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Supporting functionality to run ‘caret’ with spatial or spatial-temporal data. ‘caret’ is a frequently used package for model training and prediction using machine learning. CAST includes functions to improve spatial or spatial-temporal modelling tasks using ‘caret’. To decrease spatial overfitting and to improve model performances, the package implements a forward feature selection that selects suitable predictor variables in view to their contribution to spatial or spatio-temporal model performance. CAST further includes functionality to estimate the (spatial) area of applicability of prediction models.

Note: This is the developer version of CAST. The CRAN Version can be found on


Scientific documentation of the methods

  • Meyer, H., Reudenbach, C., Hengl, T., Katurji, M., Nauss, T. (2018): Improving performance of spatio-temporal machine learning models using forward feature selection and target-oriented validation. Environmental Modelling & Software, 101, 1-9.

  • Meyer, H., Reudenbach, C., Wöllauer, S., Nauss, T. (2019): Importance of spatial predictor variable selection in machine learning applications - Moving from data reproduction to spatial prediction. Ecological Modelling. 411.

  • Meyer, H., Pebesma, E. (2021). Predicting into unknown space? Estimating the area of applicability of spatial prediction models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 12, 1620– 1633.

  • Meyer, H., Pebesma, E. (2022): Machine learning-based global maps of ecological variables and the challenge of assessing them. Nature Communications, 13.