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Obama Across America: Seeing the Big Picture

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 15 2008

With the election 20 days away, both major presidential campaigns are focusing more of their energies on the "ground game" of galvanizing their volunteer base and getting out the vote. Both campaigns' websites make it easy for supporters to search for upcoming events near them (Obama's Events page is here; McCain's is both on his home page and here), but the other night while playing around with both sites' tools, I discovered that Obama's campaign will also allow you to export the resulting list as a structured data file, which for the geeks in the audience is like manna from heaven. In particular, you can get a KML file, which is short for "Keyhole Markup Language"--which means you can easily put Obama's events on Google Earth.

From that realization, it wasn't far to this: a visualization of all of Obama's upcoming events (there are more than 10,000 I think) between now and Election Day:

I had some help from a few techie friends in making this, folks who would prefer to stay anonymous. No one from the Obama campaign was involved. I have put a request into the McCain campaign's internet staff for a download of their upcoming events, and we here at techPresident would be happy to make them an equally nice video showing their "big picture" if that data is forthcoming.

I'd also be happy to get all this data into Google Earth's "community layer," and if anyone wants to help, just get in touch via info-at-techpresident-dot-com. And in case you're wondering about our use of the Obama logo, just watch it as an homage to Stanley Kubrick.