Zillow has a set of shapefiles for different neighborhoods of major US cities. I wanted to check if certain buildings were present in certain neighborhoods using R:


df <- data.frame(Latitude =c(47.591351, 47.62212,47.595152),
                 Longitude = c(-122.332271,-122.353985,-122.331639),
                 names = c("Safeco Field", "Key Arena", "Century Link"))
coordinates(df) <- ~ Latitude + Longitude

wa.map <- readOGR("ZillowNeighborhoods-WA.shp", layer="ZillowNeighborhoods-WA")

sodo <- wa.map[wa.map$CITY == "Seattle"  & wa.map$NAME == "Industrial District", ]

I can plot without any issues

points(df$Latitude ~ df$Longitude, col = "red", cex = 1)

enter image description here

I match the proj4 string from the shapefile to my data.frame

CRSobj <- CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=NAD83 +no_defs +ellps=GRS80 +towgs84=0,0,0 ")
df@proj4string <- CRSobj

over(df, sodo)

This just gives me a bunch of NA values. I have tried this answer

spp <- SpatialPoints(df)
spp@proj4string <- CRSobj
over(spp, sodo)

but still get only NA values. Any ideas what else I should try?

3 Answers 3


The spatial data.frame is not correctly formed. This might work:


wa.map <- readOGR("ZillowNeighborhoods-WA.shp", layer="ZillowNeighborhoods-WA")

sodo <- wa.map[wa.map$CITY == "Seattle"  & wa.map$NAME == "Industrial District", ]

# Don't use df as name, it is an R function
# Better to set longitudes as the first column and latitudes as the second
dat <- data.frame(Longitude = c(-122.332271,-122.353985,-122.331639),
                  Latitude =c(47.591351, 47.62212,47.595152),
                  names = c("Safeco Field", "Key Arena", "Century Link"))
# Assignment modified according
coordinates(dat) <- ~ Longitude + Latitude
# Set the projection of the SpatialPointsDataFrame using the projection of the shapefile
proj4string(dat) <- proj4string(sodo)

over(dat, sodo)
#1    WA   King Seattle Industrial District   271892
#2  <NA>   <NA>    <NA>                <NA>       NA
#3  <NA>   <NA>    <NA>                <NA>       NA

over(sodo, dat)
#           names
#122 Safeco Field

I've just been doing the same thing. Pascal's answer almost covers it but you may need two extra steps as below.

#After you create your list of latlongs you must set the proj4string to longlat
proj4string(dat) <- CRS("+proj=longlat")

#Before you re-set the proj4string to the one from sodo you must actually convert #your coordinates to the new projection
dat <- spTransform(dat, proj4string(sodo))
  • It is not clear to me in which cases these additional steps are needed. For me the solution of the answer by user32309 was good enough.
    – djhurio
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 22:00
  • 3
    It depends on what format your data is in. If its in projection A and you just want to declare that you use proj4string and you should be good. But if its in projection B and you need to actuallly do a conversion to projection A you need to use spTransform.
    – John Curry
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 22:44

I used a similar approach to the accepted answer in this post but was never really satisfied with it so I looked into alternatives and found the sf library.

And using this library you can then write code like this:

# Shapefile from ABS: 
# https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/DetailsPage/1270.0.55.004July%202016?OpenDocument
map = read_sf("data/ABS/shapes/SUA_2016_AUST.shp")

pnts_sf <- st_as_sf(pnts, coords = c('y', 'x'), crs = st_crs(map))

pnts <- pnts_sf %>% mutate(
  intersection = as.integer(st_intersects(geometry, map))
  , area = if_else(is.na(intersection), '', map$SUA_NAME16[intersection])



         geometry intersection area    
*     <POINT [°]>        <int> <chr>   
1 (138.62 -34.92)           79 Adelaide
2 (138.58 -34.93)           79 Adelaide
3 (138.52 -34.95)           79 Adelaide
4 (152.71 -27.63)           60 Brisbane
5 (153.01 -27.57)           60 Brisbane
6  (150.73 -33.9)           31 Sydney  
7 (150.99 -33.92)           31 Sydney 

I posted this code on another post which was a similar question, here: Identify polygon containing point with R sf package

  • How can I do this with sf package if the x and y point are a point shapefile? and how can I after save the selected points inside the polygon as new shapefile with same CRS as original point shapefile?
    – Gab
    Commented Apr 17, 2020 at 7:28

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