Spatial data is, quite literally, everwhere. In the past it was the private property of the GIS lab, but now everyone seems to be making tracks with the GPS device in their pocket. Map data now extends from the personal to the political, as agencies and governments make more global information available to the public. In recent years R has become well equipped to deal with this spatial data deluge, with a number of packages dedicated to spatial data and spatial analyses.
A computer with R installed, and either all the spatial packages installed or an internet connection.
Barry Rowlingson is a Senior Research Associate in the CHICAS unit of the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, UK.