I have a raster with 2332800 cells. Half of these cells are probably oceans and unneeded. I need to update these cells with new values. Right now I'm using a for loop and it takes a very long time:


r <- raster(ncol=10, nrow=10)
values(r) <- 1:ncell(r)
df<-data.frame(ID = 1:100, values = runif(100))

for (i in 1:ncell(r)) {
  ifelse(i %in% df$ID,
         r[i]<-df$values[df$ID == i],

With millions of cells this for loop is slow. I was thinking about using parallel processing but at the same time there might be something faster?

I also am stuck with the dataframe and cell_id query style unfortunately.

Perhaps someone has a workaround before I start playing around with the parallels and foreach package.

  • 2
    Please don't SHOUT. ALL-CAPS in titles are difficult to read. Instead of attracting positive attention, they are more likely to attract downvotes and look-away.
    – Vince
    Sep 30, 2022 at 22:30
  • Please edit your question to include a single, focused question.
    – Aaron
    Sep 30, 2022 at 23:21
  • 1
    @Vince I've edited the title to lower case. If you've got edit privs its better to do that than just complain in a comment. I should have done this when I first saw this Q yesterday, but I was busy answering it.
    – Spacedman
    Oct 1, 2022 at 9:38
  • I would reccomend using the terra library. Then you have a native 'terra::ifel' function negating the need for a loop. Oct 1, 2022 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


The one-liner would be:

r[] = df$values[match(r[], df$ID)]

This uses match to look up the df$values entry for each r[] value matching the df$ID.

Note that r[] is pretty much the same as values(r).

This might struggle if you raster is too large to hold in RAM, but 2.3M isn't so big for that. Runs in a blink of an eye on a 2000x1000 raster on my laptop.

Check on a small example first.

  • Sorry for the late reply. This works great! Switched over to terra as well and it's a lot faster. Thank you for your time!
    – Leo Ohyama
    Oct 10, 2022 at 19:49

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