I'm sure it is all about point of view, but... it looks to me like small signs of civilization in a vast waste land.
Tho, I do think the picture is "rigged". The color used to indicate the republican votes does not show relief very well. At first glance the "red" vote looks pretty flat. You have to look really hard to see the *shadows* from the raised levels.
If you look at the shadows (for both red and blue) you start to notice something very strange... they are all on the "eye" side! So, looking west you see the shadow side of the raised features... and, looking east also shows you the shadow side.
That is not right.