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Tutorial: Using Nextstrain for SARS-CoV-2


1. Setup and installation
2. Preparing your data
3. Orientation: analysis workflow
4. Orientation: files
5. Running & troubleshooting
6. Customizing your analysis
7. Customizing your visualization

Visualization & interpretation

8. Options: visualizing and sharing
9. Interpreting your results
10. Writing a narrative

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This project is maintained by nextstrain

Customizing your Auspice visualization

Just as we can specify a build-specific analysis options in the builds.yaml file, we can also specify build-specific visualization options in this directory.

Looking at the builds.yaml file, the last few lines are:

  auspice_config: "my_profiles/example/my_auspice_config.json"

This points to a JSON file that parameterizes the output files used for visualizion with Auspice. Let's look at what kinds of customization options we can use this for.

Custom color schemes

If you'd like to specify a custom color scale, you can add a colors.tsv file, where each line is a tab-delimited list of a metadata column name; a metadata value; and a corresponding hex code.

The first few lines of the example file look like this:

country	Russia	#5E1D9D
country	Serbia	#4D22AD
country	Europe	#4530BB

Make sure to also add

  colors: "my_profiles/<name>/colors.tsv"

to your builds.yaml file.

Changing the dataset description

The dataset description, which appears below the visualizations, is read from a file which is specified in builds.yaml. Per-build description can be set by specifying them in the build.

  north-america: # name of the build; this can be anything
    description: my_profiles/example/

If that is not provided, then a per-run description is used, also specified in builds.yaml:

  description: my_profiles/example/

Adding custom metadata fields to color by

  1. Add a valid metadata column to your metadata.tsv
  2. Open my_profiles/<name>/auspice_config.json
  3. Add an entry to the colorings block of this JSON:
"colorings": [
    "key": "location",
    "title": "Location",
    "type": "categorical"
    "key": "metadata_column_name",
    "title": "Display name for interface",
    "type": "categorical" or "continuous"

Choosing defaults

You can specify the default view in the display_defaults block of an auspice_config.json file (see above)

"display_defaults": {
  "color_by": "division",
  "distance_measure": "num_date",
  "geo_resolution": "division",
  "map_triplicate": true,
  "branch_label": "none"

Choosing panels to display

Similarly, you can choose which panels to enable in the panels block:

"panels": [

Previous Section: Orientation: Customizing your analysis

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