Batch Downloading Zipped Shapefiles with R

September 16, 2013

(This article was first published on theBioBucket*, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Here’s a function I use to download multiple zipped shapefiles from url and load them to the workspace:

URLs <- c("",

url_shp_to_spdf <- function(URL) {


wd <- getwd()
td <- tempdir()

temp <- tempfile(fileext = ".zip")
download.file(URL, temp)

shp <- dir(tempdir(), "*.shp$")
lyr <- sub(".shp$", "", shp)
y <- lapply(X = lyr, FUN = function(x) readOGR(dsn=shp, layer=lyr))
names(y) <- lyr


y <- lapply(URLs, url_shp_to_spdf)
z <- unlist(unlist(y))

# finally use it:

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