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Head/tail breaks: A new classification scheme for data with a heavy-tailed distribution
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2337-2486
2013 (English)In: Professional Geographer, ISSN 0033-0124, E-ISSN 1467-9272, Vol. 65, no 3, 482-494 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper introduces a new classification scheme - head/tail breaks - in order to find groupings or hierarchy for data with a heavy-tailed distribution. The heavy-tailed distributions are heavily right skewed, with a minority of large values in the head and a majority of small values in the tail, commonly characterized by a power law, a lognormal or an exponential function. For example, a country's population is often distributed in such a heavy-tailed manner, with a minority of people (e.g., 20 percent) in the countryside and the vast majority (e.g., 80 percent) in urban areas. This heavy-tailed distribution is also called scaling, hierarchy or scaling hierarchy. This new classification scheme partitions all of the data values around the mean into two parts and continues the process iteratively for the values (above the mean) in the head until the head part values are no longer heavy-tailed distributed. Thus, the number of classes and the class intervals are both naturally determined. We therefore claim that the new classification scheme is more natural than the natural breaks in finding the groupings or hierarchy for data with a heavy-tailed distribution. We demonstrate the advantages of the head/tail breaks method over Jenks' natural breaks in capturing the underlying hierarchy of the data. Keywords: data classification, head/tail division rule, natural breaks, scaling, and hierarchy

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 65, no 3, 482-494 p.
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-13043DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2012.700499ISI: 000320018600011Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84879184808OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-13043DiVA: diva2:556001
Available from: 2012-09-23 Created: 2012-09-23 Last updated: 2015-12-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard-cite-them-right
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • sv-SE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • de-DE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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