Saving a simList may not work using the standard approaches (e.g., save, saveRDS, and qs::qsave). There are 2 primary reasons why this doesn't work as expected: the activeBindings that are in place within modules (these allow the mod and Par to exist), and file-backed objects, such as SpatRaster and Raster*. Because of these, a user should use saveSimList and loadSimList. These will save the object and recover the object using the filename supplied, if there are no file-backed objects. If there are file-backed objects, then it will save an archive (default is .tar.gz using the archive package for non-Windows and zip() if using Windows, as there is currently an unidentified bug in archive* on Windows). The user does not need to specify the filename any differently, as the code will search based on the filename without the file extension.

zipSimList will save the simList and file-backed Raster* objects, plus, optionally, files identified in outputs(sim) and inputs(sim). This uses Copy under the hood, to not affect the original simList. VERY experimental.

  projectPath = getwd(),
  outputs = TRUE,
  inputs = TRUE,
  cache = FALSE,

zipSimList(sim, zipfile, ..., outputs = TRUE, inputs = TRUE, cache = FALSE)



Either a simList or a character string of the name of a simList that can be found in envir. Using a character string will assign that object name to the saved simList, so when it is recovered it will be given that name.


Character string with the path for saving simList to or reading the simList from. Currently, only .rds and .qs file types are supported.


Should be the "top level" or project path for the simList. Defaults to getwd(). All other paths will be made relative with respect to this if nested within this.


Logical. If TRUE, all files identified in outputs(sim) will be included in the zip.


Logical. If TRUE, all files identified in inputs(sim) will be included in the zip.


Logical. Not yet implemented. If TRUE, all files in cachePath(sim) will be included in the zip archive. Defaults to FALSE as this could be large, and may include many out of date elements. See Details.


If sim is a character string, then this must be provided. It is the environment where the object named sim can be found.


passed to saveSimList(), including non-optional ones such as filename. Also see fileBackend and filebackedDir arguments in that function.


A character string indicating the filename for the zip file. Passed to zip.


For saveSimList(), a saved .qs file in filename location or a .tar.gz (non-Windows) or .zip (Windows).

invoked for side effect of zip archive creation


There is a family of 2 functions that are mutually useful for saving and loading simList objects and their associated files (e.g., file-backed Raster*, inputs, outputs, cache) saveSimList(), loadSimList().

Save - Move - Load

There are 3 different workflows for "save - move files - load" that work in our tests:

  1. fileBackend = 0: No renaming of file-backed rasters. This is unlikely to work for most use-cases as the original file paths are left intact. Recovery of this saved simList will only work if the file-backed objects' files are present and in the exact same paths.

    This approach is attempting to emulate a "relative filenames" approach, i.e., attempt to treat the file-backed raster file names as if they were relative (which they are not -- raster package forces absolute file paths). To do this, all the renaming occurs within loadSimList. These function will use the paths argument to rewrite the paths of the files that are identified with Filenames(sim) so that they are in the equivalent (relative) position as they were. This will only work if all files were in one of the paths of the original simList, so that they can be matched up with the new paths passed in loadSimList. This is not guaranteed to work correctly, though it works in a wide array of testing.

  2. fileBackend = 1: On-the-fly renaming of file-backed rasters;

    1. Save the sim object with a filename, e.g., file,

    2. make a copy of all file-backed rasters to fileBackedDir,

    3. update all the pointers to those files so that they are correct in the raster metadata

    saveSimList(sim, file = "sim.qs", fileBackend = 1, fileBackedDir = "here")
    simNew <- loadSimList(file = "sim.qs")

  3. fileBackend = 2: On-the-fly bringing to memory of all rasters

    All rasters are brought to memory, and then saved into sim.qs

    saveSimList(sim, file = "sim.qs", fileBackend = 2)
    simNew <- loadSimList(file = "sim.qs")

If cache is used, it is likely that it should be trimmed before zipping, to include only cache elements that are relevant.

See also