Because my GIS use tends to be sporadic implementations in larger projects, I have found it most convenient to use R packages such as sp, maptools, and rgeos rather than a dedicated GIS engine. This suits me well, and I can often find help in using these packages here on GIS SE. In my workflow, I have found ggmap to be extraordinarily useful.

With all of these packages, but with ggmap especially, there seems to be little consensus over where these questions belong. Simply looking at recent questions on Stack Overflow and GIS.SE reveals that questions including ggmap get about the same amount of traffic and similar answers on both sites.

Should I ask these questions on SO so that I can get attention from a wider community? Or should I ask them here to get a more dedicated audience? If the latter, should we start directing ggmap questions from SO? Does it really matter?


This question and answer is what actually precipitated this question, because I looked for a solution here first.

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    This is not exactly an answer, so I will leave it as a comment. I feel that ggmap tends to be more popular among non-geographers, and especially dataviz people who are already familiar with ggplot, while spatial statisticians and GIS people are more likely to work with sp and other related packages (raster, spdep, maptools, etc.). Possibly a reason why there is, as you say, less consensus about ggmap, but I'm not sure if this suggests an answer about where to place it. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be included at GIS.SE, but might not be answered here as readily. Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 23:32

2 Answers 2


You have chances to get answers on both places. However, I believe you could post here as this community is specific for GIS. If we want to see our community growing we should encourage more GIS questions here than SO. Now if your question is something very specific about programming and nothing related to GIS, then ask there.

Update:: this comment from 'whuber' carries additional advice about on-topicness relating to R questions:

... If your question requires statistical thinking or expertise to answer, it may be on topic at Cross Validated (CV) Stack Exchange. If you need help with general coding, interpreting an error message, algorithm design, etc., then Stack Overflow is the place to ask. If the problem seems to reside in the use of a spatially-oriented package, then you might get a good reception here on GIS. For comparison: 2500 R questions have appeared on GIS (2.6%), 17000 on CV (14.5%), 225,000 on SO (0.9%).

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    +1. I joined this community expecting it would help me become aware of and learn about alternative ways of performing GIS work. A great deal of its value to me lies in how it welcomes questions about all platforms. This information would otherwise get buried on SO.
    – whuber
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 15:42
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    +1 to both answer and comment. Be aware that cross-posting is frowned upon so I hope ggmap question askers will choose to post here, and later if question is getting no traction to consider requesting migration to SO.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2014 at 23:51

My rule-of-thumb is to post anything spatial here at GIS.SE. An added benefit is that the atmosphere at GIS.SE is much more welcoming and less "sassy" than SO. I think you will find that many SO users provide great technical answers, though gloss over basic geographic principles.

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