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TitleHow To: Data Buffet Map - Zoom
AuthorPhillip Thorne
Question

When creating maps in Data Buffet, you can zoom-select to focus on portions of specific interest.

Answer

Data Buffet provides a Map module with templates for the major statistical subdivisions of the U.S. and other countries: All the counties in Pennsylvania, all the provinces and territories in Canada, etc.  When you pick a concept to plot, areas that have data are shaded; areas with no data are left unfilled.  You can't selectively omit areas; there's no equivalent to the "geo lists" used in Baskets.

Instead, you can zoom into specific portions of the map.  For example, if a dataset is defined only for Canada's provinces, the territories will be blank -- and the territorial outlines occupy the upper two-thirds of the graphic.

Zooming is an optional feature that you must specially activate, as follows:

  1. Open the "Options" panel.
  2. Switch to the "Output" group.
  3. Select the "Interactive" checkbox.
  4. Press "OK" to close the Options panel. 
  5. A cluster of move/zoom/reset controls will appear in the upper-left corner of the map.

Once activated, you can marquee-select areas:

  1. Click-drag-release with your mouse to draw a rectangular selection frame.  The frame won't be visible until you release.  It's translucent yellow.
  2. Click inside the frame to zoom the map.
  3. To zoom further, draw another selection frame.
  4. To slide the selection, use the arrows in the control cluster.
  5. To see the whole map, click "Reset, located in both the control cluster and the Options » Output group.

Your zoom-selection will save with all the other map attributes.

Tips:

When using the slide-arrows, the map has to redraw each time.  You may find it faster to reset the map to zero-zoom and drag-zoom anew.

If using area labels, you may need to resize them to suit the new zoom scale. Go to: Options » Appearance » Labels » Edit Font Style.

Background:

The Data Buffet Map module generates choropleth maps, those in which the value of a statistical variable for a region is indicated by color.  In our case, it's the value of a time series for a specific period.  (If the period has no value, the area will be unshaded.)

In Map's simplest use, you pick a concept code (e.g. ET, employment) and a template (e.g., states), and the concept is duplicated across all the regions (ET.ME, ET.VT, ET.NH, ..., ET.AK).  You can also enter formulas that process a single concept or combine multiple concepts: If the output is a time series for a place, it can be plotted.