Mashups OpenLayers

Rise of the Colourful Circles – Election 2010 Visualisation


I’ve fixed and tidied up a visualisation I created back in 2010, which showed the results of that year’s General Election in the UK. Newer versions of OpenLayers had broken it (specifically the use of addUniqueValueRule with a custom context resulted in no circles appearing) and also the UI looked rather rudimentary. Now it has rounded corners, transparency, more spacing and a prettier font!

Although it was my first “coloured circles” visualisation (the Bike Share Map followed on from it a few months later when London’s system launched) it was my most sophisticated, with the circles having different coloured areas and borders, and changing in size – plus a view where the colour itself is calculated from the numeric values – select the “Constituency Colour” from the first pop-down.

The key benefit of the circles other the traditional “colour in the constituency” election map is that sparsely populated rural areas did not dominate the map. It also means that, when viewing the results from individual parties, that each pixel of each colour represents exactly the same number of votes – whether in central London or the Highlands of Scotland.

The background map is not great at all – a mess of greys and names. At the time, I was strictly keeping colour out of it, so that the only colour was the data being visualised. The early Bike Share Map also had the uninspiring background, with a dark grey river flowing past lighter grey lands. These days I’ve relented – a small amount of colour is OK, as long as the shades are pastel and appropriate, and the key data’s colours are vibrant.

You can see the map here.

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