Hello, Future Wiki!
Welcome to my newest blog series. I wanted something I could do here. Those of you on the discord have seen me occasionally post maps in your channels- so I figured that it would be a good series to make tutorials on how I make certain types of maps and offer to help people make them for themselves.
On this edition, we're going to go over how to make an election result map with margins. Like the ones you see on wikipedia articles with the vote percentage in each county.
On the right is an example of what I'm talking about- that one is Wikipedia's county by county breakdown of the 2016 Presidential Election. Maps like these on your pages will help make your election pages look more realistic, and show where certain parties are dominant over others. But how do I make them, and how can you make a similar map?
First step is to download this map on the left. It is very high quality, and may be a little large, but it fares very well in uploading here and anywhere else. In addition to this map, you will need a photo editor. I use Microsoft Paint for these, so if you have that available to you, then use it. I have not tried doing these maps on Paint.NET/Gimp and other photo editing programs, but I guess it's worth following the steps and seeing if it works out.
Once you have that map downloaded, you should open it in your photo editor.
The next crucial piece is to have the colors for every set percentage of votes. Wikipedia uses a color for 40,50,60,70,80, and 90 percent of each candidate. In that case, you'll need to know these colors for both the Democratic side and the Republican side to make these maps. I don't keep the third party colors stored, but if you need a third party, you can always go into wikipedia and use a color finder (Paint.NET has one) to get the colors for them.
Anyway, I've spared y'all some trouble and found the colors for 90% Democrat to 90% Republican. There are two different ways these colors are set up- RGB (used for Microsoft Paint) and hex code (used for other photo editors). Please save this list somewhere, you'll need it.
DEMOCRAT 90- 0,43,132 RGB (#002B84)
DEMOCRAT 80- 6,69,180 RGB (#0645B4)
DEMOCRAT 70- 22,102,203 RGB (#1666CB)
DEMOCRAT 60- 67,137,227 RGB (#4389E3)
DEMOCRAT 50- 134,182,242 RGB (#86B6F2)
DEMOCRAT 40- 185,215,255 RGB (#B9D7FF)
REPUBLICAN 40- 249,179,190 RGB (#F2B3BE)
REPUBLICAN 50- 226,127,144 RGB (#E27F90)
REPUBLICAN 60- 204,47,74 RGB (#CC2F4A)
REPUBLICAN 70- 212,0,0 RGB (#D40000)
REPUBLICAN 80- 170,0,0 RGB (#AA0000)
REPUBLICAN 90- 128,0,0 RGB (#800000)
Next, you'll color your map by filling counties with some of these colors. A knowledge of Geography is reccomended, if you need to know where something is, look it up to find the county it is in or use a county map for each state.
For our example, I'm going to map out a hypothetical Democratic victory in my home state (Kentucky) in the year 2050. In fact, it's the 2050 senate race on my congressional timeline that many of you on the discord also know about.
Here's an example of the previous step completed, with one state (the state I'm mapping an election for) colored with these margins. If you want to map a national election, of course, you should just color in every county. If you're doing a national election, you can stop after saving the completed map as a file and ta-da! A map! Also, anything beyond this is basically aestetics, so it's up to you what to do. We all have our own styles and I'm not going to tell you how it has to be done. Personally though, I strive for maps that are clean, high quality, and easy on the eyes. If you want to see how I do it, then keep reading, otherwise you can stop here by virtue of knowing everything you "need" to.
If you're doing a state election, you might want to crop to the state you've mapped. Kentucky being all tiny like that on a template or on a page isn't going to be much help to the reader!
On Microsoft Paint, you use the "select" tool and then fit the state into a square, in which you can fit it into a new image. It's similar on Paint.NET. If you have something else, you probably know it better than I do, so just know how to crop it down.
Over to the right is the map cropped to the state I've colored in. It definitely looks much better at this scale. But there's another thing I want to do... the counties of the other states in the background just feels... clunky, doesn't it? You can cut off the county edges using a brush or eraser.
Here is that map with the external county lines removed. Much cleaner background. Another thing that a prospective reader will find helpful is to have a key- maps can tell you so much, but simultaneously so little with a lack of context. So I'm going to add a key to mine. I don't care how you add your key- you could make a bar off to the side, you could stick one at the Bottom, you could tuck it in a corner- I don't mind! Be creative with it! If you're doing a key though, the reader should probably be able to read it.
And just like that, you now have your finished product. Cool stuff, right?
Hopefully this tutorial was of help to you.
If you have any questions about this tutorial, or need help making a map, you can send me a message on my message wall here on wikia or by sending me a message on discord to the account Dane#0635 . I'll try my best to get back with you as soon as possible.