In order to effectively use spatially distorted maps, it is important to understand not only the nature of the distortion, but also the effect this has on any subsequent analysis based on the distorted view. Therefore, minimizing the distortion is important, but is almost unavoidable if we want to crystalize other structures and information hidden in the data. Communicating the nature and degree of spatial distortions can be an important factor in achieving a nuanced analysis.
Hence, we are investigating various ways of communicating this information, from static graphical annotations to dynamic interactive transitions.
Here is an example of a transition, linking the geography of historical Irish counties to a small multiples with gaps representation.
Click this image to play the smooth animated transition back and forth.