April 11, 2012
Mapping Process: Rick Santorum’s Race

We had a medium-sized graphic in today’s paper looking back on Rick Santorum’s campaign. The map was made in R using maptools, a package I find increasingly easy and fun to use. For me, the best part about visualizing data in R is that it even when you screw things up pretty bad, the result usually looks pretty cool. 

Anyway, the map is not revolutionary or anything, but it worked well to tell the story we wanted to tell. I took a screenshot of it at various points in the process (although a small army of people took care of most of the hard parts). Looked great online, too, thanks to that same small army.

Here, making sure I remember how to plot counties:

Map1

Sizing bubbles by margin of victory (too big, it turns out):

Map2

Getting the colors and sizing closer:

Map3

Exporting everything to a PDF so Illustrator can easily clean up the vector work:

Map4.1

In today’s paper:

Map5

Map6

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    This gentleman uses an open source mapping tool to produce graphics for a news source. He shows his process of raw data...
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