Easily make an interactive map on the web from R

R is great, but not so great for interactive stuff. Github recently announced support for interactive maps based on geojson format data. geojson is basically just JSON data with additional metadata for mapping purposes. We have discussed this before on our blog when we talked about making geojson based maps and about styling geojson maps.

Here is a brief demo of a simple, but awesome, use case in which you have a set of species and you want an interactive map. This is an easy way to get there using our package spocc which gets GBIF occurrence data from R.

Install spocc from CRAN


Load spocc


Define a species list

splist <- c('Danaus plexippus','Accipiter striatus','Pinus contorta')

Search for occurrence data for each species using occ

And fix names so that there is only one unique name string per taxon.

dat <- occ(splist, from='gbif', gbifopts=list(hasCoordinate=TRUE))
dat <- fixnames(dat, "query")

Make a Github gist from R

Simply use the mapgist function to send the geojson file to Github gists, and you've got an ineractive map on the interwebs.

mapgist(dat, color=c('#976AAE','#6B944D','#BD5945'), size=c('small','medium','large'))

And the gist function call tells you where to go find your map on your github account. Done, that was easy, no? And we can even embed the map here, like this:

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