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,

About This Author

Matthias studied Environmental Information Management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna and holds a PhD in environmental statistics. The focus of his thesis was on the statistical modelling of rare (extreme) events as a basis for vulnerability assessment of critical infrastructure. He is working at the Austrian national weather and geophysical service (ZAMG) and at the Institute of Mountain Risk Engineering at BOKU University. He currently focuses the (statistical) assessment of adverse weather events and natural hazards, and disaster risk reduction. His main interests are statistical modelling of environmental phenomena as well as open source tools for data science, geoinformation and remote sensing.

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