Generating beautiful patterns with R

Motivated by my last experiments I decided to look a bit more into generating images with R. One of my favorite musicians Max Cooper released another absolutely gorgeous music video ( Check it out, the animation is fantastic. I was intrigued by the simple basic structure. It was just a rectangle divided by rectangles divided by rectangles. Something I can absolutely do with my R skills. So, I tried. The pictures are a result of that.

My tactic was to create a data frame just starting with the first rectangle, defined by start and end coordinates then just splitting them. I filled them randomly with colors. Honestly quite simple. Doing this and other experiments, I got a lot better making code run faster in R. Of course there is still a lot of space to improve. The code in my last post for example was super inefficient and I made a lot of basic mistakes (I improved it and now it runs a lot faster).

Here is the code if anyone is interested:


#data is one line of the total dataset, i is the number of the loop.
#because I don't want super long rectangles, I always first check which is the longe side.
yaxsplit=ifelse((data$z.x-data$a.x)^2>=(data$z.y-data$a.y)^2,F,T )
#create the divider which is a value which defines the proportions of the two new rectangles

#rectangle 1
#ifelse is necessary to change if it is a vertical split or not.
#here the new x.a1 and new y.a1 is created. (naming was a bit stupid I admit)
data[2,1]=ifelse(yaxsplit==T, data[1,1] , data[1,1]+(data[1,3]-data[1,1])*divider)
data[2,2]=ifelse(yaxsplit==T, data[1,2]+(data[1,4]-data[1,2])*divider, data[1,2])

#Points stay stay the same no mater the orientation.
#x.z1 and y.z1 are created

#rectangle 2
#are the same like in the first created recangle (x.a and y.a)
data[3,1]= data[2,1]
data[3,2]= data[2,2]
#y.z2 and y.z2 
data[3,3]=ifelse(yaxsplit==T, data[1,3] , data[1,1] )
data[3,4]=ifelse(yaxsplit==T, data[1,2] , data[1,4])

#add level (for potential animations)
#add a color. one of the rectangles keeps the color of the bigger rectangle, not necessary

#this changes which one of the rectangles is saved first. this should change it up and make sure there aren't more splits on one side.

# a list of color palettes

#how many splits should be done?
#create empty dataframe
#fill first row

#precreate random vector used for proportions and colors.
random=sample(1:4,loops,replace = T)

while(i <loops){
#filling up dateframe with simple loop and splitter functions

#this skips every few rows, so there stay a few bigger rectangles.

#this is just for me to choose one palettes in the list
alpha=9,show.legend = F,fill=pallist[[farbe]][df$color],col=pallist[[farbe]][5])+

Where have I been in 2018

Last year I made a post about where I have been in 2017. I was worse with R so I solved it with a combination of cleaning up the data with R, importing it into Qgis and finally edited it in HitFilms.

This time I just did it all in R. The difficult part this time was to get the Google API running for the import of Google maps. (You need to enable billing to get the whole thing running.) It was the first time I used the new ggAnimate. It is great and easy to use. Less of a hazzle then the last times I used it.

I could reuse some of last years code, so I was done quite fast. (not the greatest code tough.)


register_google(key = “AIzaSyCTCk3yYCPEo1UKVkZm_iQk_r4wPJCHlA4”)

system.time(x <- fromJSON(“GoogleLoc.json”))

# extracting the locations dataframe
loc = x$locations

# converting time column from posix milliseconds into a readable time scale
loc$time = as.POSIXct(as.numeric(x$locations$timestampMs)/1000, origin = “1970-01-01”)

# converting longitude and latitude from E7 to GPS coordinates
loc$lat = loc$latitudeE7 / 1e7
loc$lon = loc$longitudeE7 / 1e7

# calculate the number of data points per day, month and year
loc$date <- as.Date(loc$time, ‘%Y/%m/%d’)
loc$year <- year(loc$date)
loc$month_year <- as.yearmon(loc$date)

#new dataframe with the important units
maps<- data.frame(loc$lat,loc$long,loc$date,loc$time,loc$year)

#filter out the year and convert the longitude to the proper unit.
maps1<-maps%>%filter(loc.year==2018) %>% mutate(longitude = loc.long/10^7)

