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Geospatial analysis requires a different way of thinking: the problem of spatial heterogeneity
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2337-2486
2015 (English)In: GeoJournal, ISSN 0343-2521, E-ISSN 1572-9893, Vol. 80, no 1, 1-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Geospatial analysis is very much dominated by a Gaussian way of thinking, which assumes that things in the world can be characterized by a well-defined mean, i.e., things are more or less similar in size. However, this assumption is not always valid. In fact, many things in the world lack a well-defined mean, and therefore there are far more small things than large ones. This paper attempts to argue that geospatial analysis requires a different way of thinking-a Paretian way of thinking that underlies skewed distribution such as power laws, Pareto and lognormal distributions. I review two properties of spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity, and point out that the notion of spatial heterogeneity in current spatial statistics is only used to characterize local variance of spatial dependence. I subsequently argue for a broad perspective on spatial heterogeneity, and suggest it be formulated as a scaling law. I further discuss the implications of Paretian thinking and the scaling law for better understanding of geographic forms and processes, in particular while facing massive amounts of social media data. In the spirit of Paretian thinking, geospatial analysis should seek to simulate geographic events and phenomena from the bottom up rather than correlations as guided by Gaussian thinking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 80, no 1, 1-13 p.
Keyword [en]
Big data, Head/tail breaks, Heavy-tailed distributions, Power laws, Scaling of geographic space
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-18446DOI: 10.1007/s10708-014-9537-yISI: 000367615400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84922338077OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-18446DiVA: diva2:770247
Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-10 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically 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
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf