Filter It in Illustrator
Illustrator has two cool filters (technically, one filter and one effect) that you may or may not have used in the past. The first is the Object Mosaic filter. As I mentioned earlier, it transforms bitmap images into vector mosaicsblocks of color (or gray) over which you have control of horizontal and vertical tiling and spacing. Depending on the number of tiles you assign horizontally and vertically, you can have rectangles or squares and end up with a mosaic that's completely abstract or true to the original bitmap image. We're going for something in between here, resembling the original map of North America but nowhere near as detailed.
The second is the Convert to Shape effect, which, as you may have guessed, converts objects to specific shapes such as rectangles, rounded rectangles, and ellipses. I'm going to use it to convert the squares in the mosaic into perfect circles.