Seeing the 2012 Presidential Election Results in 3D

The 2012 Presidential Elections have come and gone, and many of us were transfixed by the myriad of visualizations, many in the form of maps, that were fed to us through the general media.  While many of these maps were of the 2D variety, it is well known that due to the high density urban areas in the country, juxtaposed against the low population density in the suburban areas, that the maps just don’t tell the entire story.  If you were to take the following 2D map, you would be hard pressed to make a case that Obama (blue) actually won the election:

Check out this tutorial on how to create this map

Another way to visualize the results of the election is by creating a 3D view of this map.  By “extruding” (the act of applying a “height” parameter) each county polygon based on the margin of victory, this visualization tells a different story than does the 2D map.  Take a look for yourself!

Here is the Google Earth (KMZ) file for this visualization