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Electional Data · 2005-08-25

Sometimes public sector organisations annoy me. Here is the current german election related data 2005. The data is represented as a map. This map is, and here is the geek point, in Scalable Vector Graphic format (SVG). SVG is an open and documented standard to represent graphical data. Unfortunately it is not widely supported among browsers.

Up to this point everything is fine. A public sector organisation publishes its content in an open and documented standard. In this case, the standard is not supported widely. In fact there is only a browser plugin by Adobe. Well there are other programs not running with a browser, that process SVG. This is a fact that the Bundeswahlleiter does not seem to know because he does the following: From the linked startpage he directs you to a page that has no text content whatsoever, which refreshes every 3 seconds and only runs a chunk of javascript. If the script decides that your browser might not be able to display the map properly it concludes that your system as a whole is not able to process the map. In the end you will very likely end up on a page that describes, only in german of course, how to install Adobes SVG plugin. Those who are into webbased information technology will ask 'What is this?' and yes: 'What is this?' Please, Mister Bundeswahlleiter, do not try to outsmart your customers.

Ok, what I did was turning off javascript, have a look at the script sources to figure what the actual page is, the script leads you if it decides your browser is able to process SVG. Ok, for those, who end up on a help page, here is the actual .svgz file you are looking for:

Update 9:10 CEST: I changed the system. Now I'm running Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.7.7) with Adobe SVG Viewer plug-in version 3.01x88. Guess where the javascript sends me. To the 'how to install Adobe SVG Viewer' page. Of course, if I use the direct link the file is processed properly.

Update 11:50 CEST: Ooops, sorry they do provide the 'I know what i'm doing' link. I just did not realise it. My fault.

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