Matthias Shapiro

I need fewer hobbies

XAML Files for Location Visualizations in Silverlight and WPF

In the comments of my Silverlight unemployment visualization, someone asked about where I got the US outline. I got it from the WikiCommons website which has an SVG (scalable vector graphics) version that I pulled into Adobe Illustrator and then exported as a XAML file using Mike Swanson’s Illustrator-to-XAML plugin.

I realized this might not be possible for many people who don’t own Adobe Illustrator, so I did it myself for several files that are now available for download as XAML vector graphics maps of the US.

Download all Silverlight and WPF XAML files



I’ll confess, the real difference between the Silverlight and WPF files is that the WPF files encapsulate everything into a “Viewbox” control that allows dynamic resizing of the maps. If you want that functionality in Silverlight, just download and install the Silverlight toolkit and encapsulate the Canvas into a Viewbox. (The Viewbox will be a standard control in Silverlight 4, I am reliably informed.)

Now, a quick overview of the files:

United States Map with States

This is a nice tidy file (69K) with vector maps for all the states in the US. Each state has been named by its abbreviation. For example, the California map path would have the attribute: x:Name=”CA”.

United States Map with Congressional Districts

This file is based off of the Wiki Commons Congressional District map and is pretty big (about 1 MB). The paths are named based on a State_District naming convention. For example: Washington’s 8th Congressional District would have the attribute x:Name=”WA_8″.

There are 7 “at large” districts, which indicate states that only have one congressional seat. They have the attribute “State_At_Large“… for example, North Dakota’s one and only congressional district has the attribute x:Name=”ND_At_Large”.

United States Map with Counties (FIPS)

This map is pretty hefty at 1.5 MB. All paths have a FIPS code for the county they represent as their x:Name attribute. A FIPS code is a 5 digit code corresponding to a unique county in the United States. The first two digits indicate a state (for example, California is “06”) and the last three digits indicate a unique county (for example, Orange County in California is “059”). Because of the limitations in the XAML x:Name conventions, the FIPS code for a county is preceeded by an underscore. So, the path indicating Orange County, California would be x:Name=”_06509″.

If you need a FIPS-to-CountyName file, check out this FIPS code CSV file.

United States Map with Counties (County Names)

This is the same map as the FIPS map except that the x:Name attribute is State_CountyName. For example, the path for Fulton County, Georgia would have the attribute x:Name=”GA_Fulton”. Periods, commas and apostrophes have been deleted. Multiple word and hyphenated counties have an underscore where the space or hyphen would be. For example, Alaska’s Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Borough would be x:Name=”AK_Skagway_Hoonah_Angoon”.

Holy cow, Alaska… did you really need to name a county with more letters than the number of people living there?

Anyway, that’s the overview of these files. In the interest of keeping the file size down (no, really! Stop laughing at me!), the county and congressional district boundaries aren’t as details as we might prefer, but that’s the trade-off we have. Also, the county name data is pretty good, but there are over 3100 counties in the US, so I didn’t get a chance to double check each one of the names. Use at your own risk.

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