Hexagonal statebins, or hive-like maps

I was excited to see a hexagonal statebin map on an NPR politics article this week. It reminded me of my exploration of statebins back in March, though obviously I wasn't trying to predict any elections. Remember that basic statebins may look like this:


(There's no meaning to this data - it's just an example.)

The author of the R statebins package made a short walkthrough last year about how to make a hexagonal version. It requires some geometry and geography-specific packages - I ran into some configuration issues with those and couldn't replicate the results - but the provided results look nice. (Potentially related: a hexagonal heatmap.

NPR sure seems to like hexagonal state maps. Someone was apparently inspired by that post and made a straightforward implementation called rGridMap*. Its output looks like this:

rGridMap assumes that the fill variable is categorical rather than continuous.

The overall idea of statebins probably isn't palatable to everyone and I'd suspect that hexagons only exacerbate the issue. The hex approach looks fun, though.


*Bucking the trend of "RPackageName" or "rpackagename".