I am trying to learn R generally and making statistics for maps. I found some useful tricks for making maps with it but it is not the best you can do. My everyday GIS program is ArcGIS. How I can use R in ArcGIS? A tool I use is the GME plugin. Is this the only way?

I tried to use R in QGIS but a plugin I found never worked.


3 Answers 3


Regarding R in general I'd really recommend having a look at Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R book. It offers very good introduction to spatial concepts within R framework. And webpage provides lots of code snippets and data to practice what you read about.

Regarding coupling R and ArcGIS specifically, Python is one of the options here. Have a look at these two presentations for general overview.

There are some tools and a walk-trough provided by ESRI Resource Center that might be good starting point for developing your own projects.

You might also want to run your geoprocessing scripts from within R with RPyGeo package.

  • 1
    I extended Mark Janikas' work, cited by radek. Specifically, I built an "R script to ArcGIS ToolBox converter" The user writes an annotated R script, loads it through an ArcMap add-in, which generates a Toolbox for the R script. The ToolBox can be used to load results to ArcMap. Look at this video to get a better idea. Dec 14, 2014 at 20:26
  • @radek Do you know if the RPyGeo package is working in ArcGIS 10.2.2? I couldn't make it work!
    – Albert
    Jan 13, 2016 at 9:30

I'm not sure of the specific interaction you're looking for between a GIS GUI and R, but I'll mention a couple of seemingly relevant options:

  • A Practical Guide to Geostatistical Mapping covers moving fluidly between R, SAGA GIS and Google Earth for analyzing complex geostatistical problems.
  • The spgrass6 package allows interaction between GRASS data and R, which likewise can be accessed in QGIS via the QGIS GRASS plugin.
  • 1
    Yes, I know about this guide and I think it's very useful. However, I had some difficulties and when I asked them for help they didn't respond.
    – Vassilis
    Nov 26, 2010 at 10:16

There is a an existing standalone tool called GeoDa that enables analysis of spatial data using R (and it displays the spatial data within the program). I haven't used it recently, but previously you could install certain packages to perform analysis.

I've also seen some very nice spatial analysis using the ggplot2 package.

  • GeoDa is its own software independent of the R stats package. But that same center did create the spdep package for R and maintains tutorials on using that package in R (along with other tutorials on spatial regression in general and using GeoDa). Link here, geodacenter.asu.edu/learning/tutorials
    – Andy W
    Dec 1, 2010 at 18:03
  • It has been some time since I used it, but I thought you could also add additional R packages to Geoda. I updated my answer to clarify that it is standalone (and I realize it is a slightly tangential answer to the posters original question).
    – djq
    Dec 1, 2010 at 19:59
  • You can't add R libraries to GeoDa, but the spdep R library does have the ability to read gal neighbor files produced by GeoDa. You can do everything in R that you can in GeoDa, but GeoDa is nice for its interactive brushing/linking/visualization and everything is GUI based. Even if your only interested in R the tutorials for GeoDa are worth to read just for an intro to spatial regression modelling.
    – Andy W
    Dec 3, 2010 at 1:57

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.