Wikipedia talk:WikiProject U.S. counties/mockups

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Texas county with image at 300 pixels wide (county described is not the same as county in image):

Anderson County is a county located in the U.S. State of Texas. As of 2000, the population is 55,109. Its county seat is Palestine6.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,792 km² (1,078 mi²). 2,773 km² (1,071 mi²) of it is land and 19 km² (7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.66% water.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census of 2000, there are 55,109 people, 15,678 households, and 11,335 families residing in the county. The population density is 20/km² (52/mi²). There are 18,436 housing units at an average density of 7/km² (17/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 66.44% White, 23.48% African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 8.00% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 12.17% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 15,678 households out of which 34.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% are married couples living together, 13.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 27.70% are non-families. 24.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.80% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.58 and the average family size is 3.07.

In the county, the population is spread out with 20.70% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 37.70% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.70% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 155.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 173.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $31,957, and the median income for a family is $37,513. Males have a median income of $27,070 versus $21,577 for females. The per capita income for the county is $13,838. 16.50% of the population and 12.70% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 21.60% are under the age of 18 and 16.60% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns[edit]

Illinois county with image at 300 pixels wide:

Adams County is a county located in the U.S. State of Illinois. As of 2000, the population is 68,277. Its name is in honor of the sixth President of the United States of America, John Quincy Adams. Its county seat is Quincy, Illinois6.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,257 km² (871 mi²). 2,219 km² (857 mi²) of it is land and 38 km² (15 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.68% water.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 68,277 people, 26,860 households, and 17,996 families residing in the county. The population density is 31/km² (80/mi²). There are 29,386 housing units at an average density of 13/km² (34/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 95.10% White, 3.07% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.83% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 26,860 households out of which 31.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% are married couples living together, 9.80% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.00% are non-families. 28.50% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 3.00.

In the county the population is spread out with 24.90% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.60% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $34,784, and the median income for a family is $44,133. Males have a median income of $31,171 versus $21,083 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,894. 10.00% of the population and 7.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 12.00% are under the age of 18 and 8.90% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns[edit]

External Links[edit]

Modified Illinois county, still 300 pixels wide (with padding) but also constrained to 300 pixels in height:

Adams County is a county located in the U.S. State of Illinois. As of 2000, the population is 68,277. Its name is in honor of the sixth President of the United States of America, John Quincy Adams. Its county seat is Quincy, Illinois6.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,257 km² (871 mi²). 2,219 km² (857 mi²) of it is land and 38 km² (15 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.68% water.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 68,277 people, 26,860 households, and 17,996 families residing in the county. The population density is 31/km² (80/mi²). There are 29,386 housing units at an average density of 13/km² (34/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 95.10% White, 3.07% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.83% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 26,860 households out of which 31.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% are married couples living together, 9.80% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.00% are non-families. 28.50% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 3.00.

In the county the population is spread out with 24.90% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.60% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $34,784, and the median income for a family is $44,133. Males have a median income of $31,171 versus $21,083 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,894. 10.00% of the population and 7.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 12.00% are under the age of 18 and 8.90% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns[edit]

External Links[edit]

Looking at these in this way, I agree; the padding is kind of weird looking. Let me try a mockup without padding on Illinois (that is, let's not insist on 300 pixel width):

Adams County is a county located in the U.S. State of Illinois. As of 2000, the population is 68,277. Its name is in honor of the sixth President of the United States of America, John Quincy Adams. Its county seat is Quincy, Illinois6.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,257 km² (871 mi²). 2,219 km² (857 mi²) of it is land and 38 km² (15 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.68% water.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 68,277 people, 26,860 households, and 17,996 families residing in the county. The population density is 31/km² (80/mi²). There are 29,386 housing units at an average density of 13/km² (34/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 95.10% White, 3.07% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.83% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 26,860 households out of which 31.10% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% are married couples living together, 9.80% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.00% are non-families. 28.50% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.20% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.44 and the average family size is 3.00.

In the county the population is spread out with 24.90% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.60% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $34,784, and the median income for a family is $44,133. Males have a median income of $31,171 versus $21,083 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,894. 10.00% of the population and 7.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 12.00% are under the age of 18 and 8.90% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns[edit]

External Links[edit]

Is this better, or worse, than the version above with the large image of Illinois? (in the context of how it compares with the Texas county article, especially). To me, the large Illinois is just too large for the article. This last version seems best to me.

