Less than a month ago, Drew Conway suggested that our R user group present an analysis of the WikiLeaks data. In that short time he, Mike Dewar, John Myles White and Harlan Harris have put together a beautiful visualization of attacks in Afghanistan. The static image you see here has since been animated which is a really nice touch.
Within a few hours of them posting their initial results the work spread across the internet, even getting written up in Wired’s Danger Room. Today, they got picked up by the New York Times where you can see the animation.
The bulk of the work was, of course, done in R. I remember talking with them about how they were going to scrape the data from the WikiLeaks documents, but I am not certain how they did it in the end. As is natural for these guys they made their code available on GitHubso you can recreate their results, after you’ve downloaded the data yourself from WikiLeaks.
Briefly looking at their code I can see they used Hadley Wickham’s ggplot and plyr packages (which are almost standard for most R users) as well as R’s mapping packages. If you want to learn more about how they did this fantastic job come to the next R Meetup where they will present their findings.
Jared Lander is the Chief Data Scientist of Lander Analytics a New York data science firm, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, Organizer of the New York Open Statistical Programming meetup and the New York and Washington DC R Conferences and author of R for Everyone.