Introduction to R and RStudio

Stephen Roecker, Skye Wills, Katey Yoast and Tom D’Avello



  1. Course Overview
    1. Review Course Objectives
    2. Why is this training needed?
    3. Why is course organized this way?
  2. What is R?
    1. Why should I use R?
    2. What can R do?
  3. How do I get started?
    1. RStudio interface
    2. What are packages?
    3. How to navigate the Help tab
    4. How to save files
  4. Manipulating data
    1. Loading & viewing data
    2. Filtering, transforming, merging, aggregating and reshaping data
    3. Exporting data

Course Objectives

Why is this training needed?

Why is course organized this way?

What is R? - Open Source Project

  1. a software environment: statistics, graphics, programming, calculator, GIS, etc…

  2. a language: vocabulary to explore, summarize, and model data

What is R? - “One Tool”"

ODBC and GDAL link R to nearly all possible formats/interfaces

Why should I use R? - 3 Reasons!

  1. Cost. R is free! “Free as in free speech, not free beer”!

  2. Reproducible Research (self-documenting, repeatable)

    • repeatable:
      • code + output in a single document (‘I want the right answer, not a quick answer’ - Paul Finnell)
      • easier the next time (humorous example)
      • numerous Excel horror stories of scientific studies gone wrong exist (TED Talk)
    • scalable: applicable to small or large problems
  3. R in a Community

  4. Learning Resources (quantity and quality)

  5. R is ‘becoming’ the new norm (paradigm shift?). “If we don’t accept these challenges, other who are less qualified will; and soil scientists will be displaced by apathy.” (Arnold and Wilding, 1992)

What can R do? - Packages

What can R do? - Create Maps

What can R do? - Draw Soil Profiles

What can R do? - Draw Depth Plots