splitRaster divides up a raster into an arbitrary number of pieces (tiles). Split rasters can be recombined using do.call(merge, y) or mergeRaster(y), where y <- splitRaster(x).

mergeRaster(x, fun = NULL)

# S4 method for list
mergeRaster(x, fun = NULL)

  nx = 1,
  ny = 1,
  buffer = c(0, 0),
  path = NA,
  rType = "FLT4S",
  fExt = ".grd"

# S4 method for RasterLayer
  nx = 1,
  ny = 1,
  buffer = c(0, 0),
  path = NA,
  rType = "FLT4S",
  fExt = ".grd"



A list of split raster tiles (i.e., from splitRaster).


Function (e.g. mean, min, or max that accepts a na.rm argument. The default is mean.


The raster to be split.


The number of tiles to make along the x-axis.


The number of tiles to make along the y-axis.


Numeric vector of length 2 giving the size of the buffer along the x and y axes. If these values less than or equal to 1 are used, this is interpreted as the number of pixels (cells) to use as a buffer. Values between 0 and 1 are interpreted as proportions of the number of pixels in each tile (rounded up to an integer value). Default is c(0, 0), which means no buffer.


Character specifying the directory to which the split tiles will be saved. If missing, the function will write to memory.


A cluster object. Optional. This would generally be created using parallel::makeCluster or equivalent. This is an alternative way, instead of beginCluster(), to use parallelism for this function, allowing for more control over cluster use.


Data type of the split rasters. Defaults to FLT4S.


file extension (e.g., ".grd" or ".tif") specifying the file format.


mergeRaster returns a RasterLayer object.

splitRaster returns a list (length nx*ny) of cropped raster tiles.


mergeRaster differs from merge in how overlapping tile regions are handled: merge retains the values of the first raster in the list. This has the consequence of retaining the values from the buffered region in the first tile in place of the values from the neighbouring tile. On the other hand, mergeRaster retains the values of the tile region, over the values in any buffered regions. This is useful for reducing edge effects when performing raster operations involving contagious processes.

This function is parallel-aware, using the same mechanism as used in raster. Specifically, if you start a cluster using beginCluster(), then this function will automatically use that cluster. It is always a good idea to stop the cluster when finished, using endCluster().


Yong Luo, Alex Chubaty, Tati Micheletti & Ian Eddy

Alex Chubaty and Yong Luo


#> Attaching package: ‘Require’
#> The following object is masked from ‘package:testthat’:
#>     setup

# an example with dimensions:
# nrow: 77
# ncol: 101
# nlayers: 3
b <- brick(system.file("external/rlogo.grd", package = "raster"))
r <- b[[1]] # use first layer only
nx <- 1
ny <- 2

tmpdir <- checkPath(file.path(tempdir(), "splitRaster-example"), create = TRUE)

y0 <- splitRaster(r, nx, ny, path = file.path(tmpdir, "y0")) # no buffer

# buffer: 10 pixels along both axes
y1 <- splitRaster(r, nx, ny, c(10, 10), path = file.path(tmpdir, "y1"))

# buffer: half the width and length of each tile
y2 <- splitRaster(r, nx, ny, c(0.5, 0.5), path = file.path(tmpdir, "y2"))

# parallel cropping
if (interactive()) {
  n <- pmin(parallel::detectCores(), 4) # use up to 4 cores
  y3 <- splitRaster(r, nx, ny, c(0.7, 0.7), path = file.path(tmpdir, "y3"))

# the original raster:
if (interactive()) plot(r) # may require a call to `dev()` if using RStudio

# the split raster:
layout(mat = matrix(seq_len(nx * ny), ncol = nx, nrow = ny))
plotOrder <- c(4, 8, 12, 3, 7, 11, 2, 6, 10, 1, 5, 9)
if (interactive()) invisible(lapply(y0[plotOrder], plot))

# can be recombined using `raster::merge`
m0 <- do.call(merge, y0)
all.equal(m0, r) ## TRUE
#> [1] TRUE

m1 <- do.call(merge, y1)
all.equal(m1, r) ## TRUE
#> [1] TRUE

m2 <- do.call(merge, y2)
all.equal(m2, r) ## TRUE
#> [1] TRUE

# or recombine using mergeRaster
n0 <- mergeRaster(y0)
all.equal(n0, r) ## TRUE
#> [1] TRUE

n1 <- mergeRaster(y1)
all.equal(n1, r) ## TRUE
#> [1] TRUE

n2 <- mergeRaster(y2)
all.equal(n2, r) ## TRUE
#> [1] TRUE

unlink(tmpdir, recursive = TRUE)