-- Wapcaplet 18:47 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Hmm. I agree, the last version looks 'best' for Illinois on its own (the padded one looks terrible, and, like you, I'm not entirely comfortable with the height of the first one, either), but... I think it would be a Bad Thing to have different widths for each state, which is what we're going to end up with if we follow this. I'm not really sure, though. Perhaps we should get another opinion?
James F. 04:25 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I would prefer the same scale for all states (unless small states tend to have small counties, in which case it might be impractical). - Patrick 13:31 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Well, considering the size difference between Alaska and Rhode Island, that's probably not gonna happen. Another tricky aspect about this is that the counties are generally proportional to the state they are in; aside from Texas (with its 254 counties), almost all states have around 100 counties, regardless of the state's size. Making the states to scale would cause a pretty vast difference in the size of counties (for example, some "counties" in Alaska are bigger than the entire state of Minnesota); making each state roughly the same actual size seems to give a good average county size (in pixels). -- Wapcaplet 14:01 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
OK, all the counties I have have had copies made, resized to a cap of 300 pixels square, which are located here (the original, horizontally-only-capped ones are still here). Are they OK?
James F. 14:23 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I like the last one best, but I don't actually mind the padded one. The really big one looks terrible! The Texas one looks a bit weird too, because the bit that sticks out to the west makes the blank gap look very large above and below (as opposed to the Illinois one with a large gap where at least it is self-consistent). Perhaps the easiest thing to do with the Texas one is sell some of West Texas back to Mexico to make it lay out better. Failing that, I'd just go with the different sized maps. They are all on different pages so no-one will ever notice. Good luck with the project! Tannin 13:37 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

That's a good point about the shape of Texas. I suppose there may be some way to make the images transparent PNGs, and find a way to let text wrap around them. I probably should have done that in the first place - they could still be fixed without too much trouble, since it's just a flood-fill operation, but unless there's a good reason to do so, I'd rather not. Adding a border to the images would reduce the weirdness of the text-wrapping effect around Texas, but all of the states are cropped really close to their borders, so this would necessitate additional padding (and thus file size) to make it work.
All things considered, I'd have to agree that selling West Texas back to Mexico is the only solution. Someone please let me know when this happens, so I can change the maps :-) Seriously, though, Texas is one of only a few states that such an effect will be so noticeable on (California, too, since it has a big empty space to its lower left, and probably Florida as well), but most states are very roughly rectangular, or close enough to it. -- Wapcaplet 14:01 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Ah, but Internet Explorer doesn't 'do' PNG alpha channels, so we couldn't do that (according to the Wikipedia's express intent to allow people to go wandering around web-space without a proper browser ;-)
James F. 14:39 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Good point, I'd forgotten about that. So much for that plan :-) -- Wapcaplet 15:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'd say you should make them all relatively to scale. Meaning, find out the largest, and the smallest states, and then pick an upper and lower bounds for image size based on them (not actually to scale though). Pick 3 - 5 sizes, and then categorize each state to a size. Then get to work resizing the images. There are only 50 states, it won't take that long :). MB 14:41 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Oh, yuck, no. That'd be horrible. The images are for a guide to the location of the county within the structure of the state they reside in only, not for any specfic cartographical comparison or otherwise somesuch usage. Keeping them bounded to the same size means the pages all look roughly right.
Anyway, there are 'only' about 3000 counties. Feel free to do it yourself. ;-)
James F. 14:52 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'm with James here. Relative scaling would be a nightmare (especially considering that more than half the states are already done to our satisfaction; it's only these tall skinny ones that have problems). Again, the purpose of these maps is to show where the county is in relation to the rest of the state, and perhaps a bit about the shape of the county; nothing more. Any information about the size of the state in relation to other states is irrelevant in this context; the U.S. state articles already handle this nicely. -- Wapcaplet 15:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I say limit both dimensions to a certain number, say 250px. If it's a tall skinny one like Illinois, it would be 250px tall and maybe 150px wide. If it's a relatively wide one like Washington, it would be 150px tall and 250px wide. -Smack 17:01 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Yep, the last version of Illinois above is what results from doing just this (using 300x300, rather than 250). -- Wapcaplet 17:40 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Each state map should be as small as possible, since it's mostly blank space. The considerations should be that the smallest county is still visible (Texas is probably the toughest, lots of small counties), say 15-20 pixels across. OK, the pictures don't need to go under 250px in the largest dimension.

