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R for Spatial Data

Statistical Programming

R is a powerful, widely used software environment for statistical computing and graphics which excels at analyzing and processing geographic data sets. Geospatial analysis capabilities within R are available in R packages (modules that extend the capabilities of R) that provide access to a large number of traditional and state of the art algorithms, often before they are available in other open source or proprietary software. R and its packages are able to process point, line, polygon and grid data. Users can accomplish a broad array of tasks such as: image classification, statistical analysis to infer spatial relationships and patterns of features, and others listed in the core features below. The functions available via R complement and advance capabilities found in GIS and image processing software.

The core R interface is a command line window which provides excellent flexibility and control but tends to lengthen the time required to become a proficient user when compared to software with a graphical user interface (GUI). Fortunately R is well documented on the web site which eases the learning process. Scripts are often used to automate processing steps but there are GUIs, the leading one being RStudio (

R is an implementation of the S programming language and there is significant compatibility between R and legacy S and S-Plus code as well as between R and the modern commercial version of S, TIBCO Spotfire S+. This makes it possible to convert different versions of S code to run on R without major code modifications.

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Core Features

  • Complete Object Oriented Programming Language designed for Statistics and similar Mathematical intensive applications
  • Hundreds of community contributed add-on packages for spatial statistics
  • Classes for spatial data
  • Handling spatial data
  • Reading and writing spatial data
  • Point pattern analysis
  • Geostatistics
  • Disease mapping and areal data analysis
  • Spatial regression
  • Ecological analysis
  • Powerful raster processing algorithms



Licence: GPL

Software Version: 3.4.0

Supported Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac, Unix

Community Support: