Exploratory and Confirmatory Spatial Analysis has come a long way, but…

As with many of the papers in this class, the topics presented are still extremely relevant to the field of GIS, however we have made leaps and bounds in terms of technology since it was written (1992 in this case).  Computing power and the development of appropriate algorithms have allowed GIS analysts to drastically improve the so called manipulation, exploration and confirmation processes brought forth by Anselin and Getis.  While I have only been familiar with a program such as ArcGIS for a few years, I would argue that the spatial analysis capabilities have drastically improved since the 90s.  It is obvious that GIS is no longer about the display and visualization of spatial data, as the ability to perform exploratory and confirmatory analysis has become the norm.  These sorts of procedures have become more “automated”, per se, and allow for more “plug it and chug it” methods to spatial analysis.

That being said, the authors bring up a vital point by saying that in some cases, “better theoretical notions may be needed.”  To me, this is essentially a warning to GIS analysts, telling us not to rely solely on whatever new algorithms or spatial analyst tools may be needed.  When one is working with the massive complexity of spatial data that is at our fingertips today, it is imperative that we are familiar with the data itself.  We must still predict what sorts of patterns we may see.  If the exploratory process unveils some sort of new model of our environment, we need to know why that is so.  Otherwise, we reach a point where the user is no longer relevant, which will be detrimental.  So, yes, we have made great progress in the use of spatial geostatistics.  However, we must be careful how far we take this and always be conscious of the types of decisions we make when analyzing spatial data.



Comments are closed.