This function can be used to prepare R objects from remote or local data sources. The object of this function is to provide a reproducible version of a series of commonly used steps for getting, loading, and processing data. This function has two stages: Getting data (download, extracting from archives, loading into R) and postProcessing (for Spatial* and Raster* objects, this is crop, reproject, mask/intersect). To trigger the first stage, provide url or archive. To trigger the second stage, provide studyArea or rasterToMatch. See examples.

prepInputs(targetFile = NULL, url = NULL, archive = NULL,
  alsoExtract = NULL, destinationPath = ".", fun = NULL,
  quick = getOption("reproducible.quick"), overwrite = FALSE,
  purge = FALSE, useCache = getOption("reproducible.useCache", FALSE),



Character string giving the path to the eventual file (raster, shapefile, csv, etc.) after downloading and extracting from a zip or tar archive. This is the file before it is passed to postProcess. Currently, the internal checksumming does not checksum the file after it is postProcessed (e.g., cropped/reprojected/masked). Using Cache around prepInputs will do a sufficient job in these cases. See table in preProcess.


Optional character string indicating the URL to download from. If not specified, then no download will be attempted. If not entry exists in the CHECKSUMS.txt (in destinationPath), an entry will be created or appended to. This CHECKSUMS.txt entry will be used in subsequent calls to prepInputs or preProcess, comparing the file on hand with the ad hoc CHECKSUMS.txt. See table in preProcess.


Optional character string giving the path of an archive containing targetFile, or a vector giving a set of nested archives (e.g., c("xxx.tar", "")). If there is/are (an) inner archive(s), but they are unknown, the function will try all until it finds the targetFile. See table in preProcess.


Optional character string naming files other than targetFile that must be extracted from the archive. If NULL, the default, then it will extract all files. Other options: "similar" will extract all files with the same filename without file extension as targetFile. NA will extract nothing other than targetFile. A character string of specific file names will cause only those to be extracted. See table in preProcess.


Character string of a directory in which to download and save the file that comes from url and is also where the function will look for archive or targetFile.


Function or character string indicating the function to use to load targetFile into an R object, e.g., in form wtih package name: "raster::raster".


Logical. This is passed internally to Checksums (the quickCheck argument), and to Cache (the quick argument). This results in faster, though less robust checking of inputs. See the respective functions.


Logical. Should downloading and all the other actions occur even if they pass the checksums or the files are all there.


Logical or Integer. 0/FALSE (default) keeps existing CHECKSUMS.txt file and prepInputs will write or append to it. 1/TRUE will deleted the entire CHECKSUMS.txt file. Other options, see details.


Passed to Cache in various places. Defaults to getOption("reproducible.useCache")


Additional arguments passed to fun (i.e,. user supplied), postProcess and Cache. Since ... is passed to postProcess, these will ... will also be passed into the inner functions, e.g., cropInputs. See details and examples.


This function is still experimental: use with caution.

Stage 1 - Getting data

See preProcess for combinations of arguments.

  1. Download from the web via either drive_download, download.file;

  2. Extract from archive using unzip or untar;

  3. Load into R using raster, shapefile, or any other function passed in with fun;

  4. Checksumming of all files during this process. This is put into a CHECKSUMS.txt file in the destinationPath, appending if it is already there, overwriting the entries for same files if entries already exist.

Stage 2 - Post processing

This will be triggered if either rasterToMatch or studyArea is supplied.

  1. Fix errors. Currently only errors fixed are for SpatialPolygons using buffer(..., width = 0);

  2. Crop using cropInputs;

  3. Project using projectInputs;

  4. Mask using maskInputs;

  5. Determine file name determineFilename via filename2;

  6. Optionally, write that file name to disk via writeOutputs.

NOTE: checksumming does not occur during the post-processing stage, as there are no file downloads. To achieve fast results, wrap prepInputs with Cache.

NOTE: sf objects are still very experimental.

postProcessing of Raster* and Spatial* objects:

If rasterToMatch or studyArea are used, then this will trigger several subsequent functions, specifically the sequence, Crop, reproject, mask, which appears to be a common sequence in spatial simulation. See postProcess.spatialObjects. Understanding various combinations of rasterToMatch and/or studyArea: Please see postProcess.spatialObjects.


