[Editor's note: If you don't have an expensive GIS license but still want to make pretty maps, Flowing Data has a tutorial to get you started. They even use ColorBrewer when setting up the data classes!]
Republished from Flowing Data.
Posted by Nathan / Nov 12, 2009.
There are about a million ways to make a choropleth map. You know, the maps that color regions by some metric. The problem is that a lot of solutions require expensive software or have a high learning curve…or both. What if you just want a simple map without all the GIS stuff? In this post, I’ll show you how to make a county-specific choropleth map using only free tools.
Here’s what we’re after. It’s the most recent unemployment map from last week.
Step 0. System requirements
Just as a heads up, you’ll need Python installed on your computer. Python comes pre-installed on the Mac. I’m not sure about Windows. If you’re on Linux, well, I’m sure you’re a big enough nerd to already be fluent in Python.
We’re going to make good use of the Python library Beautiful Soup, so you’ll need that too. It’s a super easy, super useful HTML/XML parser that you should come to know and love.