contourLines {grDevices}R Documentation

Calculate Contour Lines


Calculate contour lines for a given set of data.


contourLines(x = seq(0, 1, len = nrow(z)),
             y = seq(0, 1, len = ncol(z)),
             z, nlevels = 10,
             levels = pretty(range(z, na.rm=TRUE), nlevels))


x,y locations of grid lines at which the values in z are measured. These must be in ascending order. By default, equally spaced values from 0 to 1 are used. If x is a list, its components x$x and x$y are used for x and y, respectively. If the list has component z this is used for z.
z a matrix containing the values to be plotted (NAs are allowed). Note that x can be used instead of z for convenience.
nlevels number of contour levels desired iff levels is not supplied.
levels numeric vector of levels at which to draw contour lines.


contourLines draws nothing, but returns a set of contour lines.

There is currently no documentation about the algorithm. The source code is in ‘$R_HOME/src/main/plot3d.c’.


A list of contours. Each contour is a list with elements:

level The contour level.
x The x-coordinates of the contour.
y The y-coordinates of the contour.

See Also

options("max.countour.segments") for the maximal complexity of a single contour line.



x <- 10*1:nrow(volcano)
y <- 10*1:ncol(volcano)
contourLines(x, y, volcano)

[Package grDevices version 2.5.0 Index]