The problem of statistical spatial analysis encompasses an expanding range of methods which address different spatial problems, from image enhancement and pattern recognition to spatial interpolation and socio-economic trend modeling. Each of these methods focuses on a particular aspect but what emerges is something that is clearly identifiable as spatial statistics, statistical methods like MG, CSS and GWR techniques which address geographical raw data that are spatially correlated.
According to Ferreira and Simoes (1993, 1994),
the kernel of geography is to think geographically, that is, to study the spatial
distribution of the phenomena and their correlations. Traditional statistics
must be reformulated to properly account for spatial correlation and spatial
heterogeneity within georeferenced data (Anselin, 1996,
1998). Spatial autocorrelation is a reality but also a
requirement to carry out spatial interpolation and spatial regression modeling.
For instance, if regression residuals reveal a medium-strong spatial autocorrelation
then any missing variable within the initial regression model can be significant.
Certainly, MG, CSS and GWR try to include this spatial autocorrelation issue
within their spatial interpolation and simulation computation.
To re-examine these procedures becomes, hence, the goal of this research. Section two highlights Morphologic Geostatistics (MG) while sections three and four underline Conditional Gaussian Sequential Simulation (CGSS) and Conditional Categorical Sequential Simulation (CCSS), respectively. Direct Sequential Simulation (DSS) is also introduced while Geographical Weighted Regression (GWR) is presented in section five. Close relationships among these spatial issues are presented in present study.
It is vital to stress that the comprehension of this essay underlines the knowledge
of variography and Kriging topics (Aguilar et al.,
2008; Negreiros et al., 2010). Additionally,
the input Pb spatial data, exploratory, variography and Kriging results that
follow section two and three are presented in the Appendix (contamination data
of Aljustrel, Portugal, within a global area of 4500 mx2950 m). The software
used here was GeoMS8 from Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon.
This section is dedicated to MG for categorical variables (body X and body
XC) such as the presence/absence of a particular type of pine tree
in an open field, for example. The main idea is to analyze the spatial structure
for problems closely related with qualitative variables which is useful to understand
the degree of presence of a certain type of objects in space.
||(a-d) Histogram, cumulative distribution functions, box-plot,
descriptive statistics (top) and spatial location map (bottom) of the categorical
variable (blue dots versus red ones) based on Eq. 1
Quite often, farmers do not want to measure the number of grasshoppers (quantitative
variable) but wish to classify sub-regions according to a pre-define classification
(categorical variable) such as lower, medium and high infestation.
For illustration purposes lets consider the Pb contamination dataset (Appendix). By considering an indicator variable whose cutoff value equals the median of the Pb values, a categorical variable can be created according to the next rule:
That is, a particular x location equals 1 if that particular site is classified
as an X body (all x>40 ppm). Otherwise, it equals 0, which means that the
location is classify as XC (all x No. 40 ppm). It is central to highlight
that this Imorf (x>40 ppm) condition (body X) used in this example
works as a classification criteria for the present contamination dataset creating,
thus, a two-phase structure: population X and population XC (Fig.
As expected, the spatial continuity of both bodies can be measured by the indicator variogram based on the sill, anisotropy (range) and nugget-effect parameters. In this morphologic context, the range factor measures the average dimension of X and XC bodies while the nugget-effect denotes the transition frequency between both bodies (1 and 0 states) at small scale (Fig. 2). The variogram that lies behind this spatial autocorrelation structure is a spherical one with a major and minor range of 2500 and 1000 m, respectively. The nugget-effect equals zero. The main direction of the geometric anisotropy is 901.
