University of California, Davis

Nov 29-30, 2018

9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Instructors: Michele Tobias, Michael Koontz, Erin Becker

Helpers: Tracy Teal, Karen Word

This R-based geospatial workshop will introduce project organisation and management for spatial data, cover data structures and storage and transfer formats, teach the creation of summary statistics and publication-quality graphics, and help users work with and plot vector and raster-format spatial data in R.

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 graduate students and other researchers. Workshop enrollment will be capped at 30 learners. You don't need to have any previous knowledge of the tools that will be presented at the workshop.

Where: Gladys Valley Hall, Room 2030, Davis, California 95616. Get directions with OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.

When: Nov 29-30, 2018. Add to your Google Calendar.

Requirements: Participants must bring a laptop 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). They are also required to abide by Data Carpentry's Code of Conduct.

Accessibility: We are committed to making this workshop accessible to everybody. The workshop organizers have checked that:

Materials will be provided in advance of the workshop and large-print handouts are available if needed by notifying the organizers in advance. If we can help making learning easier for you (e.g. sign-language interpreters, lactation facilities) please get in touch (using contact details below) and we will attempt to provide them.

Contact: Please email for more information.


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

Pre-workshop Survey

Post-workshop Survey


We will use this collaborative document for chatting, taking notes, and sharing URLs and bits of code.


Geospatial Concepts

  • Introduction to raster and vector data format and attributes
  • Examples of data types commonly stored in raster vs vector format
  • Introduction to categorical vs continuous raster data and multi-layer rasters
  • Introduction to the file types and R packages used in the remainder of this workshop
  • Introduction to coordinate reference systems and the PROJ4 format
  • Overview of commonly used program and applications for working with geospatial data

Programming in R

  • Working with R in the RStudio GUI
  • Project management and file organization
  • Importing data into R
  • Introduction to R’s core data types and data structures
  • Manipulation of data frames (tabular data) in R
  • Introduction to visualization
  • Writing data to a file
  • Reference...

Geospatial Raster and Vector Data

  • Open, manipulate and plot vector and raster-format spatial data in R
  • Working with spatial metadata (extent and coordinate reference systems)
  • Reprojecting spatial data
  • Working with raster time series data


To install the software we will use for this Geospatial Data Carpentry workshop, please follow the instructions under "Option A" here: 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.