One midterm assignment involved putting myself in a scenario where I was a GIS Analyst at Greenpeace - performing a variety of geoprocessing techniques on provided shale basin and congressional data. The goal was to identify congressional districts that both touched shale basins and also had high concentrations of wells. In the context of the assignment, these areas would be more primed for Greenpeace lobbying, or more "vulnerable".
Map 1: Which five republican congressmen represent a district that both (1) touches a US Shale Basin, and (2) has a high spatial concentration of wells?
Map 2: Which five US Shale Basins have the highest proportion of federal land?
Thinking about layouts
After I finished the geoprocessing, I began to think about the type of layout that would best fit the data and idea I was trying to convey. This task, while less straight-forward and more open-ended than geoprocessing, gives a huge amount of freedom to make a compelling and visual product according to my aesthetic.
In both maps, I prioritized simplicity in color and layout. Each map has a clear and consistent color palette, with sufficient contrast against the grey US States polygon background. Most important to me was a balanced layout: arranging the elements in a way that made clear the overall trends in data, without missing any important details too small to see at a large scale. These small scale details lent themselves nicely to inset maps Denver and the South/Southeast in Map 1, and for the five western Shale Basins in Map 2.
For fonts, I drew inspiration from the examples by the visualization lab at The New York Times, and publications I've run across from The Washington Post and The Atlantic.