Intro to GIS and Spatial Analysis | M. Gimond


Excellent introduction book for GIS/ Spatial analysis in R

And free!

This book is an introduction to GIS and spatial analyses in general, with applications in R. It is proposed as a free online book (no pdf or hardcopy).

It is composed of two parts: First a presentation of the concepts, with very clear explanations and amazing illustrations , then the Appendix, with applications in R.

Regarding R aspects, it is very update and builds on sf objects, with sp plots and tmap. I personally prefer ggplot, to have more control on maps, but that’s a matter of taste.

I general, I appreciated the excellent clarity of the text. I definitely recommend this book for beginners and intermediate GIS people (with background in R).

I really enjoyed the “pitfall” sections, which illustrate common problems in GIS/spatial analyses. For example, the problem of data aggregation and apparent correlation – the modifiable aerial unit problem (MAUP) -, section 5, or the issues with projections and topology, section Coordinates in R.

I also greatly enjoyed the section about mapping uncertainty, a topic that is rarely covered, yet very important.

Statistical tests are also very clearly illustrated and explained. For example the Moran test and point patterns analyses.

Even if this books covers most basic aspects of GIS, it remains an introduction. Several aspects could be presented in more details. For example the spatial operations could be developed. You will need another references to be fully operational for these type of operations. The statistical parts could also be improved, and more references given. The pro and cons of the different methods maybe also be developed a bit.

So, overall, this is an excellent book to get started with GIS and spatial analysis in general, and in R. Though, you will probably need to dig in other references for your specific task.

Programming Level


Rating: 1.5 out of 4.


Rating: 3 out of 4.

* Beginners | ** Fluent in R | *** Advanced Users | **** R Guru and other aliens

Interesting features

  • Incredibly clear and well illustrated
  • Covers typical difficulties, such as projections
  • Free!
  • Covers many aspects of GIS/Spatial analysis


  • Maybe a little simple – but this is meant: it is an introduction.
  • No pdf or hardcopy available.
  • Sections numbering is mixed up.

Overall, a must read book for beginners and intermediate level R users. I would put it on my shelf if a hardcover was available!


1 Introduction to GIS
What is a GIS
What is Spatial Analysis
What is an Acronym
2 Working with Spatial Data
Feature Scales, axes and legends
GIS Data Management
Symbolizing features
Pitfalls to Avoid
Good Map Making Tips
Uncertainty in Census Data
Coordinate Systems
Map Algebra
II Spatial Analysis
Point Pattern Analysis
Hypotesis testing
Spatial Autocorrelations
Spatial Interpolation
III Appendix
Reading and writing spatial data in R
Mapping data in R
Mapping rates in R
Vector operations in R
Raster operations in R
Coordinate Systems in R
Point pattern analysis in R
Spatial autocorrelation in R
Interpolation in R

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