Installing R spatial packages


Alex Chubaty


April 24, 2015

This guide will show you how to install a variety of packages used for analyzing spatial data in R. This is tested for R versions 3.1.2, 3.1.3, and 3.2.0; and for the operating systems explicitly mentioned in this guide.

Prerequisites and dependencies

Windows 7

Most R packages that require additional software will come with their own versions of that software. This generally means that installing R packages on Windows can be easier for the user than for other OSes because you don’t have to explicitly think about additional software dependencies.

OSX (Mavericks / Yosemite)

Install brew

This simple one-liner install is from the brew homepage,

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Add the science formulae:

brew tap homebrew/science

Upgrade existing brew installation

brew update && brew upgrade

Install additional components

brew install gdal
brew install homebrew/science/netcdf

Linux (Debian 7 / Ubuntu 14.04)

Some of the R packages that require additional system packages come prebuilt as r-cran-PACKAGE. However, this precompiled version make not always be the most recent, so building it yourself is often best. For the R packages we’ll be installing, we require the following system packages:

### install the system dependencies for spatial packages
sudo apt-get build-dep r-cran-rgl r-cran-tkrplot
sudo apt-get install bwidget libgdal-dev libgdal1-dev libgeos-dev libgeos++-dev libgsl0-dev libproj-dev libspatialite-dev netcdf-bin

### on machines not running a desktop environment (e.g., a server you SSH into):
# Install the X virtual frame buffer:
sudo apt-get install xauth xfonts-base xvfb

# Start each R session using xvfb to avoid warnings about no DISPLAY being set:
xvfb-run R

### Install additional useful system dependencies
sudo apt-get install ca-certificates curl libxml2-dev

R package installation

### install `devtools`

### install the main spatial packages we use
spatial.pkgs <- c("geoR", "mapdata", "maps", "maptools", "RandomFields", "plotKML", "rgdal", "rgeos", "shapefiles", "sp", "spatstat", "raster", "rts")
lapply(spatial.pkgs, install.packages)

### install additional spatial packages