Bigpicture has put up 11 map links, some of which are very cool. I really like the parallel maps of 2000 vs 2004. (If you use Safari, with its transparent drag, you can produce your own overlay maps!) I also like the county-by-county maps, they’re elegant.
Not so good is the chartjunk map from the Washington Post, which is correctly called “dramatic.” I have three major problems with it:
- The United States does not tilt downwards to the East. The artist’s decision to tilt the US makes it difficult to compare the heights of the bars.
- Its unclear if we should be looking at the heights of the volumes to see the information.
- The use of height obscures the data behind the tall bars. The same data, as we’ve seen, can be captured in color intensity.
(For more on chartjunk, see also Richard Stevens, who has a book or six worth reading, or Jeffrey Veen, who has interesting things to say about chartjunk from Apple.)