Your stated objective:
Compare the population of several
states in a small country.
Your stated problem:
Since some states have a population of
3000,000 and some a population of
2,000. Is there an easy way to
"normalise" or make the data
Aim of normalising your data before mapping
This answer will be lacking since I am not sure of the context of why you are making the map.
Nevertheless, here are some thoughts to explore: Normalise your data so that the map provides interesting meaning to the map's potential readers, so they can link what they see on your map to some concept they normally think about. Basically, I think your new normalised numbers should be linked to some qualitative concept that the map readers find interesting to understand (random tidbit: Measure = Quantity x Quality, Hegel).
Two proposed ways to normalise your data
1. In order to give a sense of how much open space is in each state.
Create a new state variable for population density by calculating the population divided by total state area.
2. In order to make the coloring of the states contrast with one another.
Create a new state variable by calculating the deviation from the mean of each state. For example, say you have 3 states with populations as follows:
- State A is 100.
- State B is 50.
- State C is 1.
The mean will be be about 50.
The new variable's values for each state will be as follows:
- State A is +50 (color intense green).
- State B is 0 (color grey).
- State C is -49 (color intense red).
You can use any color scheme where positive numbers contrast with negative numbers (google 'colorbrewer' for lots of examples of color schemes for maps).