Using the GRASS command g.list in R

Running grass commands within R is easy using either the system function or the spgrass6 package. But sometimes the GRASS outputs are not easy to read into a data frame or vector. For example, what if you want a vector with all raster data layers in mapset ‘species’.

EDIT: There is a much easier solution, see my next post. Read on if you want to see a much more cumbersome solution using gsub and strsplit to convert the output in a vector.

In GRASS you would use the function

g.list type=rast mapset=species

The output is not very easy to handle though, it looks e.g., like:

raster files available in mapset <species>:
Acacia_seyal              Warburgia_ugandensisv2
Acacia_seyalv2            Zanthoxylum_chalybeum
Albizia_gummifera         Zanthoxylum_chalybeumv2
(Tue Feb 22 23:15:17 2011) Command finished (0 sec)

In R (which should be run within GRASS), you can run one of the two lines below:

system("g.list type=rast mapset=species", intern=TRUE)
execGRASS("g.list", parameters=list(type="rast", mapset="species"), intern=TRUE)

However, the output is not easy to use in R without some further processing:

[1] "----------------------------------------------"
[2] "raster files available in mapset <species>:"
[3] "Acacia_seyal              Warburgia_ugandensisv2"
[4] "Acacia_seyalv2            Zanthoxylum_chalybeum"
[5] "Albizia_gummifera         Zanthoxylum_chalybeumv2"
[6] ""
[7] "----------------------------------------------"

The first and last two rows are easy to remove:

a <- execGRASS("g.list", parameters=list(type="rast", mapset="species"), intern=TRUE)

a <- a[-c(1,2,length(a)-1,length(a))]

The next two lines of code will replace the white spaces by a comma, split the vector elements using the comma as separator and combine all in one vector:

b <- as.vector(gsub('[[:space:]]+', ',', a))
c <- unlist(strsplit(b,","))

There you go, a nice vector with one layer name per vector element.

Thinks are getting a little bit more complicated if you want to list raster and vector layers or layers from more than one mapset. But that is for later.

About these ads

Published by


I am a tropical forest ecologist with a focus on spatial and temporal patterns and processes at population and ecosystem level. I am furthermore very interested in issues related to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources under current and future climates. I have worked in the Middle East (Syria and Lebanon) and South America (Brazil) and in Eastern Africa (Kenya).

One thought on “Using the GRASS command g.list in R”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s