A midterm assignment for a GIS course involved putting myself in a scenario where I was an analyst at Greenpeace, performing a variety of geoprocessing workflows 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 hypothetically be focus areas for increased Greenpeace lobbying.

Map 1: Which five republican congressmen represent a district that 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?
Map 3: Based on population density and percent of federal land concentration, in which districs is Greenpeace most likely to be effective in reducing drilling?

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. Inherently less straight-forward and more creatively oriented than geoprocessing, gives a huge amount of freedom to make a compelling and visual product reflecting my design style.

In both maps, I prioritize simplicity in color and layout. Maps 1 and 2 use a straightforward gradient of one hue, while Map 3 uses contrasting colors to help one shapefile stand out against the other. The background frame of the US states and cities/well are grey to offer the viewer a familiar context, but avoid distracting from the main message of the graphic.

Most important to me is a balanced layout: arranging elements in a way that makes clear the overall trends in data, without missing the small, but important details that are difficult to pick out from a distance. These small scale items lend themselves nicely to inset maps - Denver and the South/Southeast in Map 1, and for the five western Shale Basins in Map 2.

For typefacing, a thin white stroke for the labeling allows the dark text to be more easily read on top of the colored shapefiles. More generally, I drew inspiration from work by the The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlantic.