EcoData Retriever now supports R and environmental data, and has more datasets

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We are very excited to announce the newest release of our EcoData Retriever software and the first release of a supporting R package, ecoretriever. If you’re not familiar with the EcoData Retriever you can read more here.

The biggest improvement to the Retriever in this set of releases is the ability to run it directly from R. Dan McGlinn did a great job leading the development of this package and we got ton of fantastic help from the folks at rOpenSci (most notably Scott Chamberlain, Gavin Simpson, and Karthik Ram). Now, once you install the main EcoData Retriever, you can run it from inside R by doing things like:

install.packages('ecoretriever')
library(ecoretriever)

# List the datasets available via the Retriever
ecoretriever::datasets()

# Install the Gentry dataset into csv files in your working directory
ecoretriever::install('Gentry', 'csv')

# Download the raw Gentry dataset files, without any processing,
# to the subdirectory named data
ecoretriever::download('Gentry', './data/')

# Install and load a dataset as a list
Gentry = ecoretriever::fetch('Gentry')
names(Gentry)
head(Gentry$counts)

The other big advance in this release is the ability to have the Retriever directly download files instead of processing them. This allows us to support data that doesn’t come in standard tabular forms. So, we can now include things like environmental data in GIS formats and phylogenetic data such as supertrees. We’ve used this new capability to allow the automatic downloading of the Bioclim data, one of the most widely used climate datasets in ecology, and the supertree for mammals from Fritz et al. 2009.

Finally, we’ve also add the very cool mammalian diet dataset from Dryad

4 Comments on “EcoData Retriever now supports R and environmental data, and has more datasets

  1. Fantastic Ethan! I read that the ecoretriever package was coming to R. I will be using it to teach an undergrad how to use Worldclim in the next couple of weeks. Thanks!!

  2. That’s awesome Drew! Glad we got this all rolled out just in time. I’m sure that Dan McGlinn will be excited to hear that his work will be helping cool things happen in the classroom.

    Let us know if you run in to any problems as you go. In my experience exposing software to a group of students in a classroom is the best way to identify all sorts of interesting edge cases.

  3. Pingback: EcoData Retriever now supports R and environmen...

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