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AWRA 2018 Spring Specialty Conference 
GIS & Water Resources X:  
Spatial Analysis of Watersheds – Ecological, Hydrological, and Societal Responses

April 22-25, 2018
Salon 7  /  Rosen Centre Hotel, Orlando FL


R and Spatial Data

Sunday, April 22, 2018   8:00AM to 4:30PM

Cost:  $89 / Registrations must be made by April 2, 2018

To register online/mail-in use this link: https://members.awra.org/event.aspx?Eventkey=fl2018

Instructors:  Marc Weber, U.S. EPA, Michael McManus, U.S. EPA, and Steve Kopp, Esri

Objective:  R is an open source language and environment for statistical computing and graphics that can also be used for both spatial analysis (i.e. geoprocessing and mapping of different types of spatial data) and spatial data analysis (i.e. the application of statistical descriptions and models to georeferenced data).  The ability to accomplish these spatial tasks, alongside typical statistical and graphics tasks, in one environment is an asset of using R, along with the reproducibility and transparency of analyses done in an open source environment.  This workshop provides an introduction to working with spatial data in R and doing exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA).  Examples of ESDA methods include lagged scatter plots, Moran scatter plots, and linked micromaps.  We will briefly mention some R packages that have been specifically developed to meet the needs of monitoring and modeling aquatic resources, such as lakes, rivers, and streams.  Lastly, we will show how R and ArcGIS software can be integrated.  The objective of this workshop is to provide users with the fundamentals of reading, visualizing and analyzing spatial data in R.

Background:  In April 2008 there just 24 packages in R for handling and analyzing spatial data; whereas now there are over 180 packages.  The development of these packages has facilitated a smoother workflow and analysis of spatial data in the R environment. 

Topics: The workshop topics include:

  1. Understand spatial data structure in R
  2. Read vector and raster data into R
  3. Perform exploratory spatial data analysis in R
  4. Describe R packages, approaches, and analyses for spatial data from aquatic ecological studies
  5. Learn about the R-ArcGIS bridge for linking R workflows with ArcGIS

Take Aways:   Through a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and exercises participants will gain knowledge and experience working with spatial data and R.  In this workshop participants will write and run R code to read, visualize, and explore spatial data.  This foundation will allow them to use other R package for spatial analysis and spatial data analysis for their aquatic research and monitoring.

Attendee Requirements:  Prior to the start of the workshop everyone will need to have the software installed and tested on their laptops. You will need to have R and RStudio. Get the latest versions of each and install using the defaults.  Additionally, participants might want ArcGIS 10.3.1 or higher, or Pro 1.1 or higher on their laptops.  Demo licenses will be made available before the workshop.

Number of Students:  The number of students will be limited to 20

Schedule:  (Subject to modification)

  • Welcome, Introductions, and Workshop Logistics – 8:30 am
  • Lesson 01 – Spatial Objects and Libraries in R – 8:45
  • Lesson 02 – A Gentle Introduction to the New Simple Features for R Package – 9:45
  • Break – 10:15
  • Lesson 03 – Exploring Raster Data in R – 11:00
  • Lunch – 12:00 noon
  • Lesson 04 – Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis – 1:30 pm
  • Lesson 05 – Linked Micromaps – 2:30
  • Break – 3:45
  • Lesson 06 – Using R with ArcGIS – 4:00
  • Adjourn – 4:30


Marc Weber is a geographer working at the US EPA’s Western Ecology Division in Corvallis, OR.  His work focuses on using spatial analysis in the realm of aquatic ecology, and particularly using spatial analysis in support of the EPA’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys.  He develops approaches primarily in Python and R, as well as ArcGIS, to process landscape data for spatial sampling designs and modeling.  Marc has a masters degree in geography from Portland State University and has led several R spatial workshops for various audiences over the last eight years.

Michael McManus is an ecologist at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment in the Office of Research and Development in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He conducts spatial ecology research by applying statistical descriptions and models to georeferenced data of aquatic ecosystems, including streams, watersheds, and near-shore habitats, such seagrasses. He has used linked micromaps for a multivariate assessment of watershed condition and environmental stressors and applied statistical stream network modeling to prediction nutrient concentrations in a watershed.

Steve Kopp is a geographer and senior product engineer on the Geoproessing and Spatial Analysis team at Esri in Redlands, California. For more than 25 years he has been designing and building GIS analysis software products and collaborating with the water resources community integrating GIS into their work. Recent work includes big data spatial analytics and integration with 3rd party analytic toolkits such as R.