micromap: A Package for Linked Micromaps

Quinn C. Payton, Michael G. McManus, Marc H. Weber, Anthony R. Olsen, Thomas M. Kincaid

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The R package micromap is used to create linked micromaps, which display statistical summaries associated with areal units, or polygons. Linked micromaps provide a means to simultaneously summarize and display both statistical and geographic distributions by linking statistical summaries to a series of small maps. The package contains functions dependent on the ggplot2 package to produce a row-oriented graph composed of different panels, or columns, of information. These panels at a minimum typically contain maps, a legend, and statistical summaries, with the color-coded legend linking the maps and statistical summaries. We first describe the layout of linked micromaps and then the structure required for both the spatial and statistical datasets. The function create_map_table in the micromap package converts the input of an sp SpatialPolygonsDataFrame into a data frame that can be linked with the statistical dataset. Highly detailed polygons are not appropriate for display in linked micromaps so we describe how polygon boundaries can be simplified, decreasing the time required to draw the graphs, while retaining adequate detail for detection of spatial patterns. Our worked examples of linked micromaps use public health data as well as environmental data collected from spatially balanced probabilistic surveys.

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