Geo-doodlers – Paul Butler and FlowingData

October 16, 2011
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(This article was first published on Doodling with Data, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I found this great R-Visualization example via an R-Blogger post that xingmowang made. (One more good reason for why it is important to read lots of field-related blogs!)

Here's the image:

If this was merely eye-candy, I would have enjoyed it, but not included it here. But to think that this was done in R -- that means the rest of us can learn from it!

When Paul Butler writes about how he created it, he shares with us how he had to tweak it, and how the results surprised him. That is true data-doodling. You guide things along, but then the data surprises (or delights) you.

I also like this small bit of musing that he includes:
What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life.
For those of us who are new to R, this example has a few things to try. Take any dataset with Lat/Long values in it, and plot it over a world map. Once you can do that successfully, try this.
(Also pointed out courtesy of Xingmowang.)

We may not all create infographics that are great, but these examples will point us in the right direction.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on his blog: Doodling with Data.

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