Mapping With Shapefiles in R – Getting Started
Geographic data is often available as a shapefile, and there’s plenty of heavy software to get that data in a map. R is an open source option, and as a bonus, much of the work can be done in a few lines of code.
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For when your geographic data is evenly spread rather than aggregated by government boundaries.
Mapping with Diffusion-based Cartograms
Sometimes these cartograms can distort areas beyond recognition, but they can also provide a better visual representation for a region with a wide range of subregions. At the least, they’re fun to look at.