R Client Library for SpatioTemporal Asset Catalog (rstac)
STAC is a specification of files and web services used to describe geospatial information assets. The specification can be consulted in https://stacspec.org/.
R client library for STAC (
rstac) was designed to fully support STAC API v1.0.0. It also supports earlier versions (>= v0.8.0).
# install via CRAN install.packages("rstac")
To install the development version of
rstac, run the following commands
# load necessary libraries library(devtools) install_github("brazil-data-cube/rstac")
rstac implements the following STAC endpoints:
These functions can be used to retrieve information from a STAC API service. The code below creates a
stac object and list the available collections of the STAC API of the Brazil Data Cube project of the Brazilian National Space Research Institute INPE.
s_obj <- stac("https://brazildatacube.dpi.inpe.br/stac/") get_request(s_obj) #> ###STACCatalog #> - id: bdc #> - description: Brazil Data Cube Catalog #> - field(s): description, id, stac_version, links
s_obj stores information to connect to the Brazil Data Cube STAC web service. The
get_request method makes a HTTP GET connection to it and retrieves a STAC Catalog document from the server. Each
links entry is an available collection that can be accessed via STAC API.
In the code below, we get some STAC items of
CB4_64_16D_STK-1 collection that intersects the bounding box passed to the
bbox parameter. To do this, we call the
stac_search function that implements the STAC
/search endpoint. The returned document is a STAC Item Collection (a geojson containing a feature collection).
it_obj <- s_obj |> stac_search(collections = "CB4_64_16D_STK-1", bbox = c(-47.02148, -17.35063, -42.53906, -12.98314), limit = 100) |> get_request() it_obj #> ###STACItemCollection #> - matched feature(s): 306 #> - features (100 item(s) / 206 not fetched): #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022024_2022-08-13_2022-08-28 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022025_2022-08-13_2022-08-28 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022024_2022-07-28_2022-08-12 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022025_2022-07-28_2022-08-12 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022024_2022-07-12_2022-07-27 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022025_2022-07-12_2022-07-27 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022024_2022-06-26_2022-07-11 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022025_2022-06-26_2022-07-11 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022024_2022-06-10_2022-06-25 #> - CB4_64_16D_STK_v001_022025_2022-06-10_2022-06-25 #> - ... with 90 more feature(s). #> - assets: #> BAND13, BAND14, BAND15, BAND16, CLEAROB, CMASK, EVI, NDVI, PROVENANCE, thumbnail, TOTALOB #> - item's fields: #> assets, bbox, collection, geometry, id, links, properties, stac_extensions, stac_version, type
rstac uses the httr package to manage HTTP requests, allowing the use of tokens from the authorization protocols OAuth 1.0 or 2.0 as well as other configuration options. In the code below, we present an example of how to pass a parameter token on a HTTP request.
it_obj <- s_obj |> stac_search(collections = "CB4_64_16D_STK-1", bbox = c(-47.02148, -17.35063, -42.53906, -12.98314)) |> get_request(add_headers("x-api-key" = "MY-TOKEN"))
In addition to the functions mentioned above, the
rstac package provides some extra functions for handling items and to bulk download the assets.
rstac provides some functions that facilitates the interaction with STAC data. In the example below, we get how many items matched the search criteria:
# it_obj variable from the last code example it_obj |> items_matched() #>  306
However, if we count how many items there are in
it_obj variable, we get
10, meaning that more items could be fetched from the STAC service:
it_obj |> items_length() #>  100
# fetch all items from server # (but don't stored them back in it_obj) it_obj <- it_obj |> items_fetch(progress = FALSE) it_obj |> items_length() #>  306
All we’ve got in previous example was metadata to STAC Items, including links to geospatial data called
assets. To download all
assets in a STAC Item Collection we can use
assets_download() function, that returns an update STAC Item Collection referring to the downloaded assets. The code below downloads the
thumbnail assets (.png files) of
10 items stored in
download_items <- it_obj |> assets_download(assets_name = "thumbnail", items_max = 10)
CQL2 query filter
rstac also supports advanced query filter using common query language (CQL2). Users can write complex filter expressions using R code in an easy and natural way. For a complete
s_obj <- stac("https://planetarycomputer.microsoft.com/api/stac/v1") it_obj <- s_obj |> ext_filter( collection == "sentinel-2-l2a" && `s2:vegetation_percentage` >= 50 && `eo:cloud_cover` <= 10 && `s2:mgrs_tile` == "20LKP" && anyinteracts(datetime, interval("2020-06-01", "2020-09-30")) ) |> post_request()
You can get a full explanation about each STAC (v1.0.0) endpoint at STAC API spec. A detailed documentation with examples on how to use each endpoint and other functions available in the
rstac package can be obtained by typing
?rstac in R console.
To cite rstac in publications use:
R. Simoes, F. C. de Souza, M. Zaglia, G. R. de Queiroz, R. D. C. dos Santos and K. R. Ferreira, “Rstac: An R Package to Access Spatiotemporal Asset Catalog Satellite Imagery,” 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS, 2021, pp. 7674-7677, doi: 10.1109/IGARSS47720.2021.9553518.
Acknowledgements for financial support
We acknowledge and thank the project funders that provided financial and material support:
Amazon Fund, established by the Brazilian government with financial contribution from Norway, through the project contract between the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the Foundation for Science, Technology and Space Applications (FUNCATE), for the establishment of the Brazil Data Cube, process 17.2.0536.1.
Radiant Earth Foundation and STAC Project Steering Committee for the advance of STAC ecosystem programme.
How to contribute?
rstac package was implemented based on an extensible architecture, so feel free to contribute by implementing new STAC API extensions/fragments based on the STAC API specifications.
- Make a project fork.
- Create a file inside the
- In the code, you need to specify a subclass name (e.g.
ext_subclass) for your extension in
RSTACQueryfunction constructor, and implement the S3 generics methods:
after_response. Using these S3 generics methods you can define how parameters must be submitted to the HTTP request and the types of the returned documents responses. See the implemented ext_query API extension as an example.
- Make a Pull Request on the branch dev.