Mapping and Visualization for Pakistan General Election 2018

Recently, the General Election 2018 was held in Pakistan. I was following with interest some of the mapping and visualization tools developed and used by different media outlets for communicating and consolidating the election results. Below I give a brief overview of the different visualizations used. Please note that these are just my personal views, and I am not a “GIS expert” per se to really comment on the technical tools and implementation. I am just giving my opinion from a user perspective and an EO scientist / professional.



Screenshot of DAWN Election Map

This was developed by DAWN GIS team and TPL Maps. I liked the layout and the map design; the map information is very detailed at different zoom levels. The idea of displaying election constituency labels by hovering over the areas was very nice. However, I feel that the map was not utilized to its full capacity. As a EO professional, I would have loved if DAWN would have used this map as a focus point for their election coverage, but instead it was relegated a bit to the side. Also, as you can see now, none of the election results are updated / available on this map, and it only shows the major candidates for each constituency. However, at the same time, they show the past election results in a nice graphical format, which was a good idea. The search functionality is also good.

Geo TV:


Screenshot of GEO election map

The Geo TV map-like output is good in that way it immediately lets the user see which party won which constituency through the color-coding. However, there is no color legend, not even in the table below showing the overall election results. Yes, there is a little bit color coding when we open the results from the top bar. But the effort needed a lot of contribution from a user-interface designer or someone similar. Also, I am not sure how much true “GIS” was used here. A good feature is when you click “details” it takes the user to another page with lot of details about the constituency.

BBC Urdu:

This map also uses the hover labeling as in the DAWN map; however the DAWN map hover is better as it also auto-highlights the constituency to give a better interactive response to the user. Furthermore, the map frame size is too small; would have been better to use the full page width. Both 2013 and 2018 election results are updated. The search functionality is useful. The color legend makes the map very user-friendly.


A unique and very interesting visualization by Plotree. I don’t know how much actual “GIS” is used here, for example there are no constituency boundaries, but perhaps this is a decision by the developers to not clutter with too much information. There are many unique and interesting visualisation features here, such as: the circle size shows vote margin for winner, just hovering over the circle shows succinct summary of voting details, using the filter can immediately show location-wise which parties have won more. None of the other maps have given a map for provincial elections, but Plotree maps give results of each province as well. There is also the District Wise Vote Share feature, which I invite the readers to explore themselves.

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About WQ

I received my PhD (2013) in Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Science at the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, under a Fulbright fellowship. Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Space Science at Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad, Pakistan, where I have been a founding member of the Geospatial Research & Education Lab (GREL). My general expertise is in Remote Sensing where I have worked with various remote sensing datasets through my career, while for my PhD thesis I specifically worked on Remote Sensing using SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and Oceanography, working extensively on development of techniques to measure ocean surface currents from space-borne SAR intensity images and interferometric data. My research interests are: Remote sensing, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery and interferometric data processing & analysis, Visible/Infrared/High-resolution satellite image processing & analysis, Oceanography, Earth system study and modelling, LIDAR data processing and analysis, Scientific programming. I am a reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Geoscience & Remote Sensing, Forest Ecosystems, GIScience & Remote Sensing, Journal of African Earth Sciences, and Italian Journal of Agronomy. I am an alumnus of Pakistan National Physics Talent Contest (NPTC), an alumnus of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, a Fulbright alumnus, and the Pakistan National Point of Contact for Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). I was an invited speaker at the TEDxIslamabad event held in Nov., 2014. I've served as mentor in the NASA International Space App Challenge Islamabad events in April 2015 and April 2016.

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