Trends in Spatial Statistics

This article outlines the progression of the geography and spatial statistics since the quantitative revolution. Moving from net importers of techniques to net exporters in spatial analysis methods indicates how geographers have made their mark in academia. The book list offered by the author also demonstrates how vast the field has grown in multiple directions where few books were cited by multiple interviewees. Does this indicate that the breadth of knowledge in the field is so massive that a commonality such as a seminal book/article does not exist? It was noted that interviewees expressed their concern about the blurred line between GIS and spatial analysis. I’m not convinced that a clear distinction can be made – while seeing a “cluster” may be obvious, those who seek to understand the reasoning, and causes of the spatial distribution of a phenomenon will require specialized knowledge in theory and methodology to make those distinctions.

How society understands spatial data has also changed. As the proliferation of user friendly geospatial tools continues to pique the interest of the public to the discipline, it appears that the field has positively responded by providing freeware GIS tools which allow the distribution of more advanced spatial analysis techniques to further inform their understanding. As the discipline of geography continues to be enriched by new perspectives from several disciplines, spatial data will continue to evolve and become larger spatially, temporally and in volume. Handling these datasets require a reassessment of the tools we have to use and determine whether an adjustment can be made to address the new challenges in spatial statistics or if a new formulation needs to be made. But if we can address these issues and capitalize on the integrating spatial statistical with GIS to confirm hypothesis and move away from GIS as exploratory tool then the S moves from “system” to “science”.


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