Mappy Hour with R-Ladies: Spatial Data Analysis in R

Our very own Ayanthi Gunawardana and R-Ladies Chicago board member Angela Li join us this month to talk spatial statistics in R!

This event will be hosted over Zoom, and a link will be sent to all attendees at noon on the day of the event.


7-7:05 pm: R-Ladies NYC Announcements

7:05-7:30: “Uncharted Territory: An Introduction to Making Clear and Accurate Maps” by Ayanthi Gunawardana

7:30-7:55: “How to Be a Resilient Geospatial R useR: First Steps, Learning More, and the Spatial R-Ladies Community” by Angela Li

7:55-8:15: Questions and wrap-up

Title: Uncharted Territory: An Introduction to Making Clear and Accurate Maps

Presenter: Ayanthi Gunawardana

Abstract: Over the course of a decade, maps have gone from folded paper booklets inside the glove compartment of a car to having a map of the entire world inside everyone’s smartphone. As more spatial data becomes available, maps are no longer simple representations of places on Earth; maps now include visualizations of a wide range of newly available spatial datasets. We collect more and more data with location information, but does this mean that this information belongs on a map? I will cover some basic principles of good cartography and what to keep in mind when creating a map.

Bio: Ayanthi is a Data and Research Analyst at the New York City Department of Transportation, where she analyzes car crash data to inform street safety projects and street redesign. Ayanthi has a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, which sparked her interest in maps and data. When she’s not looking at maps, you can find Ayanthi at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class (pre pandemic) or cooking something spicy (all the time).

Title: How to Be a Resilient Geospatial R useR: First Steps, Learning More, and the Spatial R-Ladies Community

Presenter: Angela Li

Abstract: Learning to work with geospatial data in R can be challenging, but the right resources and open-source community can help whether you’re starting out with spatial data or moving your spatial analysis workflow to R. I’ll cover how you can get started with geospatial analysis in R, common questions and challenges I’ve seen, and where you can turn when you get stuck. I’ll draw insights from my experiences working 1-on-1 with researchers, teaching and assisting with spatial R workshops, and fielding questions from the #rspatialchat Twitter hashtag. Finally, I’ll discuss next steps for R-Ladies in the #rspatial community and talk about how we can help each other become better spatial data practitioners together.

Bio: Angela is a researcher and the R Spatial Advocate at the Center for Spatial Data Science at the University of Chicago. She has a background in spatial analysis, econometrics, and public policy. Prior to her current position, she worked at a startup focused on mobility and conducted research on housing and demolition in Detroit. She is currently researching the opioid epidemic in America, working with public health experts to better understand access to treatment. She is passionate about creating opportunities for underrepresented minorities to advance their data science and spatial thinking skills, starting R-Ladies Chicago and the #rspatialchat hashtag on Twitter, among other projects. She is a huge fan of the New York Times crossword.

Angela’s website is You can also find her on Github at @angela-li and Twitter @CivicAngela.

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