Introducing the SNAPverse R package ecosystem

This post introduces the SNAPverse R package ecosystem. A series of followup posts will introduce different SNAPverse R packages that offer functionality to meet specific researcher and analyst needs regarding:

  • easy, instant access and interfacing to curated publicly available SNAP data sets hosted in the cloud, right from your R console, ready for export or analysis.
  • stock functions and procedures for statistical analysis of SNAP data.
  • graphing of SNAP data using common techniques and consistent formatting while offering multiple standardization options and flexible presentation.
  • reporting with reproducible static and interactive documents and accessing curated collections of prior works.

The snapverse package

The SNAPverse is a collection of packages that work in tandem in the context of data sets and statistical analysis workflows pertaining to the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Sector packages make it easy to install and load multiple packages from different sectors of the SNAPverse. snapverse is the master R package in the ecosystem. It loads core packages from multiple sectors of the SNAPverse, making it the primary sector package. It loads packages from the functions, data, and apps sectors (see diagram below). A verse package is a convenience package; it exists for making it quick and easy to load a set of related packages under one name.

For context, the other verse or sector packages are snaplite, snapdata and snapwebs. Each loads packages from one sector: functions, data, and web-based applications, respectively. They each are exclusive to a sector of the verse. While snapverse loads packages from several sectors, even this namesake package for the SNAPverse is not intended to be exhaustive. Rather, it aims to provide access to the most relevant functionality and data sets.

The SNAPverse also contains a number of satellite packages that are outside the core of the verse. Satellites represent another sector of the verse. They are always installed and loaded individually and do not have an accompanying sector package. Below you will find a list of packages in the SNAPverse that are (or will be, once available) part of the verse core. In many cases, users may load a specific package such as snapgrid because that is all they require as part of their workflow. Loading the entire verse core is more applicable to open-ended analyses and explorations of SNAP data sets and related curated products.

Note: The SNAPverse is currently in early development. A number of packages are not yet available online and those available are under active development.


snapverse includes all packages from the snaplite, snapdata and snapwebs sector packages. The complete list of packages loaded by snapverse includes:

  • snapstat: functions for working with popular, curated SNAP data from SNAPverse data packages.
  • snapplot: functions providing graphing support for SNAP data.
  • snaplocs: functions for working with SNAP point locations data.
  • snapprep: functions for SNAP source data extraction, manipulation and curation for various projects.
  • alfresco: functions for working with and analyzing ALFRESCO wildfire model inputs and outputs.
  • snapclim: SNAP climate data.
  • snapfire: SNAP fire data.
  • snappoly: collection of popular polygon shapefile data sets used at SNAP.
  • snapgrid: collection of popular gridded maps used at SNAP.
  • snapdist: SNAP spatial distributions examples data set.
  • snapapps: curated collection of SNAP R Shiny apps loadable via R package.
  • snapdash: selected SNAP Shiny Dashboard apps.
  • snapflex: selected SNAP flexdashboards.
  • snapdocs: other SNAP interactive documents.

The SNAPverse at a glance

While snapverse does not include every package in the verse, i.e., satellites are not part of the verse core, it is helpful to see the entire verse at a glance, including satellite packages.
The most familiar R packages are those that fall under the functions sector of the verse. Like typical R packages, these packages offer suites of functions that assist researchers with a variety of analysis tasks involving SNAP data.
Packages in the data sector act as seamless interfaces to large amounts of remotely hosted SNAP data, presenting data sets you request at the console no differently than if you were entering the name of a local packaged data set.
Packages in the apps and docs sector serve as local, interactive repositories of popular SNAP applications as well as provide an access point for template-based creation of reproducible static and interactive documents at SNAP.


You can install snapverse from github with:

# install.packages('devtools')


Complete package reference and function documentation

This entry was posted by Matt Leonawicz.
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