“GEOSTAT is a non-profit specialized block course (summer school) run by FOSS enthusiasts and developers. The main idea of GEOSTAT is to promote various aspects of statistical analysis of spatial and spatio-temporal data using open source / free GIS tools: R, SAGA GIS, GRASS GIS, FWTools, Google Earth and similar. GEOSTAT is where statistical computing meets geographical analysis“
Check out in particular the many tutorials and example datasets on this website! It is a great entry point for hands on experience.
… is probably one of the best currently available free books to learn about geostatisitical mapping using R and combine it with GRASS, Google’s kml and other free and open source software.