Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish Referendum Results Maps

There are quite a few maps around today showing the results of the Scottish Referendum. Most of the maps, such as these maps by City A.M. and CTV News, decided to show the results by simply shading electoral regions using two different colors, to indicate areas where voters voted 'Yes' and where voters voted 'No'.

This approach works well in showing the overall vote in each electoral region. However because there is a wide variation in the number of voters in each region this approach fails to show the size of the voting population in each region. In fact this approach could actually be quite misleading.

For example in the map pictured above, the 'Yes' vote in Glasgow looks fairly small compared to the 'No' vote in the Scottish Border simply because the Scottish Borders is a far bigger geographical area. In fact however Glasgow has 486,219 registered voters, compared to the 95,533 voters in the Scottish Borders.

As it turns out the huge numbers of regions voting 'No' compared to the very few regions voting 'Yes' means that this approach doesn't really distort the overall picture. If the vote had been closer however this approach could have been quite misleading.

The only map which I have seen which attempts to account for the number of voters in each region was Oliver O'Brien's Scottish Referendum Data Map. The Scottish Referendum Data Map uses different sized circular markers to represent the registered voting population in each electoral region.

The Scottish Referendum Data Map also attempts to show the percentage differences in the vote cast in each electoral region by using a color scale ranging from bright red for a high percentage of no votes to bright blue for a high percentage of blue votes.

BBC Scotland has mapped what people have been saying about Scottish Independence around the world. Using the Google Maps API the BBC has mapped Twitter messages containing the hashtag #'indyref'. The Tweets were sent between the opening of the polls at 7 am on 18 September, and the announcement of the decision this morning.

Using the BBC's Tweetmap you can see when and where people tweeted around the world. You can even click on the map makers to see what people had to say.

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