[R-sig-Geo] reading into R IPCC data files

Barry Rowlingson b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk
Tue Jan 18 10:48:41 CET 2011

On Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 11:04 PM, Robert Hijmans <r.hijmans at gmail.com> wrote:

> So, for the record, reading these ASCII files is not that hard if you have
> R. See below for an example that works on the one file I looked at. You
> could easily extend this to automate downloading and processing all the
> files with functions download.file() and uzip()

 The important point here is that you say it works on the _one_ file
you looked at. Probably works on others. You don't know until you've
tried. It might read it in without giving any errors but get all the
wrong numbers and then polar bears die.

 There's no excuse for publishing ASCII data sets like this when there
are open standards for data in this format, including all the metadata
hacked on to the top of the ASCII. This makes automated, repeatable
analysis hard to do.

 Probably preaching to the converted here anyway. I have done some
work with the environmental modelling community and they are in their
own little world sometimes with regard to code development (complete
lack of any concept of a revision control system) and standards usage
(ascii in, ascii out). Made me appreciate R even more!


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