||Probability estimation map for the X body obtained by Indicator
Kriging of the IMorf variable (the highest probabilities of Pb
to be greater than 40 ppm are located at the lower right corner)
|| The two-strata structure morphologic map (body X in red and
body XC in blue)
|| The previous two-phase structure morphologic map including
The probability map of Fig. 2 can be transformed into a morphologic
binary map to reproduce the X and XC bodies as described next (Soares,
||Determine the global average, (mX)*, of the Indicator Kriging
probabilities estimates. Averaging all grid locations = probabilities allows
obtaining an estimate of the proportion of locations of the region that
should be classified as X
||Sort (descending) the probabilities estimates of all grid locations
||Create a new binary variable according to the following rules: assign
the value 1 to all locations with probability estimate greater than (mX)*;
assign the value 0 otherwise
||Create a map of this new binary variable
In the Pb example, (mX)* equals 0.605786 which means that the body X covers 60.6% of the region. Among the 34126 kriged blocks of Fig. 2, the 20673 locations (34126H0.605786) with the highest probabilities were assigned the value 1 and the remaining ones were set to 0. Mapping this new binary variable allows to produce the estimated morphologic map of the body X (Fig. 3).
Concerning the uncertainty assessment of the morphologic map, which is higher
on the border between different bodies, the following four steps were computed
||Determine the global average, (mX)*, of the Indicator Kriging
||Sort (descending) the probabilities estimates of all grid locations
||Create a new variable according to the following rules: assign the value
1 to all locations with probability greater than 105%H(mX)*;
assign the value 0 to those smaller than 95%H(mX)*; otherwise,
the new variable will assume the value 2
||Generate a map based on this new variable with three phases
In the example:
||105%x(mX)* = 0.636075
||0:95%x(mX)* = 0.575497
||Total number of locations with values equal to 2: 34126H10%=3412
CONDITIONAL GAUSSIAN AND DIRECT SEQUENTIAL SIMULATION
Interpolation methods, such as Ordinary Kriging (OK), typically overestimate
small values and underestimate large ones. As with the traditional regression,
the final estimates are less variable than the true values. Although a kriged
map shows the best estimates of a variable, it does not represent the variability
in a proper way, that is, this loss of variance could lead to wrong decisions.
To estimate a surface that retains the original samples variability, we need
other techniques such as geostatistical stochastic simulation (Webster
and Olivier, 2007).
Within spatial analysis, the stochastic simulation is a tool to evaluate the
spatial uncertainty based on the generation of N sets of equiprobable values
(Soares, 2000). Each simulated image should hold the statistical
properties of the original observations, such as the mean, variance, histogram
and covariance. Additionally, simulated values honor, at their locations, the
measured data values. Based on the N realizations, it is possible to compute
uncertainty measures and to assess the extreme spatial behavior of any particular
phenomenon. For instance, from a set of maps, it is possible to assess all sub-regions
with values above a certain threshold and the probability of that to happen.
Even more important for pollution studies, it is possible to generate scenarios
yielding the smallest (best scenario) and the largest (worst scenario) contaminations
Broadly, there are three classes of simulation algorithms B sequential, p-field
and annealing-although only the first one will be covered in this study. The
Conditional Gaussian Sequential Simulation (CGSS) technique is based on the
assumption that the spatial distribution of a continuous random variable can
be modeled by a multivariate Gaussian model. Through the sequential simulation
algorithms, instead of modeling the N-points conditional cumulative distribution
function (ccdf), a one-point ccdf is modeled and sampled at each of the N nodes
visited along a random sequence. To ensure the reproduction of the variable
covariance model, each one-point ccdf is made conditional not only to the original
data but also to all values simulated at previously visited locations (Goovaerts,
With CGSS, each variable is simulated sequentially according to its Normal
ccdf, which is fully characterized through a Simple Kriging (SK) system. The
conditioning data consist of all original data and all previously simulated
values found within a neighborhood of the location being simulated.
The conditional simulation of a continuous variable Z(u) modeled by
CGSS proceeds, then, as follows:
||Based on all available samples, compute the univariate cumulative distribution
function (cdf) representative of the entire study area
||Using this cdf, it is necessary to perform a normal-score transformation
of the z(u) original data into y-data (the Gaussian restriction)
||Define a random path that visits each node of the grid once (Fig.
