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Series: Introduction to Spatial Data and Spatial Data Management

This tutorial series explain the background and necessary information for working with temporal and spatial data in R.

R Skill Level: Intermediate - you’ve got the basics of R down but haven’t worked with temporal or spatial data in R before.

Series Objectives

After completing this series, you will:

  • know where to find external data
  • understand the fundamentals of projection, coordinate reference system, and other spatial metadata to be able to work with spatial data
  • know the scientific background material to ask questions related to phenological data, including:
    • NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index)
    • PAR (Photosynthetically-active Radiation)

Things You’ll Need To Complete This Series

Setup RStudio

To complete the tutorial series you will need an updated version of R and, preferably, RStudio installed on your computer.

R is a programming language that specializes in statistical computing. It is a powerful tool for exploratory data analysis. To interact with R, we strongly recommend RStudio, an interactive development environment (IDE).

Install R Packages

You can chose to install packages with each lesson or you can download all of the necessary R Packages now.

More on Packages in R - Adapted from Software Carpentry.


Set Working Directory: This lesson assumes that you have set your working directory to the location of the downloaded and unzipped data subsets. An overview of setting the working directory in R can be found here.

R Script & Challenge Code: NEON data lessons often contain challenges that reinforce learned skills. If available, the code for challenge solutions is found in the downloadable R script of the entire lesson, available in the footer of each lesson page.

Working with Spatio-temporal Data in R Series: This tutorial series is part of a larger spatio-temporal metaseries and Data Carpentry workshop. Included series are Introduction to Spatial Data and Spatial Data Management, Introduction to Working With Raster Data in R, Introduction to Working With Vector Data in R and Introduction to Working With Time Series Data in Text Formats in R.

Tutorials in the Series