Making Maps with R

Caitlin Dempsey


R language is a commonly used programming language and open source software that can be utilized by statisticians for statistical and data analysis.  Licensed under GNU, R can be downloaded and installed on Linux, MacOS, and Windows platforms.  More about what R is here.

R can also be used for geographic data visualization and there are several sources to explore in learning how to make maps with R.  The CRAN Task View has a page about Analysis of Spatial Data  in R.  The Spatial Analysis site has an introductory tutorial entitled, “Making Maps with R“.  James Cheshire, who writes the Spatial Analysis blog also has further R Spatial Tips on his site.

Open Source GIS
Making Maps with D3

The Revolutions blog (which also has a post about geographic maps in R) put out a challenge to make a choropleth map using R – some of those that took up the challenge have posted URLs to their results and code in the comments section.  The R-blogger site has a tutorial about making maps using OpenStreetMaps and R using the RgoogleMaps package.  There are several examples of creating different types of maps in this post: Create Maps With R Geospatial Classes and Graphics Tools.  The Geography Department at the University of Oregon has a range of topic links and data sets as companion material to its Geographic Data Analysis using R class offering.

OpenStreetMap data and RgoogleMaps-package for R.
OpenStreetMap data and RgoogleMaps-package for R.
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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.