[R] B-W stacked area chart with pattern

Greg Snow Greg.Snow at imail.org
Tue Jan 29 22:33:30 CET 2008

I would question if a stacked area chart is really the best way to display information on 12 groups.  You can put a lot of information into the plot, but the viewer will probably experience information overload and not be able to get much useful information out of the plot.  Stacked area plots rely on people being able to compare areas and lengths, which we don't do as well as we compare positions in a graph.  If your viewer is needing to go back and forth between the legend and the graph, then the information will be harder to assimilate.  It may be better to use lattice/trellis graphs and plot each line in its own panel (on the same scale and possibly with a light background grid to make comparison easier).  If there are specific comparisons that you want to point out, then make a separate graph with just those comparisons leaving out the extra information that will just distract.

If you give us a better idea of what information you are trying to convey, we may be able to give you some better options for graphs to use.

If you really want to go the pattern route then you may want to look at the discussion from october that started with: http://finzi.psych.upenn.edu/R/Rhelp02a/archive/111226.html and/or the discussion from earlier this week started by yaosheng CHEN with the subject "How to fill bar plot with textile rather than color".

Hope this helps,

Gregory (Greg) L. Snow Ph.D.
Statistical Data Center
Intermountain Healthcare
greg.snow at imail.org
(801) 408-8111

> -----Original Message-----
> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org 
> [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Markus Didion
> Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 8:42 AM
> To: hadley wickham
> Cc: r-help at r-project.org
> Subject: Re: [R] B-W stacked area chart with pattern
> Thanks Hadley for your comment.  I've got a minimum of 12 
> species and thus just using different greys won't do it.  
> I've tried it with two background fills, i.e. white and a 
> medium grey, and then used various angles for the shading 
> lines, even plotted it twice to obtain some sort of cross 
> shading.  For good, distinguishable patterns I've been hoping 
> to be able to fill an area with different symbols.
> Markus
> hadley wickham wrote:
> > On Jan 29, 2008 9:12 AM, Markus Didion 
> <markus.didion at env.ethz.ch> wrote:
> >> Dear all,
> >>
> >> I would like to create a stacked area chart to show the 
> development 
> >> of species biomass over time. Since it is intended for 
> publication I 
> >> need to prepare in black and white.  I have tried to 
> modify the "stackedPlot"
> >> function submitted to this list by Christian Lasarczyk on 
> Tue, 16 Aug
> >> 2005 using shading lines rather than colors to distinguish between 
> >> the species. Unfortunately, the result was not very 
> satisfying as the 
> >> options using different angles and densities for the shading lines 
> >> was not sufficient to clearly distinguish between species. I would 
> >> thus like to use different pattern (or texture) for this 
> purpose. I 
> >> have searched the various help lists on graphics in R but 
> was unable 
> >> to find something appropriate.
> > 
> > How many species do you have?  Coming about with a good
> > (distinguishable) set of patterns is a difficult task.  
> Have you tried 
> > just using different greys?
> > 
> > Hadley
> > 
> > 
> -- 
> Markus Didion
> Waldökologie				Forest Ecology
> Inst. f. Terrestrische Oekosysteme	Inst. of Terrestrial Ecosystems
> Departement Umweltwissenschaften	Dept. of Environmental Sciences
> Eidg. Technische Hochschule		Swiss Fed. Inst. of Technology
> ETH-Zentrum CHN G78			ETH-Zentrum CHN G78
> Universitätstr. 22			Universitaetstr. 22
> CH-8092 Zürich				CH-8092 Zurich
> Schweiz					Switzerland
> Tel +41 (0)44 632 5629		Fax +41 (0)44 632 1358	
> Email markus.didion at env.ethz.ch
> homepage: http://www.fe.ethz.ch/people/didionm
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