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Import and display a jpeg from a SQL Server database using r

Work has asked us to import a series of jpeg files from a SQL Server database for display on a dashboard product we have. We are using R to query our db and build our dashboards so we need to be able to import the images from SQL Server and display them (or at least export to a local system folder).

We can pull down and display standard table information like File Name, File Size, File Type, and File Data <raw>, but we are having a hard time understanding how to extract and display the jpeg files.

table of image details

I know they are stored in the database in a varbinary column types, but the standard read/writeJPEG() doesn’t seem to like anything without a file path, for example pulling the data directly from the SQL Server database into r.

Tried pulling a single file for export to local folder, but same problem with loading the image.

Any suggestions on how to proceed?



The jpeg::readJPEG function says it can read from raw vectors and you seem to have raw vectors in your data.frame. So try something like


For something reproducible, here’s an example that reads a sample image from the jpeg package in as a raw vector and then turns that into an image object

#sample data
fname <- system.file("img", "Rlogo.jpg", package="jpeg")
filedataraw <- readBin(fname, "raw",$size)

Now that we’ve created a sample raw vector (like the one that’s presumably stored in your dataframe), we can parse the image data with the jpeg library

img <- jpeg::readJPEG(filedataraw)
plot(1:2, type='n')
rasterImage(img, 1.2, 1.27, 1.8, 1.73)

If the goal is just to write to a file, you don’t need to parse the file as a JPEG at all. You can just write the bytes to disk.

writeBin(filedataraw, "sample.jpeg")
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