Four Great Plains Views

A basic flat map showing the ten Great Plains states. County and state outlines generated from Census Bureau shapefile data. Conversion from latitude-longitude to Albers equal-area projection using the cs2cs program from Proj.4. Great Plains counties are in white. For purposes of the story I was telling, the heavily populated counties of Front Range Colorado which the Census Bureau categorizes as "Great Plains" are excluded. Other colors are arbitrary.

A contiguous cartogram of the same states with county area representing population. Population data from the Census Bureau. Cartogram distortion done using Gastner and Newman's diffusion method. Software for the method distributed by M.E.J. Newman's site at the University of Michigan. In this case, the distortion is so extreme that the cartogram loses much of its utility.

Same cartogram using a rectangular mesh instead of county outlines. Sometimes the regularly-spaced mesh is more useful than irregular county shapes. Doesn't help much in this case.

A prism map using the same population data. Volume of the prism represents total population, height of the prism represents population density. 3D rendering done using povray.