The Representation of Florida
Theme National and provincial boundaries are well known and easily found on most static maps. This puzzle explores a less obvious spatial tessalation -- the arbitrary and often bewildering way the population is carved into legislative districts. Some have strange, meandering appendages that snake across urban areas to give whichever party controls the process some perceived advantage. A PuzzleMap is the perfect way to emphasize the resulting tangle!
Florida is not especially unique in this regard, but its distinct shape and 27 districts are helpful in sorting out the unfamiliar pieces. The clue window provides the population of each district (roughly 750,000) and the official portrait of their current Representative in the 115th Congress. The district name is in red for for those who are Republicans and blue for the Democrats. The Partisan Index is the most revealing fact. It is the computed difference (in percent) between the national average and how the district voted in the previous 2 presidential elections.
The color of each piece is therefore a clue. It ranges from red to blue based on the Partisan Index. It also varies from a darker color at each extreme to a lighter violet color for the most balanced districts. Rural areas tend to be more conservative while urban areas are more liberal. Are the districts drawn to one side's advantage? That's for the user to decide. To preserve this important information, the pieces retain their color when placed. This makes the completed puzzle a choropleth.
Puzzle Notes Because district boundaries can divide towns, neighborhoods and even city blocks, this puzzle allows the user to zoom in almost to street level (zoom level 16). Fairly high-resolution spatial data is needed to be accurate at smaller scales. As this example shows, PuzzleMap can easily accommodate this requirment over a reasonable geographic extent.
This is also a time-sensitive puzzle because members of the House of Representatives only serve 2-year terms. Data and photos can be easily updated, however, without regenerating geographic content. Districts are re-drawn every 10 years, however, so a more extensive revision will be due following the 2020 census. Even so, the theme, custom clue window design and puzzle function can remain unchanged.