Making Maps with a Punchline

August 6, 2014

(This article was first published on DataScience.LA » R, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

I’ve had a lifelong fascination with maps, and working with R definitely enables my map habit. Perhaps there’s something about being an immigrant that made me particularly introspective, since from a very early age I was aware that I was “from” one place on the map and now lived at this “other place.”

Some of my earliest family memories are of my father calling out a random city such as Reykjavik and my sister and I scrambling in response to be the first to find it on one of the many world atlases distributed throughout our house. They’re very fond memories, since playing Find the Wacky-Sounding City is a fantastic way to spend time with your kids.

One of my other favorite things to do is express my love of humor and my love of maps through ggplot. I love building facetious maps to amuse my Twitter followers, and recently discovered a lovely little data set containing states where it is illegal to have fireworks delivered.

So I wrote a little R function for the Fourth of July that put together a joke map and delivers a zinger:

Not exactly groundbreaking R code, I know, but quite handy. I was able to simply call the function with dataset I had found at and have a little chuckle.


Enjoy the code, and have fun generating imaginary internet points! As I get older, I’ve also been working on my Dad joke superpowers, so I’ll leave you with my latest masterpiece:


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