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Wisconsin Badger Recruiting Flow Map

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#1
zforest

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This is my first post here, but I've been lurking around for a while and have learned quite a bit from you guys. This is my final project for Introduction to Cartography at the University of Wisconsin. The (hypothetical) intended audience is either hardcore fans (as in a stadium program) or perhaps scouts (as in some kind of scouting journal).

I'm interested in any general design/layout critiques you might have as well as any glaring errors I've overlooked. This is due in a few days so any huge problems will probably not be fixed. I'm also pretty set on this symbology, since I put a fair amount of time into the flow lines already.

It will be printed in color on a tabloid sheet. I'm working in Illustrator CS2.

Thanks in advance for your help.

LINK to PDF (300KB): Badger Recruiting Flow Map
Zachary Forest Johnson
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indiemaps.com/blog

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Some comments:

- Why not a breakdown of in-state vs out-of-state recruiting instead of the pie chart you have now. The numbers for out-of-state can already be read from the width of the arrows.
- I think the colored arrows are a bit too much. Sticking to one, bold, color will help make the map more readable.
- Interesting scale bar and north arrow, but it did take me a 2nd look to get it. Also, one could argue they're not really relevant in this case.
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#3
Kartograph

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Very nice!

some comments:

-Try to form an arrow only with two points, by using the "grab lines" when you click on an endpoint. they wil run much smother and will look more professional. Now you have arrows made out of multiple points.

-you have a colour hierarchy problem; arrows and baseamap are pastel-like but the rest is very fresh and bright. chose one and stick to this kind. Elsewise the bright colours dominate.

- don´t do the white bordering; only necessary if shapes get distorted like text crossing a river or other lines. Your arrows are big enough, no need for it.

keep up the good work

Andreas

#4
frax

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I would question what additional information you actually get by presenting it in the map (more than glitz).
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#5
Dennis McClendon

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A bunch of things to consider:

Consider using a background for the whole page, which would allow you to do more sophisticated things with the headline, the roster, and the circular inset, so they didn’t need to be outlined. It could be light gray or khaki or even blue-gray. Alternatively, you could make the US map khaki with white boundaries.

The helmet loses its impact right next to the pie chart. Why not put it to the left of the headline?

Put the numbers directly on the flow lines, allowing you to dispense with the flow thickness key.

The north arrow and scale are too cute. Do they really serve a purpose on this map? Plus, the north arrow isn’t accurate. For a conic projection like this, you should rotate it so the Kansas-Missouri border is straight. I find the wandering state names (some go uphill, some go downhill) distracting.

Your numbers are few enough on the Wisconsin inset to abandon the graduated circles. Just put the right number of dots in the counties. And how does the choropleth shading differ from the number of recruits? Are the differences in high-school age population among Wisconsin counties really that significant?

Add Wisconsin into the pie chart, so that a flow line from the Wisconsin inset also ends up there. That way you see at a glance the makeup of the team. Try using white outlines for the pie chart instead of black, so the slices float above the map.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#6
zforest

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Thanks for the constructive criticism. I will likely be able to implement many of the suggested changes.

Frax, I too have questioned the utility or point of this map, but the time for such questioning has passed. No turning back. That said, I do believe the map presents the data better than a simple chart would: it shows just how much of the country is left out of our recruiting scheme. Further, it shows how far-away states like Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey provide a large percentage of our recruits.

I'll probably stick with the dual symbolization of in-state recruits. At 100%, it shows that Milwaukee county, though a large provider of recruits, is not that big of a provider, when its huge high school population is taken into account. The pattern is similarly interesting for other counties. I worry that a dot map of recruits would not show up well over the choropleth at this scale.

Finally, yeah, I'll get rid of the scale. But I'm keepin' the north arrow.

Thanks again,

Zach
Zachary Forest Johnson
Cartographer and Software Engineer


indiemaps.com/blog

#7
Pete Y.

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I like this design.

I would consider eliminating state names entirely unless you think your particular audience might need them. If your intent is to show the geographic scale and distance of recruitment, then the actual state doesn't matter, as long as people see the regional pattern.
Otherwise, maybe go with the postal code (i.e. "MT" for Montana) or the abbreviation (i.e. "Colo." for Colorado) and make the text a bit more visually recessive (maybe one shade of grey lighter). And orient them all east/west (with the lines of latitude).

I like chicarto's idea of a light background for the whole page. You could then eliminate distracting linework and set off the inset map and roster with another light hue.

Consider using slightly thinner lines for both the state and county boundaries, and using the same line weight/color for both.

Also, a minor point: on the red and lavender arrows, are you using white casing to set them off from the blue arrows? That looks a little distracting, and it seems you could go without any casing and they would look fine.

Nicely done, overall.

#8
Matthew Hampton

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There are lots of good responses. I think moving the helmet to the left and using a soft background color would help a lot.

With regard to the colored lines (this palette of qualitative colors is particularly distracting), I would cut the number of colors down. You might just use 5 hues and perhaps aggreagate the data into regions similar to the large "Midwest" region you already have. West, SW, SE, E, Midwest? If you wanted further differentiation use different tones of the same hue.

Your use of both a drop shadow and white-masking is too distracting.

I like that you use the Badger color in your starter list, and think you ought to carry it down to the In-State Recuiting chloropleth map too.

To make this simpler to read I suggest ditching the arrow. Instead of using the the arrows, you could just make a chloropleth out of the states and include the raw numbers. Include in-state recruiting in the chloropleth and Wisconsin would show-up the darkest. Then further break down the in-state recruiting with the WI insetbby county. If you ditch the small pie chart covering the shape of WI, the repetition of the form of the state (by the inset) would visually reinforce the Badger home state.

If you keep the "goal-post north arrow" I would make it one color (Badger color of course).

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#9
Mike H

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Zach,

Nice piece for a class project - all the prior constructive criticisms give you a lot to think about, but for it's intended purpose I congratulate you on a nice layout.

It looks like you ran a smoothing cmd in illy to drop the nodes on the base map? that introduced distortion, it rounded your edges and you can see the overlap where the state polys used to register - see the 4-corners region of AZ-CO-UT-NM. Not a big deal for this project, but something to be aware of for future maps.

the other thing you can do is look at the end cap choices on the stroke pallette - if you choose a rounded end cap you won't have the spikes - see the Mississippi river area.

What a great resource this board is for class projects, huh? I wonder if your prof is lurking too?

m.
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#10
zforest

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Yes, this is definitely a great resource. I appreciate all the ideas and critiques. Here is a link to a revised version of my map, in case anyone's interested: Revised Badger Flow Map
I was able to incorporate a number of the changes suggested on this site as well as some of my own. Other ideas have been left out either due to time or ability constraints on my part. Regardless, I'm fairly happy, now, with the overall look of the map. I'll be doing some touching up tonight and tomorrow before printing. Thanks again for your help.
Zachary Forest Johnson
Cartographer and Software Engineer


indiemaps.com/blog




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