readOGR in the
rgdal package is used to bring vector spatial data sources into R.
readOGR() relies upon OGR (part of the GDAL/OGR library) for format conversion. Unfortunately, while OGR supports the ability to subset columns (with the
-select switch) or rows (with the
-where switch), or even to request a layer using a full SQL statement, none of that functionality is available in
readOGR. Every so often this gets discussed in the mailing lists, but the functionality has not yet been implemented.
If your data is already in a SQL database though, you’re in luck. You can accomplish the same thing within R by creating a spatial view in-database, loading the spatial view with
readOGR, then dropping the view. I’ve created a function that does just that for PostGIS data sources. Continue reading Subsetting in readOGR