Working with Geospatial Data in R

Jornada LTER and New Mexico State University


November 10, 11, 15, 16, 2022

1pm - 5pm MST

Instructors: Gregory Maurer, Alesia Hallmark, Darren James, Todd Quinn, Jonathan Wheeler

Helpers: John Ragosta

General Information

Data Carpentry develops and teaches workshops on the fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its target audience is researchers who have little to no prior computational experience, and its lessons are domain specific, building on learners' existing knowledge to enable them to quickly apply skills learned to their own research. Participants will be encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

For more information on what we teach and why, please see our paper "Good Enough Practices for Scientific Computing".

Who: The course is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, and other researchers in environmental sciences. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop, though some experience with the R programming language and the tidyverse will be helpful.

Where: This training will take place online. The instructors will provide you with the information you will need to connect to this meeting.

When: November 10, 11, 15, 16, 2022. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must have access to a computer with a Mac, Linux, or Windows operating system (not a tablet, Chromebook, etc.) that they have administrative privileges on. They should have a few specific software packages installed (listed below).

Accessibility: We are dedicated to providing a positive and accessible learning environment for all. Please notify the instructors in advance of the workshop if you require any accommodations or if there is anything we can do to make this workshop more accessible to you.

Contact: Please email or for more information.

Roles: To learn more about the roles at the workshop (who will be doing what), refer to our Workshop FAQ.

Code of Conduct

Everyone who participates in Carpentries activities is required to conform to the Code of Conduct. This document also outlines how to report an incident if needed.

Collaborative Notes and Chats

We used this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code. A pdf copy is archived here, and group chats are available in a zip archive.


Please be sure to complete these surveys before and after the workshop.

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


Day 1

Before starting Pre-workshop survey
Lesson 1 Introduction to Geospatial Concepts
  1:10 pm     Introduction to Raster Data
  1:35 pm     Introduction to Vector Data
  1:50 pm     Coordinate Reference Systems
  1:05 pm     The Geospatial Landscape
  2:15 pm ~10 min Break
Lesson 2 Brief Refresher on R
  2:25 pm     Intro to R and R Studio
  2:50 pm     Project management with R Studio
  3:05 pm     Data frame manipulation with dplyr
  3:45 pm ~15 min Break
  4:00 pm     Intro to visualization
  4:35 pm     Writing data

Day 2

Lesson 3 Introduction to Geospatial Raster and Vector Data with R
  1:10 pm     Intro to raster data
  2:00 pm ~5 min Break
  2:05 pm     Plot raster data
  3:15 pm ~10 min Break
  3:25 pm     Reproject raster data
  4:25 pm ~10 min Break
  4:35 pm     Raster calculations

Day 3

Lesson 3 (cont.) Introduction to Geospatial Raster and Vector Data with R
  1:10 pm     Raster calculations (cont.)
  1:35 pm     Working with multi-band rasters
  2:35 pm ~10 min Break
  2:45 pm     Open and plot shapefiles
  3:15 pm     Explore and plot by vector layer attributes
  4:15 pm ~10 min Break
  4:25 pm     Plot multiple shapefiles

Day 4

Lesson 3 (cont.) Introduction to Geospatial Raster and Vector Data with R
  1:10 pm     Plot multiple shapefiles (cont.)
  1:25 pm     Handling spatial projections and CRS
  2:25 pm ~15 min Break
  2:40 pm     Convert from .csv to shapefile
  3:40 pm ~10 min Break
  3:50 pm     Manipulate raster data
  4:50pm - End Post-workshop survey


To participate in a Data Carpentry workshop, you will need access to software as described below. In addition, you will need an up-to-date web browser.

We maintain a list of common issues that occur during installation as a reference for instructors that may be useful on the Configuration Problems and Solutions wiki page.

Install the videoconferencing client

If you haven't used Zoom before, go to the official website to download and install the Zoom client for your computer.

Set up your workspace

Like other Carpentries workshops, you will be learning by "coding along" with the Instructors. To do this, you will need to have both the window for the tool you will be learning about (a terminal, RStudio, your web browser, etc..) and the window for the Zoom video conference client open. In order to see both at once, we recommend using one of the following set up options:

This blog post includes detailed information on how to set up your screen to follow along during the workshop.

The setup instructions for the Data Carpentry Geospatial workshop can be found at the workshop overview site.


This workshop is funded through the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement OIA-1757207. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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