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March 19, 2013

Integrity Deploys Worst Map Ever

The word “interactive” lost all meaning to software designers around about, oh, 1996, and this map from Integrity shows why. It’s advertised as an “interactive” map showing the status of the Episcopal Church’s dioceses as regards same-sex blessings. Now the awfulness of the data the map is designed to show aside, this is a horrible implementation of Google Maps; perhaps one of the worst I’ve ever seen.

For one, look at the pins. What’s the first thing the brain does when the eyes see pins on a map? It instantly makes two assumptions: One, that the pins are pointing to something specific, and two, that the more dense the pins in a particular area, the higher the incidence of whatever datum the map is illustrating.

Neither of those are true here, and it gets worse. There are three SSB statuses: Yes, No, and Unknown. When you click on a pin, you get a popup that shows the name of the diocese and its status.

Ah but wait: The pins are color-coded, which makes the popups pointless, other than to indicate exactly which diocese the pin is pointing to.

Only… the pins don’t point to dioceses. Many just point to random coordinates within a diocese. Take Mississippi, for example: Its pin doesn’t point to the see city of Jackson, or even to a parish that has done a same-sex blessing. It points to an empty field somewhere between Lexington and Durant, where, I assure you, there is not only not an Episcopal church, but no one for dozens of miles who’s even vaguely supportive of same-sex blessings.

If you want to show which dioceses in the Episcopal Church allow same-sex blessings, you do one of two things: You make a 3-column list, one for each status, and list the dioceses in alphabetical order inside the column that indicates the status of each; or, you create a map on which you shade the outline of each diocese in one of three colors which indicates its status. Perhaps the worst thing you can is what Integrity has done - drop pins in the middle of pastures which, when clicked, give you the same information conveyed by the color of the pin itself.

Again, the data it’s trying to convey quite aside, this map is an offense against good taste and decency. I suppose if I didn’t expect more in the way of style and panache from teh gheyz at Integrity it wouldn’t bother me so much.

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My husband and I were just saying last night that it would be so much more helpful to have a provincial map with outlines of the dioceses and then color code that map.

[1] Posted by periwinkle on 3-19-2013 at 09:20 AM · [top]

What information is provided by a pin that represents “unknown”? An unknown pin could probably be placed on Antarctica. Actually it means that the ‘research’ was incomplete. There should only be a yes or no pin.

[2] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-19-2013 at 10:40 AM · [top]


What will really be fun will be the little chart Greg eventually creates correlating the further “Percentage Of Plummet” [POP] in the ASA and membership in each diocese with the little SSU colored pin.

[3] Posted by Sarah on 3-19-2013 at 10:57 AM · [top]

There may be more going on in that pasture than meets the eye.

[4] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 3-19-2013 at 01:19 PM · [top]

Red means yes, blue means no, and green means unknown?  I think an alien life form must have designed the map.

[5] Posted by Ralinda on 3-19-2013 at 03:36 PM · [top]

#4. UGP,
“There may be more going on in that pasture than meets the eye.” No, just the usual B.S.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 3-19-2013 at 04:36 PM · [top]

Perhaps they could employ VGR to help?  He at least has nice shoes…

[7] Posted by B. Hunter on 3-19-2013 at 05:02 PM · [top]

“Take Mississippi, for example: Its pin doesn’t point to the see city of Jackson, or even to a parish that has done a same-sex blessing. It points to an empty field somewhere between Lexington and Durant….” I got a well-needed laugh. Thanks Greg.

[8] Posted by folchal on 3-21-2013 at 02:17 AM · [top]

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