terrainr: An R package for creating immersive virtual environments

New open-access paper published in the Journal of Open Source Science.


Mike Mahoney


January 14, 2022

I’ve got a new paper out at the Journal of Open Source Science, documenting the “terrainr” package I’ve been developing since late 2020. JOSS is a fantastic journal and is entirely open-source, so that first link should work for everyone.

Left: Where typical geodata-to-IVE workflows leave you. Right: Where terrainr gets you.

The JOSS workflow is absolutely fascinating. I made a git branch in the terrainr repo with the files needed to generate the paper, then (through a web form) opened a pre-review issue on GitHub. The editors used that issue to assign a handling editor, then moved things over to a review issue, where the paper was processed and prepared for submission via an automatically generated PR. The whole thing was incredibly efficient, and also entirely transparent – the logs of the paper processing workflow will be available until GitHub finally shuts down, a refreshing change compared to standard peer review.

The paper itself is a general overview of the terrainr package, trying to be a new enough contribution that it’s not just repeating the package documentation but not adding enough to spin off into an entirely separate research project. It’s also very short – a nice feature of JOSS papers – so rather than summarize here I’ll just suggest you read it yourself.