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Stephen "suggested" that I take the 2008 A List Apart survey data released by Eric Meyer and put it on a map. Remembering that the Google Charts API has an option for maps, which I'd never used, I decided to throw the data at that. The results are shown below, in maps for both the USA, by state, and the world, by country. We'll have a look at the world first.
I first fired the data onto a map using a simple total of responses for each country, scaling them to fit within the values the Google Chart API accepts. This resulted in a map which highlights the fact that over 50% of the responses came from the US, but which drowns out all of the other countries.
In order to resolve the issue, and to make the map give a clearer idea of the relative number of responses from each country, I changed to a logarithmic scale. I simply counted the number of responses from each country, as before, and then calculated the natural logarithm of each before applying the results. The new map, seen below, brings out the differences between countries in a more informative way.
Having finished work on the world map I decided to try doing something similar for the US States. I used the zip code lookup provided by Nate Walton in the comments of the original Eric Meyer post and, after tidying the data up and learning about the US zipcode, I applied the logarithmic approach and ended up with a map which didn't tell me all that much.
I decided to see how the map would look if I tried my original approach. I felt that it might work in this case due to the smaller range of values. I was right, the result is an improvment. The map shows the spread of responses in more subtle way than the logarithmic method.
Out of the 13978 responses from the US my script ignored 11 due to them not being in a format I recognised as a zipcode. Some were too short, some too long, some were multiples. I also excluded two entries which referred to the Armed Forces overseas, as I couldn't put them on the map.
by Steve Rushe
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