Where are Obama and McCain off to today?

How to track the candidates' locations online.

Published October 21, 2008 4:45PM (EDT)

Over the weekend, blogging pioneer Dave Winer put up a Google Maps mash-up that tracks the locations of where the candidates are going as they hopscotch around the country in the run-up to Nov. 4.

He writes:

As an experiment in social computing, and because I'd like to see where the candidates have been and where they're going, I've started a map on Google that's open for anyone to add items to that's meant to show where the candidates are.

Not surprisingly, the maps reveals what we all knew in our gut, which is that the candidates are largely spending their time in battleground states like Florida, North Carolina, Missouri, Ohio and Colorado. Big states, like California and Texas, are largely ignored.

As best I can tell, this is one of the few campaign maps that is still being updated that attempts to aggregate over time various campaign events.

In addition to Winer's map, Slate had started a really nice one, but abandoned it in March also has a truly fantastic online map, with a much cleaner and more elegant interface. (I intially had thought that Slate's was defunct, but was corrected by Slate's editor, David Plotz. My apologies.) 

The New York Times had another one, but stopped after the end of July.

The Washington Post also has an online map, but it's a little hard to tell how to zoom in (double-click) or zoom out (option double-click), and it's done day by day, instead of cumulatively over time.

While it's often said that the Internet breaks down geography, or renders geography obsolete -- it actually doesn't always -- the Internet is one of the best ways to appreciate and understand geographic information in a new way, especially in the age of Google Maps mash-ups, where one can combine mapping with sets of data to better understand urban crime statistics, where apartments are and, heck, even where to hook up.

And in what's purely an exercise in political map geekery, about two years ago, Robert Kosara created "The Traveling Presidential Candidate Map," which traces how you would go all over the lower 48 (hitting every ZIP Code) as quickly as possible, a distance of 408,589.32 kilometers, or 253,885.63 miles.

What have you been able to glean from checking out the candidates' (and their V.P. picks' and spouses') trips plotted on a map?

By Cyrus Farivar

MORE FROM Cyrus Farivar

Related Topics ------------------------------------------