Using R as a GIS

Recently I ran two courses on using R as a GIS. R can be a very flexible open source GIS, with many many examples across the web. However, it can have a steeper learning curve that ArcGIS or QGIS – however don’t let this put you off! It is very powerful when you script it, making resources like the 2011 Census Open Atlas easier to create. 

Crimes in LiverpoolThe first course focused on using Google Maps with R, showing how to use GGPlot2 to create maps with a Google Maps backdrop. We used R and R Studio, and covered importing and displaying point, line and polygon data. The worksheet is available, as is the presentation I gave.

The second course focused on using R for Geodemographic Analysis, using R’s built in plot command to display spatial data. We looked at the Output Area Classification geodemographic dataset and calculating index scores. The worksheet is available, as is the presentation I gave.

Both courses are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and free for you to use and re-use, subject to attribution. I would encourage you to let me know if you find them useful, and if you want to re-use the exercise, the files are available in GitHub repositories (Google Maps with R, R for Geodemographic Analysis) which you can fork

Cross-posted from

2 thoughts on “Using R as a GIS

    1. nick Post author

      I’m glad you like it – thanks for posting. Unfortunately I don’t have any recordings of my sessions. They are quite interactive so the recordings might be of limited use, but I will see about recording a future one if you think it would be useful.
      Best wishes, Nick.


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