Mapping Political Events Using Territory Maps


Designed originally for mapping sales territories, media markets and service regions, the Graph Earth territory map is a flexible map type with a number of additional uses outside it's typical role in company sales departments.  As a means to explore this high level of flexibility (as well as some new Graph Earth features) this tutorial will provide a step-by-step guide for mapping political events using Graph Earth.  During this tutorial, we will...

  • Generate a KML Map of the 2012 Florida Republican Primary.
  • Embed 2D charts inside our 3D map.
  • Embed rich text descriptions inside our 3D map.
  • Not write ANY KML or HTML code.

System Requirements

In order to follow this tutorial, you will need to purchase a retail license of Graph Earth.  While most of the tutorials found on this site only require a trial license, this tutorial takes advantage of the counties data layer which is found only in a retail copy.  Additionally, you will need to meet all system requirements, which include a copy of Google Earth.  Although a number of applications support the OGC KML file standard used by Google Earth (such as ArcGIS Explorer), these applications are not recommended due to their lack of support for many of the HTML and CSS elements used by this application.

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Download Required Images and Documents

  • Create a folder called "Florida 2012"
  • Drag each image to your new folder, then save the "Republican Primary 2012 Florida - GE Tutorial.gef" file there as well.  Alternatively, you can download a zip file from the below link and extract the files to your new folder.


Republican Primary 2012 Florida - GE Tutorial.gef

or download all files in a single ZIP file:  Graph Earth 2012 Florida

Optional Files

Florida 2012 Republican Primary Results.kmz

Preparing the Territory Map

  • Open the supplied Republican Primary 2012 - GE Tutorial.gef file.  The columns should already be named for you.  The most important columns will be the first 3:  County Name, State Name and Winning Candidate

Open Graph Earth File

  • In the main menu bar, click:  Map -> Territory to bring up the Territory Map window.
  • Since we are mapping by County, set the Region Type to County.  Be careful not to confuse with Country.
  • Select the appropriate column names (as seen below) for Region Column Name, Territory Column Name and Additional Field.
*  Region Column Name - Spreadsheet column that contains the name of the region being mapped.  Since this is a map by county, this column will contain the name of each county in the state of Florida.
*  Territory Column Name - This column contains the name of the territory being mapped.  If this was a sales territory map, it would contain the names of sales people, or sales regions.  In the case of this political map, it will contain the names of candidates who won counties during the 2012 Florida Republican Primary.
*  Additional Field -  This column appears in cases where more than one value is required to identify a region.  Typically County and City maps.  While there may be only one "Baker County" in Florida, there are many more counties in other states with the same name.  As such, we have to tell Graph Earth which state we are talking about so it can get the appropriate county boundaries from it's geo-database.
  • You will notice a list of each candidate in the center of the window.  Click the "Select" button next to Governor Gary Johnson's name to bring up the Image Select Dialog.
  • Navigate to the appropriate image for the governor in your "Florida 2012" folder or alternatively, select any image you would like from your computer.
  • Repeat this step for each candidate on the list.  Remember to use the scroll bar on the right to see all candidates.  Although only Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich won counties, we included Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Gary Johnson for completeness.
*  Not all images used in this tutorial are of the same type.  Graph Earth supports a wide variety of image formats, including but not limited to:  .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, and .tif
  • Click on Governor Mitt Romney's name to select him.
  • Use the up arrow to move the Governor to the top of the list.  This will change the order in which his image appears in our map's legend.  In our example, we have chosen to order candidates by the total number of votes they won in the state of Florida, however you may order the candidates by any method you choose.  In our example the order was as follows:  Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Gary Johnson.
change order of candidates
  • Click the colored button next to Senator Romney's name.  This will Bring up the Color Selector tool.
  • Choos the desired color, then click "Ok".
  • Repeat this process for each candidate until you are satisfied.  Often the best colors are those that provide the greatest contrast between regions.
  • Click the "Legend /Title" button to bring up the Legend / Title / Logo window.
  • Edit the title and heading boxes according to the image below.
  • Use the "Select Font" buttons to bring up the font window for each field you wish to change.  For Title, we changed the style to bold, for Heading, we changed the size to 10pt.
*  At any time, you can click the preview button to bring up a legend preview.  This preview will change in real time as you make changes to the various settings such as border, opacity, background color, image size, etc.
  • Next, click the "Title" tab at the top of the Legend / Title / Logo window.
  • Change the text of the title to "2012 Republican Primary:  Florida" as seen in the image below.
  • Feel free to experiment with background colors, opacity as well as other fonts.
  • When you re finished, Click "Ok" to close the window and return to the Territory Map window.
At this point, you should be able to select a file name, then click "Create Map" to create and view your new Google Earth Territory Map.  When the software is done writing your KML file, it will automatically launch Google Earth so you can view the results of your work.

(Optional)Adding 2D Charts and Rich Text Descriptions
  • If you chose to create your map (render your kml file), you will have been returned to your spreadsheet.  Click Map->Territory Map to return to the territory map window.  All of your previous selections and settings will have been preserved.
  • Inside the Territory Map window, click the "Placemarks" button.
  • Here, you will see the embedded charts tab.  Click the "New Chart" button.
  • Change the settings to match the image below.  You may wish to experiment with your own custom sizes, title and font.
Embedding Google Charts
  • To enter the data necessary for your chart, click the workpad Icon. Workpad Icon
  • You should now be viewing the workpad editor.  The workpad is a small spreadsheet designed specifically for creating yoru embedded charts.  Simply enter the values for your chart similar to the image below.  Then click and drag to highlight the data you wish to use.
Embedded Chart Workpad
  • When you are done, simply click the "Ok" button.
  • Click the "Add Chart" button to add the chart to your spreadsheet, you should see both a preview of the chart in the preview window and a the name of the chart in the "Current Charts" list.
  • Repeat for each chart you wish to add.
Complete Embedded Chart
  • Click the "Descriptions" tab at the top of the page.
  • Select the region you wish to enter a description for, then enter the description in the middle text box.  Use the formatting options at the top to change font size, and bold or italics.  In this case, we simply copied and pasted the demographics section from the Wikipedia entry for Alachua County, Florida.  Text that appears in this box will only be rendered for the selected region.
  • Enter a header or footer if you wish.  Text that appears in these boxes will be rendered for each region in your map.
Adding Rich Text Descriptions
  • Repeat for each region you wish to have a text description.  When you are done, simply click the "Close" button.
  • Click the "Create Map" button to render your kml file.  (Map)
  • The file will automatically open in Google Earth and should appear similar to the below.
Finished Territory Map
  • Click on an individual county to see the embedded charts and descriptions you placed there.
Rich Charts and Descriptions
When you are finished, you can send this KML file* to anyone, all that is necessary is a copy of Google Earth to view the finished product.
*You may notice that the resulting file carries the extension .kmz.  This is simply a compressed (zipped) .kml file.

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