A review of rgdal (0.6-18)

5

Provides an excellent interface to GIS data

The rgdal package allows R users to call upon the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library (GDAL). GDAL and the bundled OGR library provide the means for reading and writing vector and raster data using a myriad of GIS file formats in common use. Supported filetypes include ESRI Shapefiles and GeoTIFF raster maps.

Data may be imported to or exported from the spatial data objects provided by the sp package. Additionally, the rgdal package provides an interface to the PROJ4 library which allows spatial data to be projected across coordinate systems.

The one difficulty that may arise with using the rgdal package is that the PROJ4 and GDAL libraries must be built from source. Building these libraries may take some time-- especially if other auxiliary libraries must be built to provide support for certain file formats such as netCDF or HDF5.

However, these packages are generally the products of mature projects and contain well written configure scripts which makes the build more a matter of time than skill.