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.
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
- Simple Features for R
- Reading, Writing and Converting Simple Features
- 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.