Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Maps I Hate

I've been highlighting maps that I love in this space for years. I thought it might be interesting to flip the script and show some maps I hate and why.
1. Bacon vs. Kale
There are two versions of this map-the above one is from Business Insider. Below is a more clever version. Many carnivorous people I know have this dumb fear that some army of vegetarians is plotting to take their meat away. Mentions on Twitter as your primary data source is pretty dubious at best. The article even makes a point of tying your politics to your food choices. They want to take your guns AND your bacon away! The major point to keep in mind is that (as only shown on the version below) even in the kale-iest places there are still twice as many bacon mentions as kale mentions.
The map above (via the ICA Commission on Map Design) has a cool symbol scheme but again is very misleading by showing the kale pattern in states where there are twice as many bacon mentions.

2. Donald Trump's Favorite Map

Like everything involving Trump, this map is full of dishonesty. Ask Richard Nixon about whether you can impeach someone who won more states. Using counties in a pure red/blue color scheme (with the red very intentionally bleeding into the blue areas) puts land over people but on top of that this map is also based on some early returns that showed Trump leading several counties that he eventually lost (via CNN). You would never guess from any of this that he LOST the popular vote by a significant margin and that is the point - to obscure the facts. This gif tweeted by Karim Douïeb is the best refutation I've seen of this map.

3. The Worst City in Every State.
Another gem from social media using the highly scientific data set of one person's Instagram followers. This map can easily be accused of racism (Camden, Gary, Flint, etc) but also includes other strange outliers like hatred of the rich in places like Edina -unless this is just some kind of suburban rivalry thing. Or simply a place where an imaginary Netflix murder took place (Mantowoc). I would be willing to bet that many of these votes are from people who have never set foot inside these cities out of fear or other narrow-mindedness. I've never been to Dallas (outside of the airport) but it's a large city with a lot of culture and I can imagine there are many worse places.

4. Judgemental Maps
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Worst city in every state according to my Instagram followers. <a href=""></a></p>— Matt Shirley (@mattsurely) <a href="">October 29, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

I will admit that I sometimes enjoy these maps and some are clever but these maps are so full of hatred, narrow-mindedness and predictable jokes that they are best avoided. Also most of them are just Google maps with text thrown on top-not very original. At least the Alabama version has some nice topographic details.

Enjoy if you like but keep your mind from snapping shut! It seems like there should be more than this but I guess I've done enough hating for now.

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