Monthly Archives: October 2011

When Maps Shouldn’t Be Maps

Often, when you get data that is organized by geography — say, for example, food stamp rates in every county, high school graduation rates in every state, election results in every House district, racial and ethnic distributions in each census tract — the impulse is since the data CAN be mapped, the best way to present the data MUST be a map. You plug the data into ArcView, join it up with a shapefile, export to Illustrator, clean up the styles and voilà! Instant graphic ready to be published.

And in many cases, that’s the right call.

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