5). At each node u, keep hold of a specified number of neighboring conditioning
data including both initially transformed y-data and previously simulated
grid node values (the conditional restriction)
||Apply Simple Kriging (SK) with the Normal score variogram model (based
on the y-values) to determine the estimate z*(u) and the variance σ*(u),
at the u location
||Randomly draw a value between 0 and 1 from the cumulative Gaussian distribution
based on step 4 results, that is, N(z*(u), σ*(u)). The simulated value
is then equal to G-1(z*(u), σ*(u)). Afterwards, this simulated
value is added to the current dataset (Fig. 6)
||Proceed to the next node and loop until all nodes are simulated (the sequential
||Back-transform the simulated normal values y*(u) into the original variable
for each location u (Fig. 7a-f)
Journel (1994) showed that for this conditional sequential
simulation algorithm to reproduce a specific covariance model it suffices that
the simulated values are drawn from the local distributions centered at the
Simple Kriging estimates with a variance corresponding to the Simple Kriging
estimation variance. This result guarantees that the spatial covariance and
the global sample mean and variance, of the original variable are reproduced
but not the histogram. To overcome this limitation, Soares
(2001) proposed a Direct Sequential Simulation (DSS) algorithm that uses
the local Simple Kriging estimates of the mean and variance, not to define the
local cumulative distribution function (cdf) but to sample from the global cdf.
Recently, Costa et al. (2008a) and Costa
and Soares (2009) proposed a new method for the homogenization of climate
data using the DSS algorithm. The DSS procedure is used to calculate the local
probability density function (pdf) at a candidate station's location. The algorithm
generates realizations of the climate variable through the resampling of the
global pdf using the local mean and variance of the candidate station, which
are estimated through a spatiotemporal model.
||With conditional simulation, the number of realizations used
to produce the final estimates can strongly affect the outcome of the interpolation.
The upper six images correspond to 80 mx80 m grid interpolated maps (density
of 0.5 m) with different numbers of simulations: (a) block Kriged data;
(b) the same data interpolated for n = 1 conditional simulation; (c) n =
10 simulations; (d) n = 100 simulations; (e) n = 1000 simulations; (f) n
= 10000 simulations (Robertson, 2008)
The local pdf from each instant in time is used to verify the existence of
irregularities: a breakpoint is identified whenever the interval of a specified
probability p, centered in the local pdf, does not contain the observed (real)
value of the candidate station. If irregularities are detected in a candidate
series, the time series can be adjusted by replacing the inhomogeneous records
with the mean of the pdf(s) calculated at the candidate station's location for
the inhomogeneous period(s).
Recently, Costa et al. (2008b) used the direct
sequential cosimulation (coDSS) algorithm to map a flood indicator and extreme
precipitation frequency in Southern Portugal using elevation as auxiliary information.
The methods incorporate space-time models that account for long-term trends
of extreme precipitation and local changes in the relationship between elevation
and extreme precipitation through time.
SEQUENTIAL SIMULATION FOR CATEGORICAL VARIABLES
Variables, such as the concentration of a metal in the soil, may appear to
change abruptly in space. In this case, the phenomenon should be modeled as
a mixture of two populations each of them may have different patterns of spatial
continuity (Goovaerts, 1997). To deal with this type of
variables, Sequential Indicator Simulation (SIS) is presented in this section
as it allows modeling the relative geometry of each population (strata) in order
to create an exhaustive categorical map.
Analogous to the CGSS, seven major steps are involved in the SIS algorithm:
||Transform each categorical data (e.g., tillage, meadow, pasture and forest)
into a vector of 1s and 0s (e.g., (0,0,0,1) if a particular site is classified
as forest only)
||Assess the occurrence probability for each category using Indicator Kriging
(IK) at all locations
||Correct these category probabilities in terms of relation order
||Build the cumulative distribution function (cdf) at each spatial node.
