I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of feedback in response to to original, so like The Matrix, I decided it was time for round 2. Everyone loves a sequel, right?
First and foremost, thank you! The response has been incredible, a bit overwhelming, but phenomenal for learning!
Quick recap: As I’ve found, there’s a 2 ways to do this. Pick what you like and what’s easiest and most practical to you. Mapbox isn’t required, but if you’re already in it, it may be a tick faster. (Maybe I’m just lazy?)
To recap, to do without Mapbox (thanks Jeff!):
1. Uncheck base layer.
2. Format the background. Make sure to select Worksheet, Pane & Header under ‘Default’.
3. Have fun!
To do Mapbox (short version) after Mapbox is loaded.
1. Select map options
2. Uncheck layer
3. Have fun!
(See original post, with links out the smarter brains.)
Now the fun part: I had a few people ask, why do this?
For me, I wanted to focus on the story. The story (as much as I love them) was not oceans. It wasn’t geography. It was understanding languages and how they spread (or didn’t). I love maps where the details almost disappear. Instead, you see the shape, the movement, the color, and, for me, the point.
Let’s look at this:
When you look at the other 2, the first really stands out, right? If I want to highlight the different continents a bit more prominently, I’d probably look behind door #2. To take them in a bit more together, #3 offers a level of softness the other 2 don’t.
Let’s take another look at this, this time with dual axis:
Each of these also offer a different way to look at this. The first keeps the emphasis on countries and really shows how their sized. The second gives a look at the entire continent – very handy if you’ll roll the data up or want people to look away from the country for a bit. The last one knocks it down to the bare ink needed to give you the same info as the first. I won’t lie: it’s one of my favorites!
Case in point:
What I like best about this technique is that it drops out all the unnecessary data points. While place names are nice, I can put them in my tool tips. Or, if I really want to learn geography, there’s always Google. I like the texture of the ocean, but more when I’m on it, rather than on my map.
Every drop of color adds a data point. Just as ink bleeds into paper, each pixel of color adds meaning. Is it the whole country, or just part of it? Are the lines between countries important, or just the countries theselves? Every pixel counts.