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PBS software: maps, spatial analysis, and other utilities

Faculty Advisor




software development, fisheries

Abstract (summary)

This report describes software written to facilitate the compilation and analysis of fishery data, particularly data referenced by spatial coordinates. Our research stems from experiences with information on Canada s Pacific groundfish fisheries compiled at the Pacific Biological Station (PBS). Despite its origins in fishery data analysis, our software has broad applicability. The library PBS Mapping extends the languages R and S-PLUS to include two dimensional plotting features similar to those commonly available in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Embedded C code speeds algorithms from computational geometry, such as finding polygons that contain specified point events or converting between longitude-latitude and Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates. We also present a number of convenient utilities for the Microsoft Windows operating systems, including commands that support computational geometry outside the framework of R or S-PLUS. Tools to construct most of our software come freely from the Internet, as documented here in a guide to the packages available. Furthermore, we provide quick tutorials that address key technical issues relevant to our work, such as embedding C code into an R package and writing documentation that meets the R standard. Our results, which depend significantly on the work of students, illustrate the convergence of goals between academic training and applied research.

Publication Information

Schnute, J. T., Boers, N. M., and Haigh, R. (2003). PBS software: maps, spatial analysis, and other utilities. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2496. Retrieved from



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