Geographic Data Science

Spatial Autocorrelation
Dani Arribas-Bel

Spatial Autocorrelation

Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things

Waldo Tobler (1970)

Spatial Autocorrelation

-Statistical representation of Tobler’s law

-Spatial counterpart of traditional correlation

Degree to which similar values are located in similar locations

Two flavors:

  • Positive: similar values similar location (closeby)
  • Negative: similar values disimilar location (further apart)


Positive SA: income, poverty, vegetation, temperature…

Negative SA: supermarkets, police stations, fire stations, hospitals…



Clustering: do values tend to be close to other (dis)similar values?


Clusters: are there any specific parts of a map with an extraordinary concentration of (dis)similar values?

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A course on Geographic Data Science by Dani Arribas-Bel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.