As expected, the sum of the probabilities of all categories at each location
||Draw a random number p between 0 and 1 from that cdf. The simulated category
at that location is the one that corresponds to the probability interval
that includes p
||Add the simulated value to the conditioned dataset
||Proceed to the next location and repeat steps 3 to 6
Sequential simulation will be exemplified for non-continuum variables using
the input dataset detailed in Appendix. First, a new categorical variable with
four classes (Fig. 8a-d), named CI (u),
is computed using the Pb contamination data and Eq. 2:
|| first quartile = 36.2 ppm
||median = 43.6 ppm
||third quartile = 59.2 ppm
u stands for a particular spatial location
Several experimental variograms for the four phase variable were computed according to two main directions (geometric anisotropy): 0° (N/S direction) and 901 (E/W direction). Notice that this multiphase variogram equals:
that is, each variogram lag corresponds to a global average of four individual
covariances (Fig. 9a, b).
||(a-d) Histogram, cumulative distribution function, box-plot
and univariate statistics (top) spatial layout (bottom) of the categorical
||(a, b) Average variogram for the multiphase CI(u) variable
adjusted by a spherical model with the sill equal to 1.24, the major range
equal to 2000 m (E/W direction, bottom) and the minor one equal to 1200
m (N/S direction, top)
Regarding the simulated data of Fig. 10, it is curious to
confirm that the histogram of these 34126 values estimated by the Sequential
Indicator Simulation (SIS) is similar to the original distribution histogram
|| Example of an indicator realization map of CI(u) generated
||(a-c) Histogram, cumulative distribution function, box-plot
and univariate statistics of the simulated values
It is also important to highlight that all simulated data honors the experimental
In average, the simulated spatial images hold the same statistical features
of the original observations. In fact, the variograms of the simulated map hold
a similar shape (Fig. 12a, b). In this
case, a spherical model with a major range of 2000 m (E-W direction) and a minor
one of 1200 m (N-S direction) was fitted. The fluctuations between both models
are known as ergodic fluctuations (Goovaerts, 1997). In
fact, Gaussian and Indicator simulation algorithms only reproduce the original
observations variogram in the presence of an average simulated map that results
over many realizations. The ergodic fluctuations of the realizations' variograms
are generally important when the range of the variogram model is larger with
respect to the size of the simulated area (particularly if the relative nugget-effect
As already stated before, Indicator Kriging (IK) allows to estimate the conditional
cumulative distribution function (ccdf) for a particular spatial location. By
defining L cutoff values, it is then possible to infer about the uncertainty
probability of each class (ccdf difference of any adjacent cutoffs).
||(a, b) Comparison of the SSI multiphase experimental variogram
with the one fitted to the original data in Fig. 9.
|| Local entropy map generated by the 100 indicator simulation
Using these partial probabilities, the Shannon entropy procedure allows inferring
the local uncertainty of the interpolation at unknown sites. Given L sets of
IK probabilities at any u location Pi(u), with i = 1...L, the Shannon
entropy (a disorder measure closely connected to the spatial organization of
an attribute) equals BSUM(Pi(u)H LN(Pi(u))), where LN()
denotes the Neperian logarithm, Pi() is the IK estimation probability
for each class while BSUM() denotes the negative sum of all classes' probabilities
at that u location. As expected, red color signifies high lack of estimation
confidence while dark blue denotes low uncertainty (Fig. 13).
Unsurprisingly, uncertainty is smaller near the samples locations.
GEOGRAPHICALLY WEIGHTED REGRESSION (GWR)
Statistically, Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression is a technique that
allows to relate k-1 independent variables (X1YXk-1) to
a dependent one (Y) in the following form: Y = X0+X1β1+X2β2+Y+Xk-1βk-1+∈.
Denoting by n the number of sub-regions considered in the spatial problem, Y
is a (nH1) vector, X is a (nHk) matrix, β is a (kH1) regression coefficients
vector concerning each independent variable and X is a (nx1) residuals vector
(Fig. 14). The regression errors should follow a Gaussian
distribution with zero mean and constant variance σ2 (Druck
et al., 2004).
The major aim of regression analysis is to uncover which variables contribute
in a significant way for the linear relationship of the dependent variable.
Still, it is expected, among other factors, that regression errors are independent.
