I create interactive maps of Kansas-related data for news stories. I think it would be useful to shade out surrounding states so Kansas stands out better. To do this, I applied an initial layer to my map consisting of U.S. state shape files. With SQL/CSS, I shaded all states except Kansas in grey. Then I went ahead and applied the Kansas data I want to show. Like this: https://clj.carto.com/viz/2710db06-f487-11e6-ba7b-0ecd1babdde5/public_map

Is there a better way I should be doing this, or does the method even matter?


Your approach is fine, but from the combination of basemap and colours, Kansas doesn't really stand out here.

Use a lighter shade of grey for the other states or style only the Kansas polygon in a subtle way.

Also, if you don't need the labels but want to keep the general background style, you could try a Positron basemap that excludes them, or one in which they move below your data.

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