Newcastle R course, a write-up

I recently attended a week-long R course in Newcastle, taught by Colin Gillespie. It went from “An Introduction to R” to “Advanced Graphics” via a day each on modelling, efficiency and programming. Suffice to say it was an intense 5 days!

Overall it was the best R course I’ve been on so far. I’d recommend it to others, from advanced users to adventurous novices. Below I explain why, with a brief description of each day and an emphasis on day 2.

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ASDAR book Review

I was recently invited to write a book review for Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy (ASAP). The book, I conclude, “is the authoritative resource on R’s spatial capabilities” and should be of interest to many R users.

Below is a preprint of the full review, now published on ASAP’s website.

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Reproducibility in Regional Science

Today I presented my talk at the RSAI British and Irish Section. The talk is about reproducibility. Why are reproducible methods and results important? How reproducible is Regional Science? What can be done to increase the reproducibility of your work? These are the types of questions tackled in the talk, which also be seen on the Rpubs website.

Clipping spatial data in R

This miniature vignette shows how to clip spatial data based on different spatial objects in R and a ‘bounding box’. Spatial overlays are common in GIS applications and R users are fortunate that the clipping and spatial subsetting functions are mature and fairly fast. We’ll also write a new function called gClip(), that will make clipping by bounding boxes easier.

plot of chunk Westminster

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Consistent naming conventions in R

Naming conventions in R are famously anarchic, with no clear winner and multiple conventions in use simultaneously in the same package. This has been written about before, in a lucid article in the R Journal, a detailed exploration of names in R source code hosted on CRAN and general discussion on stackoverflow.

Basically, there are 5 naming conventions to choose from:

  • alllowercase: e.g. adjustcolor
  • period.separated: e.g. plot.new
  • underscore_separated: e.g. numeric_version
  • lowerCamelCase: e.g. addTaskCallback
  • UpperCamelCase: e.g. SignatureMethod

There are clear advantages to choosing one naming convention and sticking to it, regardless which one it is:

“Use common sense and BE CONSISTENT”

The Google Style Guide is ironically written in a rather inconsistent way (mixing capitals with lowercase in a single sentence surely breaks their own rule!)

But which one to choose? Read below to find out about the thorny issue of naming conventions in R, based on a tutorial on geo-spatial data handling in R.

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Some interesting links

The internet is awash with detritus. In the name of navigating the maze, these links highlight some more enlightened online content.

George Monbiot: investigative journalism at its best

R-Bloggers: a site endevouring to make statistics accessible and fun

Tom's bike trip: there are many 'bike trip' sites out there; this is one of the best

Personal links:

TGRG website: the Transport Geography group I'm involved with

MASS profile: academic profile at Leeds

Powerstar Youtube channel: check out my videos

R-Bloggers feed: posts about R

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