[R] Maps in R

Tim Churches tchur at bigpond.com
Sun Apr 18 00:36:13 CEST 1999

Apologies in advance from an R newbie if this is a dumb question. Is it
possible to produce choropleth maps in R? I gather from some nice research
papers on the AT&T (sorry, Lucent) S web site that in S (and S Plus) there
is a map() function which uses arrays of polylines and regions to draw map
borders and then fill them with patterns or shades according to some scalar
quantity. We currently produce such maps (of disease rates) using PROC GMAP
in SAS/GRAPH which also uses the same sort of polyline format for definition
of the areas. The problem in SAS is that although the colours and sharding
can be precisely controlled, the means of allocating those colours to
regions on the map or ranges in the data stinks.

If the map() function hasn't been implemented in R, are there any plans?

I must say that we have been mightily impressed by the scope and stability
of R. We are using it under Win NT at present but we are about to set it up
on a Linux box. I am very much hoping that we can spend this year's
discretionary budget on a nice new and fast Linux box (stuffed with RAM) for
running R rather than spending the same amount on two S Plus licenses for
Windows (which are not exactly cheap since we are a government department,
although since we started paying for SAS each year nothing shocks us any

Tim Churches
Epidemiology and Health Surveillance Branch
NSW Health Department
Sydney, Australia
Email: tchur at doh.health.nsw.gov.au

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