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How to Make a Heatmap with Irregular Bins in R

There are existing functions and packages to make heatmaps in R, but when the data is irregular, it’s worth going custom.

Heatmaps in R usually require or assume a rectangular dataset with the same sized cells all the way through. Sometimes data is unevenly spaced though, in which case you can either reformat your data to squeeze it into a function, or you can draw it ad hoc. This tutorial is for the latter.

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About the Author

Nathan Yau is a statistician who works primarily with visualization. He earned his PhD in statistics from UCLA, is the author of two best-selling books — Data Points and Visualize This — and runs FlowingData. Introvert. Likes food. Likes beer.