Creating plots with custom icons for data points

Data visualizations that make smart use of icons have a way of conveying information that sticks. Dataviz professionals like Moritz Stefaner know this and use the practice in their daily work.

A recent #tidytuesday entry by Georgios Karamanis demonstrates how easy it is to integrate visual icons in your data figures when you write code in R. You can simply store the URL location of an icon as a data column, and map it to an aesthetic using the ggplot2::geom_image function.

Do have a closer look at Georgios’ github repository for week 21 of tidytuesday. You will probably have to alter the code a bit to get it to work. though!

For those who haven’t moved away from base R plotting functions yet, here’s a good StackOverflow item showing how to use icons in both base R and tidyverse.

Now that I think of it, the above probably uses the same methods that were used to make this amazing Game of Thrones map in R.

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