Creating contour maps in R

I had a need recently to create some contour maps plotted over basemaps, using randomly distributed data. Given that there has been a lot of recent changes in the geostatistical and mapping areas of R, it took me some time to work out just how I wanted to make my maps. Given that this is a rather large and somewhat confusing topic, I decided to document what I worked out. I hope this will be helpful to others who may need to traverse this path. My blog entry may be found below.

Making Contour Maps in R

Summary of process

  • Create geodetically proper data in geographic and/or projected coordinates
  • Preliminary work : basemap, Area of Interest
  • Plot contours of measurement point density
  • Create a grid to define interpolation locations
  • Build an interpolator using:
    • Inverse distance weighted
    • Kriging
    • Spline fitting
    • Thin-plate model
  • Interpolate/Predict points onto the grid
  • Calculate errors and plot
  • Generate contours
  • Plot contours over a basemap
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