Intersecting a data frame with longitude/latitudes with a polygon shapefile in R

I finally cleaned up a little script that I use to get the Spalding marine ecoregions for a set of points in R. The function needs as input a data frame with coordinates in longitude/latitude, the names of the coordinate columns (first the longitude column then the latitude column) and the path to the ecoregions shapefile. You can off course substitude this ecoregions shapefile with any other polygon shapefile (eg.countries, districts, lakes, protected areas, ...).


get_ecoregions <- function(data, xy_cols, meow_path) {
  df <- data
  row.names(df) <- 1:nrow(df)
  coordinates(data) <- xy_cols
  data@proj4string <-  CRS("+proj=longlat +datum=WGS84 +ellps=WGS84 +towgs84=0,0,0")
  layer <- tools::file_path_sans_ext(basename(meow_path))
  meow <- readOGR(dsn = meow_path, layer = layer,verbose = FALSE, stringsAsFactors = FALSE)
  meow@proj4string <- data@proj4string # set the same, because they are
  intersect_meow_df <- gIntersection(meow, data, byid = TRUE)
  id_pairs <- strsplit(row.names(intersect_meow_df), " ")
  id_pairs_mat <- as.matrix(, id_pairs))
  ecoids <- id_pairs_mat[,1]
  names(ecoids) <- id_pairs_mat[,2] ## store rowname from df.sp in names(ecoids)
  meow_row_names <- ecoids[row.names(data)]
  meow_row_names[] <- "invalid row name"
  cbind(df, meow@data[meow_row_names,])

# df <- data.frame(species=rep("a", 4), longitude=c(4.087523,3.66044,2.926591, 0), latitude=c(51.671932, 51.55974, 51.234695,0))
# m <- get_ecoregions(df, c("longitude", "latitude"), "D:/a/data/ecoregions/meow_ecos.shp")