Results from the R Shapefile Contest!

August 1, 2016

(This article was first published on R –, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Today I am happy to announce the results from the R Shapefile Contest.

The contest was an incredible success – there were 19 entries that covered a range of topics. Each entry was well thought out, and I encourage you to read each of them.

Here are the entries, in order of submission:

Bonus: Get all the entries as a PDF!
Title Author
Cambridge Outdoor Lighting Ordinance Kent S Johnson
Long-Term View of Tornado Risk: County-Level Tornado Rates Adjusted for Population & Exposure James B. Elsner, Thomas H. Jagger, and Tyler Fricker
Airport Effects on U.S. County Unemployment Rates Robby Powell
Australian Federal Election 2016 – Polling Place Breakdown Jonathan Carroll
National Propensity to Cycle Tool Propensity to Cycle Tool team
Getting Started With CaricRture Chris Brunsdon
Spatial neighbors in R – an interactive illustration Kyle Walker
Spatstat_Object_To_Shapefile.R David Maupin
Working with Shapefiles Dennis Chandler
Crime in Greece in 2010 Nikos Papakonstantinou
R & Shapefile, a short script geoobserver
SociocaRtograpy: Delhi Crime Map Parth Khare
Hong Kong Population Center of Gravity (COG) Fung Yip
Overview of ground-based rainfall measurement network data quality for Venezuela Andrew Sajo
Venezuelan rainfall dynamics Andrew Sajo
Washington, DC Parking Violations Andrew Breza
Marine Boundaries in R: Reading EEZ Shapefiles Daniel Palacios
London Crime Analysis Henry Partridge
Twitter Sentiment analysis of Trump and Clinton Charlie Thompson

Please join me in thanking each of the entrants!

Goals of the Contest

As a reminder, the goal of the contest was to “do something in R, with a shapefile, that does something other than make a choropleth map”. This goal was entirely selfish: I have spent years analyzing data using choropleth maps. But as I don’t have a background in geospatial statistics, I am really not aware of what other analytical techniques I can be using. I hoped that by running a contest I could learn some more useful techniques that I could then apply to my own work.

And the winner is …

There are actually two winners to the contest. They both provided concise explanations, and real-world demonstrations, of geospatial concepts that I was simply not aware of.

  • Spatial neighbors in R – an interactive illustration by Kyle Walker. Kyle is a geography professor. This might have allowed him to intuitively understand the types of analyses that I was looking for. His entry demonstrates different definitions of “neighbor” in spatial statistics, and how those definitions can effect interpretations of the data.
  • London Crime Analysis by Henry Partridge goes a step further. Henry developed an application to map different types of crime in London. He then used Moran’s I to calculate spatial autocorrelation. There were actually several entries that deal with mapping crime, but only Henry’s entry introduced this extra step beyond a choropleth maps.

It’s worth pointing out that both of the winning entries used RStudio’s Shiny framework.

Honorable Mention

Several entries besides the winners stood out as teaching me something new in the area of R and shapefiles in a concise, enjoyable way:


As a reminder, both of the winners will get two prizes:

  1. A free copy of my course Mapmaking in R with Choroplethr ($99 value) and
  2. A free copy of my course Shapefiles for R Programmers ($99 value).

I will be in touch with the winners today about how to get their copies of the courses.

Bonus: Get all the entries as a PDF!

The post Results from the R Shapefile Contest! appeared first on

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