Monday, September 2, 2013

Mapping federal election 2013 Pt2

In preparation for the election day, Sydney Morning Herald has created an interactive presentation featuring a map with current electoral boundaries coloured according to the party of incumbent candidate. Click on the electorate polygon brings information about the sitting Member of Parliament, including swing statistics from the last election in 2010 and indication how safe is their seat. Presented below the map is a summary of demographic statistics for the electorate (based on Census 2011 data).

To be picky, it could be argued that the map does not reflect the situation correctly because it presents current version of electoral boundaries (ie. those applying to September 7 election and afterwards) with information about the “old sitting members” (including Julia Gillard and several other Members of Parliament who are not contesting their seats in 2013 election). Creating this map was possible only because the latest redistribution of electoral boundaries did not include name changes for the electorates, hence allowing for this “artificial compilation”. It would be a different story if this map presented candidates for Members of Parliament...

This is a perfect example where making a map “because you can” does not necessary equate with “adding value” to the information. This is quite an innocent example but map creators have to be wary that in many circumstances the consequences of “messing with spatial data” may be quite perilous. Only when this map is updated with post-September 7 results it will be able to be considered a nice example of presenting complex information using spatial tools and interactive graphics. For now, it is a big fail for SMH data journalism!

Related Posts:
Mapping 2013 federal election results
Map adds sizzle to elections

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