About the Atlas
Written and maintained by David Leip

Home State:Massachusetts - originally from upstate New York
Age:32
Political Experience:None
Professional Experience:Electrical design engineer at Teradyne 1994-2006; LTX Corp. 2006-pres
Military Experience:None
Education: MIT BS in EE 1992; MIT MS in EE 1994

History

Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections was started as a paper hobby after the 1992 Presidential Election. I was 22 and attending graduate school at MIT. I made a photocopy of a U.S. map (with county boundaries) from one of the libraries and filled in counties with colored pen according to the winner. There were only two percentage points - above 45% and below 45%. I used the data for Perot, Clinton, and Bush that was published in the 1993 World Almanac and Book of Facts (there were no minor party data).


hand-made map

After I bought my first computer in 1992 (the Macintosh Centris 610), I acquired a clip-art U.S. map with state boundaries only. I experimented with making some national results maps. However, everything was confined to my lone computer and viewed only on the small screen. I graduated, moved on to a job, finished my longstanding other hobby, solar car racing, and then it happened! My introduction to publishing on the world-wide web. Contrary to Al Gore's statements, the "information superhighway" has been around for some time in the form of email, ftp, and telenet (my introduction was in 1988 and it was ubiquitous during my six years at MIT - in the form of a UNIX network). But the web browser changed everything.

It was several years, however, after the appearance of the web browser before I was introduced to html programming. By 1997, I was off and running. I began with the 1996 election, acquiring data from as many on-line sources as I could. These turned out to be Secretary of State offices who published election data. However, most of the states did not have election results on-line prior to 1996. Therefore, I began writing to them - and they have been very helpful, sending me photocopies of the published data. I then type the data into Excel. I use Excel as a tool to produce the pie charts and help me to build the county-level maps. However, there is no automated system to produce the maps. Much of the work is done by hand. I built the blank county outline maps, designed the interface, and created the graphics.

The site was originally hosted at MIT. After graduating and losing my account status there, I moved the site to a Linux server some friends were hosting. After about two years of work, I moved the site to its own URL, uselectionatlas.org

Notes, Tidbits, and Facts

  • The site is entirely built with a Macintosh. I have a G3 now to replace the old Centris made with mac
  • I provide all the funding and time to maintain this site. If you would like to support this effort, check out the store
  • As of November, 2002, the site has had over a half-million visitors!

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© David Leip 2008 All Rights Reserved