Mazama Science has released a new set of tutorials demonstrating the use of air quality R packages to investigate data from regulatory monitors and low-cost sensors. This post is just a short summary of what the tutorials cover. We invite anyone interested in wildfire smoke and air quality to run through the tutorials and provide feedback.Continue reading
Qualitative Display of Air Quality Data
Graphical excellence is that which gives to the viewer the greatest number of ideas in the shortest time with the least ink in the smallest space.Edward Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
This post briefly summarizes our thoughts on best practices for designing public-facing data graphics for air quality data. Focus will be on the types of charts we feel are appropriate to use with data (e.g. from low-cost sensors) that may not be as accurate as data collected by monitors using Federal Regulatory or Federal Equivalent Methods (see FRMs/FEMs and Sensors). Visualization types discussed will include:
- time-series charts
- status and forecast tables
Cross-origin requests with beakr
beakr is a lightweight and flexible web framework that allows you to incorporate R code as the Middleware responsible for handling web requests. At Mazama Science, we developed beakr to simplify the process of creating R-based web services that we use to deliver a variety of products: data files, images, rendered Rmarkdown documents, etc.
Zero vs. Missing
On the left we have zero, our integer measure of nothingness. On the right we have missing value, aka N/A, aka NA, our signal that the value of a datapoint is unknown. Everyone who deals with data has to deal with this important distinction. And far too often people get it wrong.Continue reading
MazamaSpatialUtils R package
Version 0.7 of the MazamaSpatialUtils is now available on CRAN and includes an expanded suite of spatial datasets with even greater cleanup and harmonization than in previous versions. If your work involves environmental monitoring of any kind, this package may be of use. Here is the description:
A suite of conversion functions to create internally standardized spatial polygons dataframes. Utility functions use these data sets to return values such as country, state, timezone, watershed, etc. associated with a set of longitude/latitude pairs. (They also make cool maps.)
In this post we discuss the reasons for creating this package and describe its main features.Continue reading
Data producers vs. data consumers
In the marketplace, the needs of producers and consumers are often at odds: producers want higher prices, consumers lower ones; producers want easy assembly, consumers easy dis-assembly; producers want flexibility and rapid prototyping, consumers reliability and long-term support.
The same competing needs exist in the world of scientific data management where producers of data and consumers of data often operate in very different worlds with very different sets of tools.Continue reading
Web Frameworks for R – A Brief Overview
Having recently announced the beakr web framework for R, we have received several questions about context and why we choose beakr over other options for some of our web services. This post will attempt to answer some of those questions by providing a few opinions on beakr and other web frameworks for R.
The comparison will by no means be exhaustive but will attempt to briefly summarize some of the key features each web framework has to offer. While there are some differences in the approach each package takes to developing web services, they all share similar basic functionality. In the end, the choice of a particular framework will come down largely to personal preference.Continue reading
When is a number not a number?
Have you ever asked yourself whether your telephone number is really a number? It’s got numbers in it but does it measure anything?
How about your credit card number? PO Box? Social Security Number? Zip code? What would happen if you subtracted one of these from another?
As it turns out, many of the “numbers” we deal with every day are actually identifiers and not a measure of something. Sadly, too many data managers do not distinguish between the two even though making this distinction is quite simple.Continue reading
beakr – A small web framework for R
What is beakr?
beakr is an unopinionated and minimalist web framework for developing and deploying web services with R. It is designed to make it as simple as possible for data scientists and engineerings to quickly write web applications, services, and APIs without worrying about lower-level details or high-level side-effects. In other words, beakr is made to be explicit, robust, and scalable – and the batteries are not included.Continue reading
Standard Latitudes and Longitudes
What? Where? When?
These are key questions that every scientist or other collector of environmental data must answer.
- What is the value of the thing we are measuring?
- Where are we taking the measurement?
- When are we taking the measurement?
In a previous post we discussed how to standardize “when”. But what about “where”?Continue reading