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Proportional map: federal land ownership

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#1
natcase

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I'm guessing many/most of you also browse the strange maps blog, but from a cartographic perspective, I was really struck by the elegance of the solution on this map. It looks like simple statistical maps from decades past, but somehow I've gotten so used to choropleth solutions for percentage or density, this would never have occurred to me. Brilliant and simple.

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Dale Sanderson

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...from a cartographic perspective, I was really struck by the elegance of the solution on this map. It looks like simple statistical maps from decades past, but somehow I've gotten so used to choropleth solutions for percentage or density, this would never have occurred to me. Brilliant and simple.


I agree that it's more striking than a chloropleth solution. However, there seems to be some sort of optical-illusion thing going on (at least in my head). When I look at states that are roughly 50% federally-owned (such as OR, ID, and AZ), it looks like more than 50% of those states are red. Intellectually I know this is because most of the area in a polygon is around the edges, but visually I have a hard time forcing my brain to see it that way.
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#3
frax

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I think the comparison between the states would be easier with squares or circles, but then you would lose one dimension - the difference between the red outline and the state size - but that is already represented in the figures.

I think it often helps to think about what the main message that the author wants to communicate in this piece is. Is it the geographic distribution of federal land? The comparison between states - relative and absolute? The ratio per state? Or all of them.

If you look at it - the top 10, bottom 10, lists on that web page are extremely powerful in informational content as well - and may be better in communicating some messages - or perhaps through a bar chart.
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