I'm working on a project where I'm looking at overlap in users circling an area in an image. Esentially, I make a SpatialPolygonsDataFrame where each user gets one row. Some users don't select anything. So, I'm trying to figure out how to include that information. When I attempt to create a "NULL" polygon, and then scale it up, either with something like

Polygon(matrix(rep(NA, 4), nrow=2)



or anysuch, none of these work.

1) Can I create an empty polygon? 2) or add a row to a SpatialPolygonsDataFrame with no matching SpatialPolygons object?

  • 1
    FYI, you can create an empty Spatial Polygons object - SpatialPolygons(list())
    – jebyrnes
    Jan 17, 2017 at 23:14
  • 1
    And SpatialPolygonsDataFrame(SpatialPolygons(list()), data=data.frame())
    – jebyrnes
    Jan 17, 2018 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


To create an empty SpatialPolygons object use SpatialPolygons(list())

credit to jebyrnes, but I thought it should be posted as an answer not a comment.

  • Yup - but still #2 is elusive.
    – jebyrnes
    Jan 17, 2018 at 14:32

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