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Map of U.S. $$ Contributions by zip

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#1
Matthew Hampton

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I wasn't sure whether this should go into Interesting links or not -

I just bumped into a site that maps individual Democratic and Republican campaign contributions by zip code.

The resulting charts show the percentage of registered dems/reps and then the percentage of $$ contributions by party. It seems to scrape data from www.fundrace.org.

Then it spits out a map showing the locations of the contributors and their address locations through a GoogleMaps mashup.

Oregon Metro - Portland, OR
www.oregonmetro.gov


#2
merft

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I wasn't sure whether this should go into Interesting links or not -

I just bumped into a site that maps individual Democratic and Republican campaign contributions by zip code.

The resulting charts show the percentage of registered dems/reps and then the percentage of $$ contributions by party.  It seems to scrape data from www.fundrace.org. 

Then it spits out a map showing the locations of the contributors and their address locations through a GoogleMaps mashup.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Neat idea, but I think it is a poor example of cartographic expression and moral control. In my view it fails to classify or simplify. The amount of information presented is unncessary and meant only to aggrevate (eventhough I am sure it can be hidden behind pure information). This is where freedom of information starts to step on freedom. Honestly, my first thought was, "lets go egging."

Do we really need to now WHO contributed HOW MUCH and exactly where they live? I think this is an example of taking a step beyond what is necessary information. It is really necessary to display someone's name and address to convey this information? Why not just color code the donation by party and use graduated symbols for the donation amount?

It is not that I am out to censor information, but as cartographers we need to be aware of the information we are providing. We can't sit and complain about identity theft when we are providing information that can be the basis for targeting individuals. We need to be responsible about how and what we illustrate and communicate.

Thanks for the link (good or bad),
-Tom

#3
Rob

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As Tom said, for good or bad, for better or for worse... These types of things are starting to become more and more popular. Sex offenders, political contributions, closing house prices, etc.

I'd add two comments. First, part of me thinks that this is, and has been, publicly available data and anyone who ever wanted it could always have access to it. Mapping it only makes it easier to comprehend, in effect turn it into information. In the sex offender case that seems to be a good thing. Others I don't know, but I don't think they are inheriently bad (especailly during an egging campaign strategy session...) Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I think this points to a future dichotomy between cartography and "mapping". With google mashups anyone can "map" any geocoded data, but most of the principles of cartography are ignored. And because of that the information is really only useful at a large scale and restricts meaningful analysis at other scales. In this regard a google masher will just dump the data while a cartographer has more latitude (no pun here) to apply a strategy that better handles the information and what it ultimately should/could convey.

just my $.02.

rj

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Martin Gamache

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In the sex offender case that seems to be a good thing.

just my $.02.

rj

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


As a society we need to have a debate about whether we want sex offenders to be treated differently than other citizens. I'm not against some information being available to some people, but the way these laws have been interpreted differently by every state has lead to some terrible things happening which I would argue are worst than the original crimes.

Right now people are getting killed randomly for sometimes very minor crimes because it has arbitrarily been decided that partial information about their crimes can be spread everywhere.

If we want the death penalty or a lifetime of house arest for sex offenders lets do it through the judicial system like every other crime not through mis-informed renegade law enforcement guided by innacurate internet lists. It is a very bad precedent for a society to embark upon.

In school I was though to differentiate between data and information, mostly what I see on internet mashups is the former, and the danger is that it becomes mis-information unless it is properly vetted.

mg

#5
Dennis McClendon

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Mashups are a theme for this fall's NACIS conference, and a session or roundtable on this topic (data vs. information, cartography vs. mapping) might be very interesting. Only a few days remain until the deadline for presentations, though.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#6
Rob

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It's a modern day scarlet letter for sure.

Obviously the intent isn't renegade law enforcement, but to let people know the location of predatory criminals that are known to have high rates of recidivism and some of which have the propensity to target children. I think a societal debate has been ongoing, and would argue that it has affirmed that publishing such data is worthwhile, which is why it is currently available in many states.

#7
merft

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It's a modern day scarlet letter for sure.

Obviously the intent isn't renegade law enforcement, but to let people know the location of predatory criminals that are known to have high rates of recidivism and some of which have the propensity to target children.  I think a societal debate has been ongoing, and would argue that it has affirmed that publishing such data is worthwhile, which is why it is currently available in many states.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


But the intent of a map is moot, it is how the map is used. If I were to publish a map of sexual offenders and that map was used to locate and assault that person, would I be liable for the injuries incurred? Why is it in our society that locations of cultural or sensitive species are kept more secure than my home address, how much I paid for my house, what my income is, what political party I donate to, my criminal record?

I guess my question is what are our ethical standards as cartographers? I read several papers and books on the issue, even took a course in college titled "Ethical Cartography", but all these tend to focus on after-the-fact examples. Very few lay out at what point information should be censored/generalized whatever you want to call it. Maybe with the plethora of information available, with general access to geographic exploration systems, that it is time to develop an ethical standard by which data is presented? Maybe not?

-Tom

#8
Rob

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I guess my question is what are our ethical standards as cartographers?


I think this in part gets to what I was trying to point out earlier: That google mashers and cartographers will approach the matter differently, the later hopefully trying to draw some insight out of the data and with a sensitivity, if needed, to any potential subjects.

#9
benbakelaar

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This would be a great topic for a research paper. Problem is, I find several of these topics every month that I'd like to research :) I'll let you all know if I end up starting a draft though!




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