How To Make Geographic Map Visualizations In R

Written by Matt Dancho

This article is part of a R-Tips Weekly, a weekly video tutorial that shows you step-by-step how to do common R coding tasks.

If you are explaining data related to geography or just want to visualize by latitude / longitude location, you need to know ggplot2 & the tidyverse for making maps.

This tutorial will show you how to make a publication-quality visualization! Here are the links to get set up. 👇

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Video Tutorial

Learn how to make geospatial maps using the ggplot2 package in my 10-minute YouTube video tutorial.

Working with Map Data

The first thing we need when creating a map is data that represents the latitude and longitude. We need to use a function called map_data() to collect the data in the right structure for a ggplot2 map.

Map Data

Using the map_data() function to collect lat/long data for the entire World.

Collect lat long data for the entire World

Plotting the Map Data with ggplot2

We can use the geom_map() & coord_map() functions to plot the world.

Plot world

Plot world

Visualizing Republican Voting

So what can we do with Map Data + ggplot2? How about visualizing how the US voted in 1976?!

Plot world code

Voting  Map


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