I have shapefiles of polygons and lines at my disposal. I would like to intersect polygons and lines with R and thus calculate the length of the lines present in each polygon. You can find the data here "https://www.dropbox.com/s/b6x9gk8bzhan7zm/test.rar?dl=0" .I know how to do it on Arcgis but I would like to have a code on R to automate this because I have to do the same procedure for a lot of data. The code I put in place on R :



Poly <- readOGR("grille.shp",layer="grille")

line <- readOGR("line.shp",layer="line")

Inter <- gIntersection(line,Poly,byid=TRUE)

allows me to have an intersection but what I would like to know is how to calculate then the length of the lines present in each polygon ?


I would recommend to use the sf package. You should also consider to use a projected CRS, in your case one, that is true to distance.


poly = read_sf("grille.shp")
line = read_sf("line.shp")
# intersection
int = st_intersection(line, poly)
# find out about the length of each line segment
int$len = st_length(int)
# use a meaningful id (so far consists only of 0s)
poly$Id = 1:nrow(poly)
# spatial overlay
join = st_join(poly, int)
# use the ID of the polygon for the aggregation
out = group_by(join, Id.x) %>%
  summarize(length = sum(len))
# find out about polygons without line segments 
filter(out, is.na(length))
# you can set the length of the polygons without line intersections to 0 
# if you want
mutate(out, length = ifelse(is.na(length), 0, length))

Of course, you can do the same in sp but sf already began to replace sp. To find out more about how to use sf, look at its vignettes (vignette(package = "sf")) and at our book Geocomputation with R.

  • When we make the intersection between "line" and "poly", the polygons containing no line within them are not taken into account. At the end of the operation I would like to have also the (id) of polygons having no line in them but with 0 as length. – Falltok Apr 30 '18 at 16:17
  • I have updated the code in accordance with your question but the answer has been already there, hence I am not entirely sure if this is what you meant... – Jannes May 3 '18 at 7:36
  • I used the book you showed me above to export the file through : st_write(out,dsn="D:/Outa.shp", driver = "ESRI Shapefile") ,but the exported file have a different CRS than the input files. I used out<-st_transform(out, "+init=epsg:2154") to transform the file before exporting it but I always get a different CRS output. – Falltok May 6 '18 at 17:06
  • Not sure what you exactly mean, please provide reproducible examples. st_write writes a .prj file containing the expected proj4-string. The shapefile format does not support EPSG codes (see also github.com/r-spatial/sf/issues/380). – Jannes May 7 '18 at 17:54

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