Simple features for R

Hey folks,

sf is an rather new R package for handling and analyzing spatial data in R. While various R packages are available that provide classes and methods for spatial data (e.g. sp, rgdal and rgeos), sf, which is developed by Edzer Pebesma and others, is intended to gradually replace the well known sp package. The motivation behind this package is to provide a complete, standardized implementation of simple features in R, with links to GDAL, GEOS and Proj.4.

There are already three well-designed and informative vignettes documenting the sf package:

  1. Simple Features for R
  2. Reading, Writing and Converting Simple Features
  3. Manipulating Simple Feature Geometries

One of the most notable advantages is the gain in performance when reading spatial data (due to using C++ and Rcpp as well as the efficient WKB representations) and the smaller object sizes for the resulting spatial objects in R.

Together with the C++ port/implementation of the raster package, these developments show that the masterminds behind the R spatial community have their fingers on the pulse of the time. I am really looking forward to exploring the exciting new possibilities introduced by the sf-package in greater detail.

Best regards,


Matthias studied Environmental and Bio-Resources Management with a specialization in Environmental Information Management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Vienna). He is currently a PhD student working at the Austrian Institute of Technology. Having written his master's thesis about extreme weather risk identification for the Austrian road network, he currently focuses on modeling of adverse weather events as a basis for risk assessment of road infrastructure networks.

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