[R] Split strings based on multiple patterns

David Winsemius dwinsemius at comcast.net
Sat Oct 15 01:49:19 CEST 2016

> On Oct 14, 2016, at 4:16 PM, Joe Ceradini <joeceradini at gmail.com> wrote:
> Afternoon,
> I unfortunately inherited a dataframe with a column that has many fields
> smashed together. My goal is to split the strings in the column into
> separate columns based on patterns.
> Example of what I'm working with:
> ugly <- c("Water temp:14: F Waterbody type:Permanent Lake/Pond: Water
> pH:Unkwn:
> Conductivity:Unkwn: Water color: Clear: Water turbidity: clear:
> Manmade:no  Permanence:permanent:  Max water depth: <3: Primary
> substrate: Silt/Mud: Evidence of cattle grazing: none:
> Shoreline Emergent Veg(%): 1-25: Fish present: yes: Fish species: unkwn: no
> amphibians observed")
> ugly
> Far as I can tell, there is not a single pattern that would work for
> splitting this string. Splitting on ":" is close but not quite consistent.
> Each of these attributes should be a separate column:
> attributes <- c("Water temp", "Waterbody type", "Water pH", "Conductivity",
> "Water color", "Water turbidity", "Manmade", "Permanence", "Max water
> depth", "Primary substrate", "Evidence of cattle grazing", "Shoreline
> Emergent Veg(%)", "Fish present", "Fish species")
> So, conceptually, I want to do something like this, where the string is
> split for each of the patterns in attributes. However, strsplit only uses
> the 1st value of attributes
> strsplit(ugly, attributes)
> Should I loop through the values of "attributes"?
> Is there an argument in strsplit I'm missing that will do what I want?
> Different approach altogether?
> Thanks! Happy Friday.
> Joe
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]

Need to post in plain text. We cannot see where your "carriage returns" are located in that data. HTML uses some other character(s?) that doesn't get translated by our mailserver.

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David Winsemius
Alameda, CA, USA

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