[R-sig-Geo] spplot handling of overlapping points?

Edzer Pebesma edzer.pebesma at uni-muenster.de
Mon Mar 5 14:40:22 CET 2012

This has now been changed/repared in sp on r-forge (svn), and will
appear from sp 0.9-97 on. A test run would be:

xyz = data.frame(expand.grid(x=1:10,y=1:10),rnorm(100))
spplot(xyz, cex=10)

which used to plot points in value order, and does now in data record order.

I put up resulting graphs, for comparison, at

As this change may make some of your spplot's for points different, if
there are objections against this change (which I consider an
improvement, if not a bug fix), it is time now to let me / us know.

On 03/02/2012 09:03 PM, MacQueen, Don wrote:
> I have a SpatialPointsDataFrame object in which many points are very close
> together, such that the markers (plotting characters) tend to overlap. (Of
> course, this depends on marker size and the scale at which I plot; if I
> "zoom in" there is less overlap.)
> It appears that when markers overlap, spplot() places a marker associated
> with the larger value after, and therefore on top of, a marker associated
> with a smaller value.
> Am I correct? Or more generally, what is the algorithm that determines the
> order in which markers are added?
> I have searched ?spplot and related help pages and haven't found an
> explanation (at least, not yet).
> I can add that I don't believe markers are placed in the order in which
> they appear in the SpatialPointsDataFrame. I say this because when I
> attempt to reproduce an spplot using base graphics plot() I have to sort
> from smallest to largest value to succeed.
> I can probably provide a small reproducible example if necessary, but I'm
> hoping it's not necessary.
> Here are my actual commands.
>   tmps is the SpatialPointsDataFrame.
>   tmp is coordinates(tmps)
> (they have the same number of rows in the same order)
> Note that I'm using the cuts argument to break a continuous variable
> ('cpm2') into bins. I have carefully matched the colors in tmps$col2 with
> the cbin.cols object passed to spplot(), and the break points for the bin
> boundaries, so I believe that everything else that could affect the final
> appearance, other than the order in which the markers are placed, is
> controlled.
> #1 using spplot
> spplot(tmps,c('cpm2'),
>    key.space='right',
>    legendEntries=cbin.lbls,
>    cuts=cbin.brks,
>    col.regions=cbin.cols,
>    cex=0.4)
> #2 using base graphics
> plot(tmp[,1],tmp[,2], asp=1, cex=0.6, pch=16, col=tmps$col2)
> Thanks
> -Don

Edzer Pebesma
Institute for Geoinformatics (ifgi), University of Münster
Weseler Straße 253, 48151 Münster, Germany. Phone: +49 251
8333081, Fax: +49 251 8339763  http://ifgi.uni-muenster.de
http://www.52north.org/geostatistics      e.pebesma at wwu.de

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