#choose the 10. measurement of each day. not very elegant, but good enough.
maps2<- maps1 %>% group_by( %>%

#get background map. set size, zoom, kind of map)
mamap <- get_map(location=c(mean(maps2$long,na.rm=T),mean(maps2$lat,na.rm=TRUE)+3), maptype = “satellite”,zoom=5)

#put it all together.
geom_point(data=maps2,aes(x=long,y=lat),size=4, col=”red”)+
#the animation part
shadow_trail(alpha=0.3,colour=”#ff695e”,size=2,max_frames = 6)

a=animate(m, renderer = ffmpeg_renderer(),duration=20)
anim_save(filename = “my2018/2018video.mp4”)

To which European countries do Europeans migrate?


Migration is a huge topic in Europe and I wanted to know where people go, when they leave the country they grew up in. Luckily Eurostat has some Data about that.

There is the problem of huge population differences between the countries, so I wasn’t able to just use the absolut numbers. So I created to graphs. Once it show the migrant-population  relative to the host country and once relative to their origin country.

I created the graphs with the help of R and Ggplot. Code of the second graph:

 scale_fill_distiller(palette="YlOrRd", direction = 1,na.value=NA,trans='log1p')+
 axis.text.x=element_text(angle = 45, hjust=.1),
 legend.position = "bottom")+
 labs(y="Host-Country",x="Origin-Country",fill="Share of Population in Host-Country (%)",
 title="Biggest groups of European immigrants in Europe (2017)",caption="Note: Missing countries had no Data avaible or were so small, that they distored the scale.
 Source: Eurostat")

Visualizing a Whatsapp-Conversation

In the last post I showed how I imported a Whatsapp-conversation and tidied it up a bit. Now I want to analyze it. For that I will use the libraries dplyr, stringr and ggplot2.

As a first step, I format the dates properly and create some new columns. I also decide to just focus on two years, 2016 and 2017.

  #convert DAte to the date format.
        Date=as.Date(Date, "%d.%m.%y"),
        year = format(Date,format="%y"),
        hour =  as.integer(substring(Time,1,2))
        #I filtered for two year, 2016/17

  labs(title="Numbers of Messages by Hour", subtitle="Total of two Years",
       y="Number Messages", x="Hour")

See more about the writing behavior of me an my friend, there is more formatting necessary. The words need to be counted too. To do so I use the stringr-library with str_count(data$Message, "\\S+")

Continue reading “Visualizing a Whatsapp-Conversation”

Importing a WhatApp-Conversation in R

I recently saw some people on Reddit analyzing their chat-conversations and I wanted to try it too. You can export a Whatsapp-Conversation by sending it as an Email to yourself. You will receive a txt-File with all the conversations. Because it isn’t formatted in a useful manner, you have to do it yourself. I will do this in this post and analyse the data in a second one. So this will be a bit more technical than usual. You can find the complete code here.

Continue reading “Importing a WhatApp-Conversation in R”

A dot-map of Europe

This map is a more leaning on the aesthetic- then data-side. The size of the dots correlates with the size of the population in that place. The color has no meaning and is just there to look nice. For the division of places I used the NUT3 standard which is quite useful, but has its problems if you use it to compare countries. Continue reading “A dot-map of Europe”

The Trams of Zurich animated

After I saw a great post on /r/dataisbeautiful where someone mapped a place with the help of location-data of rented bicycles, I searched if there is some similar data available where I live.

Continue reading “The Trams of Zurich animated”

Where have I been in 2017

I created this animation in the first days of 2018. A few years ago I accepted that most of my data is stored somewhere. Instead of avoiding this like before, I started to embrace it. In Google Locations for example all the places where you have been are stored (if you didn’t disable it). It can be quite useful to remember what you did a certain day.

This data can also be downloaded and analysed. I didn’t do that, I just wanted to make a nice animation. To do thso at I imported the data it into R with the help of the json-Library. I just chose one value for each day and exported that new data. The next steps could have been done in R too, but I was less experienced with the program back then.

I imported the data to QGIS instead. With the help of the TimeManager-Plugin I exported a frame for each day. I loaded those into Hitfilms Express, which is a fantastic free video-editing software. I used before to create Gifs, but they have a limit of 300 frames. I exported the video and uploaded it to Gfycat. And here it is.