involved in.

    I hope this clarified things.

    This morning, however, the comment has revised so as to bear the name of “Mr. Blue”, the fellow whose been spreading word of the network throughout the blogosphere, and Mr. Altheim is merely recorded as having said:

    This is interesting… The webmaster should post more info on the homepage.

  5. Well, I spoke too soon. The resident troll, having eaten a child or two, emerged from the muck under the bridge to make a totally irrelevant and meaningless comment, as well as call our PM a stupid name. I love how the trolls and fools criticize our PM for not sticking to Conservative policy. Uh, if it weren't for the LPC and NDP threatening to gang up on the PM, perhaps he would. Unfortunately, Ignatieff, Layton, and certainly Duceppe care nothing for Canada and everything for their own glorification and egos.

    So, any criticism of Harper's lack of conservatism is nothing but a load of balderdash and, incidently, we toss our balderdash under bridges where trolls live.

  6. Careful there E of E, you may just have just enticed the resident troll. Doubtful he would bother to acknowledge such good work by Stephen, however, he would love to get a reason to horn in and take over the thread. To put it politely, CAN IT!

  7. Very nicely done. It's nice that EC is actually giving this data out no charge. Expect a more competetive environment this fall!

  8. Oh oh. More technical mumbo-jumbo, impressive though it is … I guess!!

    Call me a Luddite — I actually wear the label without embarrassment — but pretty soon anyone who hasn't the technological capabilities to decode and take advantage of this stuff is going to be left out of the loop.

  9. Not to worry, Batb.
    We Luddites will make sure the loops are properly designed, aligned, sequenced, enumerated, verified, distributed, etc. 😉

  10. Hey Stephen,

    Congratulations on your project. I managed to do the same thing but only at the riding level, published on earth.smurfmatic.net and also used on French national television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOgqobWb9Q0

    I saw the election results data per polling station, but did not know the existence of equivalent geographical data. Do you know if that’s publicly available?

    There’s a fantastic potential into mapping real useful data such as these onto the real geographical world. It seems like a map is sometimes worth a thousand words!

    -Cedric

  11. Hey Stephen,

    Congratulations on your project. I managed to do the same thing but only at the riding level, published on earth.smurfmatic.net and also used on French national television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOgqobWb9Q0

    I saw the election results data per polling station, but did not know the existence of equivalent geographical data. Do you know if that’s publicly available?

    There’s a fantastic potential into mapping real useful data such as these onto the real geographical world. It seems like a map is sometimes worth a thousand words!

    -Cedric

  12. Hey Stephen,

    Congratulations on your project. I managed to do the same thing but only at the riding level, published on earth.smurfmatic.net and also used on French national television: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOgqobWb9Q0

    I saw the election results data per polling station, but did not know the existence of equivalent geographical data. Do you know if that’s publicly available?

    There’s a fantastic potential into mapping real useful data such as these onto the real geographical world. It seems like a map is sometimes worth a thousand words!

    -Cedric

  13. “gabby is president of the flat earth society a reformatort subsidiary …LOL”
    As usual, Terry1, you're way off the mark.
    Of the “flat-out-truth society,” maybe.

    But, have you forgotten ?…
    I’m “the lone reformatory” left in QC, as you’ve described me time and again, so you are contradicting yourself yet again.
    If I’m “lone” how can I head a society, i.e. a group of people?
    See how nonsensical and flawed your statements are, not to mention your childish name-calling?

    BTW, you’ve been making a mistake for some time now, writing “reformatort instead of reformatory.
    You can’t even keep that simplistic tag straight. 😀

  14. the Flat earth society has only one member left was my point.

    Reformatort suits the Harpo cons because of their penchant to sue whehnt hey wan tto bully people into silence over their misdeeds.

  15. The riding boundaries are one thing – but it is the poll boundaries that are more impressive.

    Does Elections Canada charge you for the data they sent you? How much?

    I’m an amateur, but I’m interested in getting this done for Saskatchewan provincial election results. What product did you use to convert into the long/lat data?

    Cheers,

  16. The riding boundaries are one thing – but it is the poll boundaries that are more impressive.

    Does Elections Canada charge you for the data they sent you? How much?

    I’m an amateur, but I’m interested in getting this done for Saskatchewan provincial election results. What product did you use to convert into the long/lat data?

    Cheers,

  17. The riding boundaries are one thing – but it is the poll boundaries that are more impressive.

    Does Elections Canada charge you for the data they sent you? How much?

    I’m an amateur, but I’m interested in getting this done for Saskatchewan provincial election results. What product did you use to convert into the long/lat data?

    Cheers,

  18. Having worked in many election campaigns, I know first hand how import poll maps are.
    Too many times we had errors in the maps etc. To simply use your computer to verify things
    is awsome. Great j0b.

  19. While I found these off topics annoying and many times wished they could just be removed, I wonder as some others have done, if we should not let Terry1 continues.
    It's the best way to show what the LPC stands for.

  20. Stephen; I'm not a techie but I do understand the value of mapping. I have created a numerical database for our Riding, Esquimalt-Juan deFuca, giving the rankings of the votes of 2008 Gen. Election, using E.C. data.
    The challenge I've been unable to win thus far, is to translate the database into a colour-coding of individual polls.

    Paul Holmes directed me to your site and I would value discussing this issue with you.

  21. Stephen; I'm not a techie but I do understand the value of mapping. I have created a numerical database for our Riding, Esquimalt-Juan deFuca, giving the rankings of the votes of 2008 Gen. Election, using E.C. data.
    The challenge I've been unable to win thus far, is to translate the database into a colour-coding of individual polls.

    Paul Holmes directed me to your site and I would value discussing this issue with you.

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