We just had the big July 4th holiday weekend here in the US. And as with many holidays, there was a lot of drinking. Which got me thinking/wondering ... which counties do not allow alcohol to be sold (ie, which counties are 'dry')? And it seemed like a question that might be best answered using a map!
But first, here's a little something to set the mood for a blog about selling (or prohibiting the sale of) alcohol. This poster is from my friend Erik, who collects and sells vintage brewery advertising. (Pretty cool, and right on-topic, eh!?!)
Before I started working on my own map, I decided to do a few Web searches to see if there was already one out there. And I quickly found this one on a Wikipedia page - but I didn't really like it. On the main page, the map was too small to see any detail. And if you clicked on it to see the full-size map, it has a transparent background ... which shows up as checker-board gray and white in my browser (which is very visually distracting). Also, their map had no mouse-over text to show the county names. And the map seemed too 'busy' with with every county having an attention-grabbing color.
So I decided to create my own map, and make a few improvements/enhancements. Below is a screen-capture of my new version. Click it to see the interactive map:
How many differences/improvements did you see in the new map? Compare your mental list with my list, below to see if you caught them all ...
- Since the purpose of the map is to show 'dry' counties, I de-emphasized the wet counties in my map. Instead of making the wet counties blue, I made them white.
- My map has a solid white background, rather than the transparent background (which showed up as as distracting check-board in the Wikipedia map).
- Rather than ordering the legend "dry, wet, mixed" I ordered it "dry, mixed, wet" - this seems like a more logical/intuitive order.
- I include a proper/traditional title at the top of my map (whereas the Wikipedia map tries to use the legend as the title).
- And when you click a state in my map, it drills-down to the section providing details for that state on the Wikipedia page.
How'd he do that?...
Here are some technical details about how I created my map using SAS software. (If you'd like to see all the nitty-gritty details, here's a link to the full SAS code.)
- First I created a county map, and colored the counties as desired.
- I then used annotate to overlay the state outlines on the map.
- I used values 1, 2, and 3 to code my values for Wet, Mixed, and Dry in the data, and then created a user-defined-format to make them print as the text values in the legend (this sorts the legend in the desired numeric order, even though it's printing the text values).
- I used the html= option to point to a variable in my data where I had encoded the mouse-over text (encoded as HTML title= tags) and the drill-down (encoded as HTML href= tags) for each county.
If you liked this topic, click here to see more SAS blogs about alcohol data!