In options for control of purging the CHECKSUMS.txt file are:

0keep file
1delete file
2delete entry for targetFile
4delete entry for alsoExtract
3delete entry for archive
5delete entry for targetFile & alsoExtract
6delete entry for targetFile, alsoExtract & archive
7delete entry that is failing (i.e., for the file downloaded by the url)

will only remove entries in the CHECKSUMS.txt that are associated with targetFile, alsoExtract or archive When prepInputs is called, it will write or append to a (if already exists) CHECKSUMS.txt file. If the CHECKSUMS.txt is not correct, use this argument to remove it.

See also


# This function works within a module; however, currently, # \cde{sourceURL} is not yet working as desired. Use \code{url}.
# NOT RUN { # download a zip file from internet, unzip all files, load as shapefile, Cache the call # First time: don't know all files - prepInputs will guess, if download file is an archive, # then extract all files, then if there is a .shp, it will load with raster::shapefile dPath <- file.path(tempdir(), "ecozones") shpEcozone <- prepInputs(destinationPath = dPath, url = "") # Robust to partial file deletions: unlink(dir(dPath, full.names = TRUE)[1:3]) shpEcozone <- prepInputs(destinationPath = dPath, url = "") unlink(dPath, recursive = TRUE) # Once this is done, can be more precise in operational code: # specify targetFile, alsoExtract, and fun, wrap with Cache ecozoneFilename <- file.path(dPath, "ecozones.shp") ecozoneFiles <- c("ecozones.dbf", "ecozones.prj", "ecozones.sbn", "ecozones.sbx", "ecozones.shp", "ecozones.shx") shpEcozone <- prepInputs(targetFile = ecozoneFilename, url = "", alsoExtract = ecozoneFiles, fun = "shapefile", destinationPath = dPath) unlink(dPath, recursive = TRUE) #' # Add a study area to Crop and Mask to # Create a "study area" library(sp) library(raster) coords <- structure(c(-122.98, -116.1, -99.2, -106, -122.98, 59.9, 65.73, 63.58, 54.79, 59.9), .Dim = c(5L, 2L)) Sr1 <- Polygon(coords) Srs1 <- Polygons(list(Sr1), "s1") StudyArea <- SpatialPolygons(list(Srs1), 1L) crs(StudyArea) <- "+init=epsg:4326 +proj=longlat +datum=WGS84 +no_defs +ellps=WGS84 +towgs84=0,0,0" # specify targetFile, alsoExtract, and fun, wrap with Cache ecozoneFilename <- file.path(dPath, "ecozones.shp") # Note, you don't need to "alsoExtract" the archive... if the archive is not there, but the # targetFile is there, it will not redownload the archive. ecozoneFiles <- c("ecozones.dbf", "ecozones.prj", "ecozones.sbn", "ecozones.sbx", "ecozones.shp", "ecozones.shx") shpEcozoneSm <- Cache(prepInputs, url = "", targetFile = reproducible::asPath(ecozoneFilename), alsoExtract = reproducible::asPath(ecozoneFiles), studyArea = StudyArea, fun = "shapefile", destinationPath = dPath, filename2 = "EcozoneFile.shp") # passed to determineFilename plot(shpEcozone) plot(shpEcozoneSm, add = TRUE, col = "red") unlink(dPath) # Big Raster, with crop and mask to Study Area - no reprojecting (lossy) of raster, # but the StudyArea does get reprojected, need to use rasterToMatch dPath <- file.path(tempdir(), "LCC") lcc2005Filename <- file.path(dPath, "LCC2005_V1_4a.tif") url <- file.path("", "LandcoverCanada2005_250m/") # messages received below may help for filling in more arguments in the subsequent call LCC2005 <- prepInputs(url = url, destinationPath = asPath(dPath), studyArea = StudyArea) plot(LCC2005) # if wrapped with Cache, will be fast second time, very fast 3rd time (via memoised copy) LCC2005 <- Cache(prepInputs, url = url, targetFile = lcc2005Filename, archive = asPath(""), destinationPath = asPath(dPath), studyArea = StudyArea) # Using dlFun -- a custom download function -- passed to preProcess test1 <- prepInputs(targetFile = "GADM_2.8_LUX_adm0.rds", # must specify currently dlFun = "raster::getData", name = "GADM", country = "LUX", level = 0, path = dPath) # }