It be "International Talk Like a Pirate" day - Arrr!!!


Avast Mateys!  Did you know that International Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up?!? (September 19)

Here's the official website, if you'd like more info.

Talk Like a Pirate day image and link

And what better way to get into the spirit of things than to use SAS/GRAPH to plot some real pirate data - Arrrr!!!

Here's a gmap showing the locations of pirate attacks this year. Click this link (or the map below) to see the full-size interactive map where you can hover over the markers for more information about individual attacks, and click the markers to drill down to a full report about the attack!

Link to pirate attack map

There's also a gplot of the same data below the map, so you can see how many attacks have happened over the course of the year, and look for trends:

link to pirate map and scatter plot

And a table of all the attacks (color-coded the same as the markers in the map and graphs) if you're more of a table person.  Here's a screen capture of the first few observations in the table:

screen capture of traffic-lighted table


Note that this is more than just a 'fun' example - there are a lot of neat SAS 'tricks' being used here!

  • The attack lat/long locations are read directly from the HTML of a web page, using some code that Rick Langston helped me develop. All of the data was on a single very long line in the HTML, which required us to get somewhat tricky.
  • I reused the same colored markers from the map, in the plot, by just changing their x/y coordinates. (rather than letting gplot color the markers) This guarantees that the colors match between the map and the plot.
  • The colored dots have HTML mouse-over text, and when you click them they drill down to the detailed report on that attack.
  • I use a user-defined format to control the background color in the "proc print" table, so they match the marker colors.
  • There's an annotated image (pirate flag) on the map, as well as a custom annotated color legend.

Doesn't this inspire you to learn more SAS tricks?!?  Click here to see the actual code used.

P.S.  If you leave a comment, please "Talk Like a Pirate" --  Arrr!!!   b)



About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 20 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).


  1. bob mcconnaughey on

    awesome...can i forward? (our silly management's silly security software ...ummm blocks any blogs...even SAS blogs.) i thought i'd just give credit and pass the graphs/maps..We ARE a SAS site and have been for the last 30 yrs.

    • Robert Allison

      Aye matey! - Ye have me permission to forward the link to the treasure map, even if ye aren't allowed to forward blogs by yer cap'n!

  2. arrrrr, matey! How about some skulls & crossbones instead of red dots on the map? ;) Tiny cannons for yellow dots? A scurvy dog for blue dots! Arrrrrrrnnotate!

    • Robert Allison

      Arrre ye tryin' to get me keel-hauled?!? ... If I be usin' odd-shaped markers, they won't mark the timy spots on the map as well, and the likes of Stephen Few will likely run-me-through! b)

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