Introducing a Weekly R / Python / JS / etc Vis Challenge!

[This article was first published on R –, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers]. (You can report issue about the content on this page here)
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Per a suggestion, I’m going to try to find a neat data set (prbly one from @jsvine) to feature each week and toss up some sample code (99% of the time prbly in R) and offer up a vis challenge. Just reply in the comments with a link to a gist/repo/rpub/blog/etc (or post directly, though inserting code requires some markup that you can ping me abt) post containing the code & vis with a brief explanation. I’ll gather up everything into a new github organization I made for this context. You can also submit a PR right to this week’s repo.

Winners get a free digital copy of Data-Driven Security, and if you win more than once I’ll come up with other stuff to give away (either an Amazon gift card, a book or something Captain America related).

Submissions should include a story/angle/question you were trying to answer, any notes or “gotchas” that the code/comments doesn’t explain and a [beautiful] vis. You can use whatever language or tool (even Excel or ugh Tableau), but you’ll have to describe what you did step-by-step for the GUI tools or record a video, since the main point about this contest is to help folks learn about asking questions, munging data and making visualizations. Excel & Tableau lock that knowledge in and Tableau even locks that data in.

Droning on and on

Today’s data source comes from this week’s Data Is Plural newsletter and is all about drones. @jsvine linked to the main FAA site for drone sightings and there’s enough ways to slice the data that it should make for some interesting story angles.

I will remove one of those angles with a simple bar chart of unmanned aircraft (UAS) sightings by week, using an FAA site color for the bars. I wanted to see if there were any overt visual patterns in the time of year or if the registration requirement at the end of 2015 caused any changes (I didn’t crunch the numbers to see if there were any actual patterns that could be found statistically, but that’s something y’all can do). I’m not curious as to what caused the “spike” in August/September 2015 and the report text may have that data.

I’ve put this week’s example code & data into the 52 vis repo for this week.

# get copies of the data locally
URL1 <- ""
URL2 <- ""
fil1 <- basename(URL1)
fil2 <- basename(URL2)
if (!file.exists(fil1)) download.file(URL1, fil1)
if (!file.exists(fil2)) download.file(URL2, fil2)
# read it in
xl1 <- read_excel(fil1)
xl2 <- read_excel(fil2)
# munge it a bit so we can play with it by various calendrical options
drones <- setNames(bind_rows(xl2[,1:3],
                   c("ts", "city", "state"))
drones <- mutate(drones, 
                 year=format(ts, "%Y"), 
                 year_mon=format(ts, "%Y%m"), 
                 yw=format(ts, "%Y%V"))
# let's see them by week
by_week <- mutate(count(drones, yw), wk=as.Date(sprintf("%s1", yw), "%Y%U%u")-7)
# this looks like bad data but I didn't investigate it too much
by_week <- arrange(filter(by_week, wk>=as.Date("2014-11-10")), wk)
# plot
gg <- ggplot(by_week, aes(wk, n))
gg <- gg + geom_bar(stat="identity", fill="#937206")
gg <- gg + annotate("text", by_week$wk[1], 49, label="# reports", 
                    hjust=0, vjust=1, family="Cabin-Italic", size=3)
gg <- gg + scale_x_date(expand=c(0,0))
gg <- gg + scale_y_continuous(expand=c(0,0))
gg <- gg + labs(y=NULL,
                title="Weekly U.S. UAS (drone) sightings",
                subtitle="As reported to the Federal Aviation Administration",
                caption="Data from:")
gg <- gg + theme_hrbrmstr(grid="Y", axis="X")
gg <- gg + theme(axis.title.x=element_text(margin=margin(t=-6)))



I’ll still keep up a weekly vis from the Data Is Plural weekly collection even if this whole contest thing doesn’t take root with folks. You can never have too many examples for budding data folks to review.

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: R – offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials about learning R and many other topics. Click here if you're looking to post or find an R/data-science job.
Want to share your content on R-bloggers? click here if you have a blog, or here if you don't.

Never miss an update!
Subscribe to R-bloggers to receive
e-mails with the latest R posts.
(You will not see this message again.)

Click here to close (This popup will not appear again)