COINr has a number of options for plotting and visualising indicator data, both for analysis and presentation. All plots generated by COINr are powered by ggplot2, which means that if you want to customise them beyond the arguments provided by COINr functions, you can simply edit them with ggplot2 commands.
Note that prior to COINr v1.0.0, COINr additionally included interactive visualisation using apps and HTML widgets. This has been discontinued but those functions can still be accessed via the COINr6 package. See the vignette on this topic for the reasons behind this and further details.
Upon building a coin (see the Building coins
vignette), a good way to begin is to check the structure of the index.
This can be done visually with the
function, which generates a sunburst plot of the index structure.
The sunburst plot is useful for a few things. First, it shows the structure that COINr has understood. This allows you to check whether the structure agrees with your expectations.
Second, it shows the effective weight of each indicator. Effective
weights are the final weights of each indicator in the index, as a
result of the indicator weights, the parent aggregate weights, and the
structure of the index. This can reveal which indicators are implicitly
weighted more than others, by e.g. having more or less indicators in the
same aggregation groups. The effective weights can also be accessed
directly using the
Finally, it can be a good way to communicate your index structure to other people.
plot_framework() function has a few options for
colouring. Other than that, if you don’t like sunburst plots, another
possibility is to set
type = "stack":
This gives a linear representation of the index. Here we have also
set the colouring level to the pillar level (see
plot_framework() documentation). Note that you will
probably have to adjust the plot size to get a good figure.
Here we explore options for statistical plots, namely distribution and correlation plots.
The distribution of any variable, as well as groups of variables, in
a coin can be visualised quickly using the
function. The simplest case is to plot the distribution of a single
To do this, as usual, we have to specify the data set
dset) and the indicator (
iCodes) to plot. The
data selection for
plot_dist() is powered by
get_data(), which means we can plot subsets of indicator
and units. Commonly, with distribution plots, it might be interesting to
plot the distributions of all indicators belonging to a particular group
- let’s plot all indicator distributions in the “P2P” pillar:
This plots all eight indicators belonging to that group, and we also
specified to plot as “violin-dot” plots. Optionally, data can also be
normalised before plotting using the
plot_dist() for more details and further options.
A similar function,
plot_dot() also plots a single
indicator using dots but is rather used for highlighting individual
units rather than as a statistical plot of the distribution. See Dot plots below.
Correlation plots are very useful for understanding relationships
between indicators. COINr’s
plot_corr() function is a
flexible tool for plotting correlations between almost any variables in
a coin, and visualising them according to the structure of the
One thing to keep in mind from the outset is the directionality of your indicators: if some are negative then this will probably be reflected in the correlation plots, unless you normalise the data first. With that in mind, we will build the full example coin including the normalisation step and then plot some correlations:
Now let’s do a basic plot of correlations within a group:
Notice the syntax: we have to specify
iCodes as a list
here, and specify the level to get data from. In this case we have
specified that we want the indicators (level 1) of the “Physical” group
to be correlated against each other. As usual these arguments are passed
The reason that
iCodes is specified as a list is that we
can pass two character vectors to it, possibly from different
The point being that we can select any set of indicators or
aggregates, and correlate them with any other set. We can also pass
further arguments to
get_data() such as groupings and unit
selection, if needed.
Other useful features include the possibility to correlate a set of
indicators with only its parent groups - this is done by setting
withparent = "family". Here we also set to a discrete
colour scheme using
flagcolours = TRUE.
Notice that boxes are drawn around aggregation groups in this case.
As a final example, we show how boxes and groups can be used to show
subsets of correlation matrices. Typically the most interesting
correlations are within aggregation groups because weak correlations
cause less information to be transferred to the aggregate. We can only
show in-group correlations using the
which takes an aggregation level to group indicators at:
This can also be done with the
box_level argument, which
can be used additionally to highlight groupings at different levels:
In this case we have also disabled correlation values themselves.
Other options include using different types of correlations, and
changing colours. For details, see the help page of
plot_corr(). It is also worth mentioning that underneath,
get_corr(), so if you are
interested in correlation matrices rather than plots, use that.
In this section we examine some options for visualising individual indicators, in particular with the aim of seeing how different units compare to one another.
A simple way to look at a set of scores for an indicator is with a bar chart:
plot_bar() function returns a bar chart of single
indicator, sorted from high to low values. We can also colour this by
any of the grouping variables found in the coin
Here we have also set
axes_label = "iName" to output
indicator names rather than codes. Several other options are available,
including a log scale, and colouring options. Here we just show one more
thing, which is the possibility to break bars down into underlying
component scores. This only works if we are plotting an aggregate score
(i.e. level 2 or higher), rather than an indicator, because it looks for
the underlying scores used to calculate each aggregate score. For
example, we can see how the Sustainability scores break down into their
three underlying components, for each country:
COINr’s dot plot is pretty similar to a distribution plot but is intended for showing the position of a particular unit or units relative to its peers. This means that to make it useful, you should also select one or more units to highlight.
Here we have plotted the “LPI” indicator and highlighted Spain and Japan. We can also add a statistic of this indicator, such as the median:
Here we have also labelled the statistic using
stat_label, and labelled the x-axis using the indicator
name and unit which are taken from the indicator metadata found within
plot_scatter() function gives a quick way to plot
scatter plots between any indicators or any variables in a coin.
Variables can come from different data sets (including unit metadata), and we can also colour by groups:
Here we have also converted the x-axis to a log scale since
population is highly skewed. Other options can be found in the help page
plot_scatter(), and all plots can be further modified
using ggplot2 commands.