Sunday, May 25, 2014

New R package rainfreq: Rainfall Frequency (or Design Storm) Estimates from the US National Weather Service

Rainfall estimates at desired frequency (e.g., 1% annual chance or 100-year return period) and duration (e.g., 24-hour) are often required in the design of dams and other hydraulic structures, catastrophe risk modeling, environmental planning and management. One major source of such estimates for the USA is the NOAA National Weather Service. Raw data is available at 1-km resolution and comes as a huge number of GIS files. 

The new R package rainfreq provides functionality to easily access and analyze the 1-km GIS files provided by NWS' PF Data Server for the entire USA. This package also comes with datasets on record point rainfall measurements provided by NWS.

Here is the rainfreq package home page on CRAN. Here are some graphics from the package vignette.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Updates to R package emdatr: Global Disaster Losses from the EMDAT Database

The EMDAT database provides valuable information on human and financial losses from natural disasters around the world. Some of the issues with the EMDAT data are lack of entire data accessibility, static and inconsistent summary reports, and the lack of auxiliary financial and demographic data. The emdatr package addresses some of these issues. 

Major updates in emdatr v0.2:

  • Data has been updated to include the whole of 2013.
  • Data is now hosted on and only a sample is provided with the package. Package has the functionality to extract the entire data.
  • A new vignette which explains the raw data clean-up and enhancement procedure and which also demonstrates use of the package.
Here is the emdatr package home page on CRAN. Below is a summary graphic on number of natural disasters by decade obtained using the package.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New R package dams: Dams in the United States

The dams package provides functionality to access over 74,000 dams in the National Inventory of Dams (NID) from the US Army Corps of Engineers, the single largest source of dams in the United States. Each dam has 64 attributes such as geographical, structural, hydraulic and operational characteristics.

Obtaining data directly from NID has to be done manually and the website's GUI is not user-friendly - only a couple of thousand records could be displayed at a time on the GUI, but there is no option to save these records to a file. Data was obtained manually from NID's website and then cleaned up. The dams package comes with a sample of the cleaned data and the `extract_nid` function from the package could be used to obtain all of the cleaned data.

Here is the dams package home page on CRAN. Here are some graphics from the package vignette.