According to Anselin (1992, 1994),
this OLS model fails quite often due to the occurrence of spatial autocorrelation.
The global spatial lag model (SAR) for stationary processes overcomes this drawback.
It is defined by Y = ρWY+Xβ+ε where, W represents the neighborhood
matrix and ñ is the spatial autoregressive coefficient. Another possibility
is to use different spatial regimes (i.e., an individual regression for each
region) in SpaceStat8. Polynomial trends is another option to work
with the region overall tendency and non-stationary phenomenon. Another possibility
is the local continuous variation framework computed by the Geographically Weighted
Regression (GWR) system. The idea is to adjust a regression model by weighting
the neighborhood observations. In this way, the estimation computation will
reflect automatic adjustments according to the distance of the available samples.
GWR is a specific model which allows representing non-stationary local phenomena
by generating a separate regression equation for every feature analyzed as a
means to address spatial variation (Fotheringham et al.,
2002). Thus, GWR allows the modeling of processes that vary over space.
Since, it usually works with aggregation data, this inferential model considers
that spatial data may change abruptly (or not) at region boundaries only (Fig.
Another example of this method is presented by Legg and
Bowe (2009) regarding the analysis of the listed sales price for single
family houses in Marquette, Michigan and it is based on location and three other
variables: number of bedrooms and bathrooms, house square footage and lot size
(Fig. 16). According to these authors, the OLS model was
found to be significant and had a high R2 = 0.782. Yet, the GWR model
improved on this statistic and increased the models goodness of fit to
an R2 = 0.865. In addition, the range of the residual error decreased
by $160,000 when using the GWR model instead of the Ordinary Least Square (OLS)
model. The coefficients surface was also helpful for identifying the spatial
patterns apparent in the study area.
|| The Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression system in matrix
||The number of murders per ward in Rio de Janeiro between 1908
and 1992 (Druck et al., 2004). Values do not
vary within each ward because of the polygon spatial structure
||Listing price map of a typical house modeled using spatially
varying regression coefficients generated using GWR tools of ArcGIS©
(Legg and Bowe, 2009)
||W(ui) is an n by n matrix representing the geographical
weights around location ui. This weighting system is known as
For example, the lot coefficient indicates that located groups nearer the
urban core and farther from the rural townships increases its price. In contrast,
coefficients suggest that the larger the house, the less it contributes to the
For Lloyd (2007), one key decision emerges from this
inferential spatial approach: the choice of a weighting function (kernel shape
and kernel bandwidth). Given two independent variables, y1 and y2,
the local estimation of GWR parameters equals z (ui) = β0(ui)+β1(ui)Hy1+β2(ui)Hy2,
where z is the dependent variable while (ui) is the (x,y) location
at which the parameters are estimated. By solving the system, the parameters
can be estimated by β (ui) = (YTHW(ui)HY)-1HYTHW(ui)Hz,
where, W (u) is a weight square matrix closely related to the position of u
towards the available samples (Fig. 17), YTHW
(ui) HY represents the geographically weighted variance-covariance
matrix (the estimation requires its inverse) while z corresponds to the
vector of values of the dependent variable (original observations).
Typically, these weights follow the Gaussian weighting function: W(ui) = exp (B0.5(d/b)2) if di≤b, where d is the Euclidean distance between the location of the neighborhood observations and the location ui to be estimated, while b represents the bandwidth of the kernel. As the bandwidth gets larger, the weights approach one and the local GWR model approaches the global OLS model. As expected, if di>b, a zero value should be produced.
Overall, GWR extends the traditional regression framework by allowing local
rather than global parameters to be estimated. Regarding the choice of the weighting
system W(ui), the majority of software follows an adaptative kernel
decoded in Eq. 3 (Bocci et al.,
2007). A fixed kernel may be another option where b is a fixed vicinity
where, b is the distance between i and the Nth nearest neighbor (between 8 and 16 neighbors is a good start). Hence, this kernel function distance varies in space and presents an adaptive bandwidth depending on the data points' density: b is relatively small in areas where the data points are densely distributed and the bandwidth is relatively large where the data points are sparsely distributed.
