Cartograms offer an interesting way of displaying data. In a since the map adopts a customized projection based on the values of the data being represented. The following link below provides instructions and a script to get you started.

http://blogs.esri.com/esri/gisedcom/2009/10/16/exploring-data-using-cartograms-within-arcgis-desktop/

If your looking for ideas, check out this 1960 map on freight tonnage on the Mississippi River (I doubt ArcGIS was used).  http://www.bigmapblog.com/2012/freight-tonnage-on-the-mississippi-1960/ . The data to recreate this can be found on the USACE’s Waterborne Commerce Statistics Center website http://www.ndc.iwr.usace.army.mil/wcsc/wcsc.htm.

 

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