Blog Archives

How the Victorians Mapped London’s Cholera

March 2, 2019
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How the Victorians Mapped London’s Cholera

It is, of course, John Snow who is credited with using maps to demonstrate that the clusters of deaths from cholera in London’s Soho during London’s 1854 outbreak were caused by contaminated water. This marked a major shift in thinking away from the disease being transmitted through dirty air: the more widely accepted theory at

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Point Pattern Analysis using Ecological Methods in R

December 12, 2017
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Point Pattern Analysis using Ecological Methods in R

Here is a quick example for how to get started with some of the more sophisticated point pattern analysis tools that have been developed for ecologists – principally the adehabitathr package – but that are very useful for human data. Ecologists deploy point pattern analysis to establish the “home range” of a particular animal based

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Joy Division, Population Surfaces and Pioneering Electronic Cartography

July 28, 2017
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Joy Division, Population Surfaces and Pioneering Electronic Cartography

There has been a resurgence of interest in data visualizations inspired by Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover. These so-called “Joy Plots” are easier to create thanks to the development of the “ggjoy” R package and also some nice code posted using D3. I produced a global population map (details here) using a similar technique in 2013 and since

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Spinning Globes With R

May 16, 2017
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Spinning Globes With R

It has been a long held dream of mine to create a spinning globe using nothing but R (I wish I was joking, but I’m not). Thanks to the brilliant mapmate package created by Matt Leonawicz and shed loads of computing power, today that dream became a reality. The globe below took 19 hours and 30

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Population Lines: How and Why I Created It

April 27, 2017
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Population Lines: How and Why I Created It

Thanks to the power of Reddit the “Population Lines” print (buy here) I created back in 2013 has attracted a huge amount of interest in the past week or so (a Europe only version made by Henrik Lindberg made the Reddit front page). There’s been lots of subsequent discussion about it’s inspiration, effectiveness as a form of

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10 Million Dots: Mapping European Population

March 23, 2017
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10 Million Dots: Mapping European Population

Creating a giant dot density map using R.

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Mapping 5,000 Years of City Growth

March 6, 2017
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Mapping 5,000 Years of City Growth

I recently stumbled upon a great dataset. It’s the first to provide comprehensive data for world city sizes as far back as 3700BC. The authors (Meredith Reba, Femke Reitsma & Karen Seto) write: How were cities distributed globally in the past? How many people lived in these cities? How did cities influence their local and regional

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Mapping (historic) tracks in ggplot2

October 10, 2016
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This tutorial was first published in “Geocomputation a Practical Primer“. Here is a more complex example showing how to produce a map of 18th Century Shipping flows. The data have been obtained from the CLIWOC project and they represent a sample of digitised ships’ logs from the 18th Century. We are using a very small

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Mapping Flows in R

March 30, 2015
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Mapping Flows in R

Last year I published the above graphic, which then got

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Improving R Data Visualisations Through Design

November 6, 2014
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Improving R Data Visualisations Through Design

When I start an R class, one of my opening lines is nea

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