Culture of Coding

March 18, 2016

A source of pride for me as chair of this department is our culture of coding. We code to analyze data, create maps, and draw inference. As a graduate student in the 80’s I was trained in FORTRAN but statistics were always easier with SPlus. Hassles with annual licensing made it hard to use it for teaching. I tried SPSS for a semester but all the pointing and clicking made it tedious for students. I started coding in R about 15 years ago and I’ve never looked back. It’s better to teach what you use.

R is free and open source. So is Python. Most students I know like this. They learn R in Quantitative Geography and put it to use in Applied Spatial Statistics. I now teach ggplot (R package for plots) in my undergraduate courses, including those online. I’m glad to see that Python is also being taught. Not all geography is quantitative but what is benefits from code.