Charlton and Fotheringham (2009) use the corrected
Akaike Information Criterion (Eq. 4) in the GWR as a measure
of goodness of fit. Two separate models being compared are held to be equivalent
if the difference between the two AICc values is less than 3. The AICc value
can also be used to determine the optimal value of the kernel bandwidth (the
lowest, the better).
where, n is the number of observations in the dataset;
is the estimate of the standard deviation of the residuals; and tr(S) is the
trace of the hat matrix.
As stated by Lloyd (2007), the goodness-of-fit of a GWR
model can also be assessed using the geographically weighted coefficient of
determination: Ri2 = (TSSw-RSSw)/TSSw
where TSSw denotes the geographically weighted total sum of squares:
and RSS represents the geographically weighted residual sum of squares:
Spatial autocorrelation and statistical heterogeneity hold the ability to compare two regions and to characterize texture differences. Quite often, distant pairs are less similar (competitive spatial processes) than closer ones (cooperative spatial processes). Probably, some landscapes can exhibit extremely irregular shapes. As a consequence, indices of spatial autocorrelation calculated globally and locally are valuable for descriptive purposes because they provide a measure of how similar objects are to their spatial neighbors. This spatial dependence impact is also crucial on spatial inference interpolation such as Kriging, spatial simulation and geographical regression.
The word Kriging is synonymous with the optimal prediction of unknown values
from observed data at known locations (Journel and Huijbregts,
1978; Aunon and Hernandez, 2000). After the variogram
has been defined, the algebraic relationship between values at different distances
is used to estimate Kriging weights. Mostly, four factors are taken into account
in assigning weights to the spatial observations: closeness to the location
being estimated, redundancy between data values (clustering), anisotropy (direction)
and magnitude of continuity.
Generally, the estimation of missing spatial data when undertaking GWR for
discrete data, Kriging and spatial autocorrelation lead to a close linkage among
them: the missing data issue (Griffith and Layne, 1999).
Spatial autocorrelation can also be used with spatial prediction. For instance,
a high degree of spatial autocorrelation suggests an equally likely chance of
predicting neighboring values. Also, a low value reveals a low level of spatial
Eight relationships emerge among these concepts (Griffith
and Layne, 1999):
||Spatial autocorrelation is the progenitor of Kriging and spatial regression
||Spatial autocorrelation itself seeks description and diagnosis while spatial
regression and Kriging seeks prediction
||The variance-covariance matrix is included within spatial regression and
||Once a variogram is fitted to the sample data, Kriging can be used to
estimate de variable at locations where data are not sampled
||With spatial regression models, the missing data can be regarded as an
interactive re-estimation solution fashioned with updated variable imputations
based on R2 in Maximum Likelihood (ML), OLS and bootstrap procedures
||Kriging is primarily concerned with more or less continuous attributes
while spatial regression involves aggregations of phenomena into discrete
regions such as areal units
||While autoregressive and trend surface methods assume that samples follow
an underlying trend plus the random residuals, in Universal Kriging the
trend component is modeled as a linear combination of functions of the spatial
coordinates and Ordinary Kriging accounts for local variations of the mean
||Since, Kriging honors data at sampled locations, spatial regression residuals
are not precisely similar to Kriging estimation errors
|| The Pb dataset (99 samples): Contamination data of Aljustrel,
Portugal, within a global area of 4500 mx2950 m
||Histogram, cumulative distribution functions, box-plot and
descriptive statistics of the Pb dataset. Clearly, it follows a positive
||Spatial distribution of the Pb contamination dataset. The
attribute has a more continuous spatial pattern from East to West, thus
it is anisotropic
||Experimental variograms according to four directions plus
the omnidirectional one with spherical models fitted
||Ordinary Kriging estimation (a) and Kriging variance (b) maps.
As an uncertainty measure, OK variance reflects the geometry of the observations
but not the variability among them