Spatial stats within geography

Nelson’s article gives a thorough overview of spatial statistics through a synthesis of literature and surveying of professionals in the field. The article is well structured as Nelson walks the reader through the different sections. From this article, spatial statistics can be linked the past topics that we’ve studied in GIScience, such as the importance of good user-centred GUIs and wide distribution of applications on the web and data visualisation.

Nelson has a subsection entitled “Geography as the Home for Spatial Analysis” where she situates spatial analysis within geography. She comments on the trend of certain subjects migrating into different disciplines (or forging their own) as geographers give up leadership. If the growing fields within geography leave the discipline, what do we have left? Are geographers equipped to meet the demands of the growing fields? Nelson continues on to acknowledge how geographers are not trained to think mathmetically, statistically, nor computationally — strains of thought which are required for spatial stats. She raises questions on to what extent spatial stats should be involved in geography’s curriculums. I think McGill does a good job with our two required stats courses, but I would like to see more application of statistical methods in other courses.

Spatial statistical analysis needs geographers — maybe not to perform the analysis, but for spatial interpretation. Geographers need spatial analysis to increase rigour in our studies and validity as a department.

Interestingly, this blog post calls for geographers wanting to become spatial statisticans to round out their education with a math or stats degree. It takes more than just geography.


PS: For future thought– Nelson says, “data are increasingly being viewed as public properties” (p. 86)… hmmm…

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