2008 Election Graphics Software

The final version of the 6-column graphic

I was the architect and implementor of the entire software system responsible for generating and delivering the AP election maps graphics for print newspapers.

The primary elements of the system included:

I also worked in an editorial capacity to define the content of these graphics with the AP Graphics staff:

  • We handled data for all major races and some special elections.
  • We created separate GIS projections for the US and every state.
  • We created 56 templates for the system.
  • Graphics included map coloration, graph and chart generation, and dynamic label placement.

On the night of the election we worked around the clock to deliver the election coverage:

  • My software generated around 11,000 print-ready PDFs.
  • Using the editorial interface, 409 were selected for transmission to AP members based on newsworthiness.
  • Each complete cycle (raw data to 56 final PDFs) took 3.5 minutes.
  • PDF creation was performed in parallel on an 3 Ghz 8-core machine with 16 GB of RAM.
  • The data was fully archived and a complete data audit trail created.
All systems operated smoothly. Only two glitches occured:
  • One Spanish-language template was populated with English labels instead of Spanish and had to be hand-edited before transmission.
  • By late the following morning, network performance of the systems had degraded noticeably. The problem was solved by moving the prior night’s data offline.

This project’s template-based workflow is based on my SuperGraphics framework. This software allows SVG templates to be read into a DOM, modified, and output in a number of formats. SuperGraphics has advanced text handling features such as font and glyph metrics and word wrap with hyphenation.

Monitoring and verification is performed from the editorial front-end of the election graphics software

All 56 maps and graphics

California’s state results graphics

Florida’s state results graphics

Screen shot of the server component


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