read raster data in parallel

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Use library(parallel) to read raster data in parallel fashion

Use library(parallel) to read raster data in parallel fashion

Recently, I have been doing some analysis for a project I am involved in. In particular, I was interested what role pacific sea surface temperatures play with regard to rainfall in East Africa. I spare you the details as I am currently writing all this up into a paper which you can have a look at once published.

For this analysis, however, I am processing quite an amount of raster files. This led me to investigate the possibilities of the parallel package to speed up the process.

Here's a quick example on how to read in raster data (in this case 200 global sea surface temperature files of 1° x 1° degree resolution) using parallel

First, lets do it the conventional way and see how long that takes

system.time({<br /><br />    library(raster)<br />    library(rgdal)<br /><br />    ### Input preparation<br />    ### ########################################################<br />    inputpath <- "E:/sst_kili_analysis/"<br />    ptrn <- "*sst_anom_pcadenoise_*_R2.rst"<br /><br />    ### list files in direcotry<br />    ### ##################################################<br />    fnames_sst_r2 <- list.files(inputpath, pattern = glob2rx(ptrn), recursive = T)<br /><br />    ### read into raster format<br />    ### ##################################################<br />    sst.global <- lapply(seq(fnames_sst_r2), function(i) {<br />        raster(paste(inputpath, fnames_sst_r2[i], sep = "/"))<br />    })<br />})<br />
##    user  system elapsed <br />##   31.37    4.43   36.50 <br />

Now using library(parallel)

library(parallel)<br />system.time({<br /><br />    ### Input preparation<br />    ### ########################################################<br />    inputpath.p <- "E:/sst_kili_analysis/"<br />    ptrn.p <- "*sst_anom_pcadenoise_*_R2.rst"<br /><br />    ### list files in direcotry<br />    ### ##################################################<br />    fnames_sst_r2.p <- list.files(inputpath.p, pattern = glob2rx(ptrn.p), recursive = T)<br /><br />    ### set up cluster call<br />    ### ######################################################<br />    cl <- makePSOCKcluster(4)<br /><br />    clusterExport(cl, c("inputpath.p", "fnames_sst_r2.p"))<br />    junk <- clusterEvalQ(cl, c(library(raster), library(rgdal)))<br /><br />    ### read into raster format using parallel version of lapply<br />    ### #################<br />    sst.global.p <- parLapply(cl, seq(fnames_sst_r2.p), function(i) {<br />        raster(paste(inputpath.p, fnames_sst_r2.p[i], sep = "/"))<br />    })<br /><br />    ### stop the cluster<br />    ### #########################################################<br />    stopCluster(cl)<br />})<br />
##    user  system elapsed <br />##    1.40    3.03   13.34 <br />

Not that much of a speed enhancement, but we need to keep in mind that the raster command does not read into memory. Hence, the speed improvements should be a lot higher once we start the calculations or plotting.

Finally, let's test whether the two methods produce identical results.

identical(sst.global.p, sst.global)<br />
## [1] TRUE<br />

to be continued…

sessionInfo()<br />
## R version 2.15.1 (2012-06-22)<br />## Platform: x86_64-pc-mingw32/x64 (64-bit)<br />## <br />## locale:<br />## [1] LC_COLLATE=English_United States.1252 <br />## [2] LC_CTYPE=English_United States.1252   <br />## [3] LC_MONETARY=English_United States.1252<br />## [4] LC_NUMERIC=C                          <br />## [5] LC_TIME=English_United States.1252    <br />## <br />## attached base packages:<br />## [1] parallel  stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods  <br />## [8] base     <br />## <br />## other attached packages:<br />## [1] rgdal_0.7-12  raster_1.9-92 sp_0.9-99     knitr_0.6.3  <br />## <br />## loaded via a namespace (and not attached):<br />##  [1] digest_0.5.2   evaluate_0.4.2 formatR_0.5    grid_2.15.1   <br />##  [5] lattice_0.20-6 parser_0.0-16  plyr_1.7.1     Rcpp_0.9.13   <br />##  [9] stringr_0.6    tools_2.15.1  <br />

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