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August 25, 2008

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'Cinematic Maps' Animate Historical Election Data

By Jeffrey R. Young
From The Chronicle of Higher Education

Borrowing a technique from Hollywood, historians at the University of Richmond have created animated maps that chart voting patterns in U.S. presidential elections since 1840.

The maps show county-by-county data for every major election year in which data are available, and that information shifts over time. One map, for example, highlights counties where the victor won by only a small margin. It reveals how "battleground states" have changed over the years. The maps are displayed as video montages, with each election year shown sequentially. A slow-fade effect—that's the Hollywood-inspired part—is used between maps, which helps highlight the changes.

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