Let's Talk About That Interactive Election Map on CNN

There’s nothing wrong about asking a coworker their thoughts about a presidential election…but in true Inphantry fashion this morning, our political conversations quickly (and I mean quickly turned into something else).

‘….but did you see that interactive map John King was using? THAT WAS AMAZING!’ 

Yeah…this one. With about 10,000 counties that John King knew every single detail about.


For about 15 minutes we all gossiped about how badass of an interactive map the CNN staff were using during the election results last night. Granted, it was a crazy election night for everyone across the country…but from an agency perspective (where we design a lot of tactile tables, interfaces, displays etc) the screen John King was interacting with was….INSANE.

Here are some more photos of it…



Let’s break it down…this thing was a beast. The amount of functionality alone It had to have in its back end must be nuts. The amount of interactivity, databases, color schemes and SHEER CONTENT alone must be terabytes of data. I don’t even want to start thinking about what it took to build this sort of thing. It turns out, our Executive Producer, Paul was always thinking deeply about this tactile board too. So much so, our conversation lasted about 15 minutes about how John King was at it for literally hours….his fingers and hands were moving at a thousand miles an hour through years of content that made us think he’s actually a machine.

Side note: John King is not a robot, but is actually from Boston. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

King was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He is of Irish descent. He attended Boston Latin School, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island. … On May 25, 2008, King married his second wife, fellow CNN anchor Dana Bash.

The more I thought about this damn board…the more I figured it had to be originally built for another use. Military perhaps, which is why when I got in this morning I started doing some digging….who made this thing and why the hell does CNN have one? 

Turns out, this ‘Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall’ was originally built for military use. Read this wikipedia page for more info on it. 

Or read this excerpt:

The Multi-Touch Collaboration Wall[2] is a large (81 inch width x 48 inch height[3]monitor invented by Jeff Han that employs multi-touch technology, and is marketed by Han’s company,[4] Perceptive Pixel.[2] Han initially developed the technology for military applications.[3] The wall has received most of its publicity because of its use by news network CNN during its coverage of the 2008 US Presidential election. Usually operated by John King, it is often referred to as CNN’s “Magic Wall”,[2][4][5][6] though it is now more commonly referred to by on-air personalities as the “Magic Map.”

Walls have been sold not only to CNN but to the US Military,[7] as well as other government agencies Han has not named.[8] The wall appeared in a catalog for upscale department store, Neiman Marcus.[1][8]

Which brings me to my next point….if all these military installations and related agencies have one, WHY THE HELL DOES CNN NEED IT? 

Obviously for the election results. Not to mention, John King is an absolute wizard on that thing. I’ve seen a lot of tactile displays in my life (and people using them) but none more badass and relentless than John King.

It’s really John King’s world and we’re just living in a pointless blue and red existence in it.

Bonus article: ‘John King is a ‘Wizard’ on the Magic Wall.’ 

Video of the day: ‘John King spends a last few quiet moments with his 2016 interactive map.’ 

P.S. Somebody get Jake Tapper away from John King’s smart displays.


P.P.S. If you’re interested in building or fabricating one of these, get ahold of us. We can definitely build a custom version of this for a product launch, activation, or retail purpose.

Email: base@inphantry.com