Using the latest GDAL with R packages on macOS

UPDATE: see more recent version of this post here.

I wanted to play around with the new sf package, which requires the latest GDAL (>= 2.0.0), GEOS (>= 3.3.0), and PROJ.4 (>= 4.8.0). However, the version of GDAL installed via brew is 1.11.4, so I needed to update to the latest version and reinstall a few R packages in order to get sf to work on macOS.

Update GDAL

## unlink the previous GDAL version
brew unlink gdal

## update GDAL to the latest version (2.1.2)
brew tap osgeo/osgeos4mac
brew install gdal2
brew link --force gdal2

(Re)install R spatial packages

Next, we need to install a few packages from source in order to use the new GDAL libraries:

## (re)install spatial packages from source
install.packages(c("rgeos", "sf", "sp"), type = "source")

## rgdal requires some additional configuration to build correctly:
##   based on
install.packages("rgdal", type = "source",
                 configure.args = c("--with-proj-include=/usr/local/include",
library(rgdal) ## confirm the GDAL version being used
Ecologist and simulation modeller
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