Date of Award:

5-2020

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Mathematics and Statistics

Advisor/Chair:

Jürgen Symanzik

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Adele Cutler

Third Advisor:

Robert Gillies

Abstract

In order to effectively create map-based visualizations, some map modifications need to be conducted to ensure the map is readable and interpretable. There are several issues that need to be addressed to achieve this. The boundaries of a country may be overly complex which is particularly true with coastal areas of countries. Regions may be small and not seen in the final plot, as is the case with many capital cities in the world’s countries such as Washington D.C. and the Federal District of Mexico City. In other countries, regions may geographically lie far away from the rest of the country as is the case with the Galàpagos Islands in Ecuador and the state of Hawaii in the United States. To best use maps with these issues in visualizations, users need to modify the boundaries and regions using software, such as arcGIS and R. Modifications have been done in the past for many countries, including the United States, France, Germany, Scotland, China, Korea, Argentina, Brazil, and others. Before the ‘LMshapemaker’ R software package, there was no single location containing usable maps. Access to the modified boundaries for the countries previously mentioned are spread out across different sources and R packages. ‘LMshapemaker’ is a new R package developed in this thesis that not only provides ready-to-use boundaries for a majority of the countries in the world, but also provides an accessible approach for users to modify boundaries to their preferences through a Shiny R app.

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