Also, since I'm here, the red-on-white is so garish it vibrates, plus the white-on-white state outline is bland. How about making the rest of the map light blue or ultramarine? A little more color without being annoying, plus the red/white/blue combo conveys some USness - not unambiguous of course, because of Russia, France, Netherlands, etc - but it's still a useful hint. Stan 15:16 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Sorry, we are past the turning point on both these issues. (See the existing discussion for details.) The size issue (sticking with 300 pixels) was a compromise between visibility and practicality; Texas is actually one of the most easily resized states, since all its counties are roughly the same size. California, on the other hand, is a large state with at least one relatively tiny county (San Francisco). Alaska had similar issues; its census areas vary tremendously in size, and some of them were so small as to need additional highlighting in order to make them apparent. Scaling these maps so that those counties are more than 10 pixels across would mean maps on the order of 3,000 pixels in width and/or height :) It was just easier in these rare cases to let the county be a speck, and highlight it with a red circle.
The color issue mostly came down to simplicity, and following what James and I thought was the best already-established standard for colored maps on Wikipedia. We're mainly trying to highlight the county, and additional coloring was thought distracting (not to mention it may interfere with the red on smaller counties).
Anyhow, thanks everyone for your comments so far! -- Wapcaplet 15:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Good point about SF county, but I think you missed my point about sizing, which is basically to prefer the last version of Illinois above. Too bad I didn't see the color discussion earlier; white as bg is a holdover from paper (saves on ink costs), is unattractive here. Perhaps someday we can recruit a graphic designer to work up a set of consistent colors to use across our mishmash of outline maps. Stan 15:54 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
No no no no no! White on red was chosen because it is simple, easy to read quickly, and is impaired least for those with impaired vision. Oh, and also because that's how it's been done before. The 'cost' of the 'ink' did not come in to it at all; quite the contrary, if Prussian Blue and Teal (which were, until relatively recently, too expensive to print commonly) worked 'better', we would have gone with that. White-and-black is a high-visibility medium; green and blue are ambiguous when it comes to cartography, whereas red-tinted colours are standard for political delineation.
James F. 23:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
One can do better than red-on-white. I have a Judy Olson paper on color in computer cartography, and she offers up a half-dozen ideas that could be applied here. No direct comment on white, except implicitly in an observation that color inside the map of a political entity serves to differentiate it from the surrounding page. Although I have some personal experience with computer cartography via my game Xconq, it's mostly been a humbling experience. :-) A real graphics designer can make a huge difference; I'll venture to say that a good designer's choices will be so exciting that people will be falling over themselves to convert existing maps, so there's no real hurry for people to change what they're doing right now. Stan 00:14 15 Jul 2003 (UTC)
OK, I've come up with a pseudo-automated way of colorizing all the maps. All that would be involved is the creation of an image for each state with color where the color should be; the UNIX utility ImageMagick can do the rest with a small shell script. I ran a test on Alaska, using a light yellowish color (similar to the background color of Wikipedia Talk pages). A minor side-effect is that the red color of the highlight is altered slightly.
However... at this point, I think it would be more work than it is worth. This entire project was really conceived as a temporary hack until we (hopefully someday) get a nice automated system for displaying geographical information, complete with its own markup (see m:Wikipediatlas). Besides, I am getting somewhat burnt out on it :-) If someone else wants to work on such highlighting, they are free to do so. At this point I would just prefer to follow-through with our original plans.
I think you can easily edit an image in png form with a text editor to change red to anything you want. MB 20:04 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Good god, why would you want to do such a thing? Flood-filling with GIMP or Photoshop is much easier :-) Anyhow, the red parts are done; what I was trying to automate was the process of coloring the rest of the state a different color. On a side note, I have been working on state maps which show only the outlines of counties and a star for the state capitol, and these have a yellow background (to make the outline of the state clearer to distinguish). Hopefully these'll do more for illustrating the shape of the state than current U.S. state articles do... -- Wapcaplet 20:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)
It looks like we've agreed upon the last version, for now, and James has already re-sized them. Thanks again, everyone! Next time we do this, we'll be sure to get it right ;-) -- Wapcaplet 17:40 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

This is pretty neat guys! However California and Nevada have already been done by Brion... Anyway I like the last example the best but if automation is more important than looks then the 300x300 option would be my second choice. Wikipediatlas would be even better though... --mav 19:02 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Yeah, Brion pointed that out to us when we first started, but I decided to go ahead and re-do them to be consistent with the rest. You're right, Wikipediatlas would be ideal. It'll practically be a necessity, actually, if we ever hope to do something similar with U.S. cities, or even townships (which I would not dream of trying to do by hand). Brion implied that such a thing will probably not be a reality for quite some time, though. -- Wapcaplet 20:36 14 Jul 2003 (UTC)