2011.2.11 Map experiment: new "states" by border

A few days ago I started wondering what it would look like to figure out, for every location in each of the lower 48 states, which adjacent state (or province of Canada or state of Mexico) that location is closest to, and to make new "states" out of the whole area that is closest to a given adjacent state. So, for instance, most of California is closer to Nevada than to any other state, and the part that is becomes a new "state" — with the twist that I combine that area with the part of Nevada that is closer to California than to any other state. I think this means that each new state is the collection of points that are closer to the state line of those two states than to any other state or national line. I went ahead and drew this out, as you can see below, and I think it's fairly accurate. There are 128 states total. I named them all, too — click on the map to show a way zoomed-in version with the names (could take a few moments to load the first time), and click on it again to switch back to the small version.

border states map

You can see that 45°-angle boundaries are fairly dominant in the West, and that is simply due to the parallel/meridian borders of a lot of the actual states: when you get a junction of parallel and meridian that constitute two different state lines (i.e. having one state but not two in common), the boundary of nearest-point areas to them is the 45° line between them. It was interesting to try to figure out the principles behind how the new borders worked; the construction, working generally west to east, definitely got quicker over time as I learned the tricks of the trade. Note that there's a good sprinkling of small-to-tiny states in the Midwest and West, not just the East — that's because any short state line, such as the Oklahoma-New Mexico border (i.e. the end of the panhandle) makes for a small border state (New Meklahoma). The introductory example I gave, on the contrary, California/Nevada (Calivada), is the largest border state of all.

I tried to make the names seem rhythmically intuitive, in most cases, by matching stresses between the two names I was fusing together. I delighted in cases where this made for a silly or suggestive name. My favorites are: New Maineshire and New Maineswick, Rhode Ecticut, Ver Mork, New Jerk, Virgintucky and West Virgintucky, Ohucky, Missucky, Alabippi, Louisianansas, New Mexihuahua, Ba California, Britishing Wumbia, Washaho, and Idish Columbaho.