Posts Tagged ‘Anselin’

Spatial statistics analysis integration with GIS

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Anselin and Getis authored a 1992 paper on spatial statistics and the problems that persisted in the critical analysis portion of GIS. They divide GIS into four stages – input, storage, analysis, and output – and discuss the interface between storage and analysis and output and analysis. This area of GIS is where, according to the authors, many of the pitfalls of the process of transforming reality to visualization occur. One issue of concern is the integration of a database with the tools to analyze the data. Anselin and Getis offer three possibilities, including full integration in the GIS software, tools that analyze from outside the GIS, and a common format to easily switch between the spatial analysis and the GIS.

One of my primary concerns in reading an article on the fallbacks of technology is that technology changes so rapidly as to make the article nearly obsolete not long after its publication. I mention this here because in the 21 years since the publishing of the article, GIS has advanced leaps and bounds in its toolbox and user interface. Regarding the database-spatial analysis concern noted above, for instance, ArcGIS now includes at least two of the three offered possibilities. Arc is able to read several spreadsheet formats that allow for the integration of Excel if desired. Otherwise, Arc comes with a multitude of analysis tools, ranging from simple geometry calculation to more complex map algebra and interpolation methods. While databases are, for the most part, easier to organize within Excel, there is often little need to work outside of the GIS at all. Arc (and other software) comes with complicated and useful spatial algorithms that make many of the issues noted by Anselin and Gertis largely antiquated.

– JMonterey