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Analysis in GIS. Analysis Components. analyses may be applied to (use as input): tabular attribute data spatial data/layers combination of spatial and tabular results may be displayed as (produce as output):

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analysis components
Analysis Components
  • analyses may be applied to (use as input):
    • tabular attribute data
    • spatial data/layers
    • combination of spatial and tabular
  • results may be displayed as (produce as output):
    • table subsets, table combinations, highlighted records (rows), new variables (columns)
    • charts
    • maps/map features:
      • highlights on existing themes
      • new themes/layers
    • combination
availability of analytical capabilities analysis options
Availability of Analytical Capabilities:Analysis Options
  • Basic: Desktop GIS packages
    • ArcGIS ArcView
    • Mapinfo
    • Geomedia (Bentley); Geographics (Intergraph)
  • Advanced: Professional GIS systems
    • ArcGIS ArcINFO, Intergraph MGE
    • provide data editing plus more advanced analysis
  • Specialized: modelling and simulation
    • via scripting/programming within GIS
      • ArcObjects in ArcGIS
    • via specialized packages and/or GISs
      • 3-D Scientific Visualization packages
      • transportation planning packages
      • ER Mapper, PCI for raster

Capabilities move

‘up the chain’

over time.

advanced and specialized applications in comparison to basic applications
Advanced and Specialized Applications:in comparison to basic applications

Most ‘basic’ analyses are used to create descriptive models of the world, that is, representations of reality as it exists.

Most ‘advanced’ analysesinvolve creating a new conceptual output layer, or in some cases table(s) or chart(s), the values of which are some transformation of the values in the descriptiveinput layer.

e.g. slope or aspect layer

Most ‘specialized’ applications involve using GIS capabilities to create a predictive model of a real world process, that is, a model capable of reproducing processes and/or making predictions or projections as to how the world might appear.e.g. fire spread model, traffic projections

analysis options basic
Spatial Operations

centroid determination

spatial measurement

buffer analysis

neighborhood analysis/spatial filtering


polygon overlay

spatial aggregation




Attribute Operations

record selection

tabular via SQL

‘information clicking’ with cursor

variable recoding

record aggregation

general statistical analysis

Analysis Options: Basic
analysis options advanced specialized

surface analysis

cross section creation


proximity analysis

nearest neighbor layer

distance matrix layer

network analysis


shortest path (2 points)

traveling salesman (n points)

time districting


Thiessen Polygon creation


Remote Sensing image processing and classification

raster modelling

3-D surface modelling

spatial statistics/statistical modelling

functionally specialized

transportation modelling

land use modelling

hydrological modelling


Analysis Options: Advanced & Specialized
spatial operations centroid or mean center
centroid outside


Spatial operations:Centroid or Mean Center
  • balancing point for a spatial distribution
    • point representation for a polygon--analogous to the mean
    • single point summary for a distribution (point or polygon)
  • useful for
    • summarizing change over time in a distribution (e.g Canadian pop. centroid every 10 years)
    • placing labels for polygons
  • for weird-shaped polygons, centroid may not lie within polygon
spatial operations spatial measurement
Spatial measurements:

distance measures

between points

from point or raster to polygon or zone boundary

between polygon centroids

polygon area

polygon perimeter

polygon shape

volume calculation

e.g. for earth moving, resevoirs

direction determination

e.g. for smoke plumes


possible distance metrics:

straight line/airline

city block/manhattan metric

distance thru network

time/friction thru network

shape often measured by:

may generate output raster:

value of spatial measurement assigned to each pixel within a polygon or zone

Projection affects values!!!


= 1.0 for circle

= 1.13 for square

area x 3.54

= large number for irregular polygon

Spatial operations: Spatial Measurement
spatial operations spatial measurement example
Spatial operations: Spatial Measurement--example

Attributes of ..... file in ArcView provides area and perimeter

measurements automatically.

spatial operations buffer zones
Buffer zones

region within ‘x’ distance units

buffer any object: point, line or polygon

use multiple buffers at progressively greater distances to show gradation

may define a ‘friction’ or ‘cost’ layer so that spread is not linear with distance


200 foot buffer around property where zoning change requested

100 ft buffer from stream center line limiting development

3 mile zone beyond city boundary showing ETJ (extra territorial jurisdiction)

use to define (or exclude) areas as options (e.g for retail site) or for further analysis

in conjunction with ‘friction layer’, simulate spread of fire

Spatial Operations:buffer zones

polygon buffer





spatial operations neighborhood analysis spatial filtering
spatial convolution or filter

value of each cell replaced by some function of the values of itself and the cells (or polygons) surrounding it

can use ‘neighborhood’ or ‘window’ of any size

3x3 cells (8-connected)

5x5, 7x7, etc.

differentially weight the cells to produce different effects

kernel for 3x3 mean filter:

1/9 1/9 1/9

1/9 1/9 1/9

1/9 1/9 1/9

low frequency ( low pass) filter:

mean filter

cell replaced by the mean for neighborhood

equivalent to weighting (mutiplying) each cell by 1/9 = .11 (in 3x3 case)

smoothsthe data

use larger window for greater smoothing

median filter

use median (middle value) instead of mean

smoothing, especially if data has extreme value outliers

Spatial Operations:neighborhood analysis/spatial filtering

weights must

sum to 1.0

spatial operations polygon overlay
combines two (or more) layers to create a third

used to integrate attribute data having different spatial properties (point v. polygon) or boundaries (zip and tract)

can overlay polygons on:

points (point in polygon)

lines (line on polygon)

other polygons

many different Boolean logic combinations possible

Union (A or B)

Intersection (A and B)

A and not B ; not (A and B)


assign environmental samples (points) to census tracts to estimate exposure per capita (polygon on point)

identify tracts traversed by freeway for study of neighborhood blight (polygon on lines)

integrate census data by block with sales data by zip code (polygon on polygon)

Spatial Operations:Polygon Overlay
spatial matching via polygon overlay example










Spatial Matching via Polygon Overlay:example

Land Use

The two themes (land use & drainage basins) do not have common boundaries. GIS creates combined layer permitting calculation of land use by drainage basin.




Combined layer



  • is within , e.g. find all of the customer points within 1 km of this retail store point
  • is nearest to , e.g. find the hazardous waste site which is nearest to this groundwater well
  • Point-line
  • ends at , e.g. find the intersection at the end of this street
  • is nearest to , e.g. find the road nearest to this aircraft crash site
  • Point-area
  • is contained in , e.g. find all of the customers located in this ZIP code boundary
  • can be seen from , e.g. determine if any of this lake can be seen from this viewpoint
  • Line-line
  • crosses , e.g. determine if this road crosses this river
  • comes within , e.g. find all of the roads which come within 1 km of this railroad
  • flows into , e.g. find out if this stream flows into this river
  • Line-area
  • crosses , e.g. find all of the soil types crossed by this railroad
  • borders , e.g. find out if this road forms part of the boundary of this airfield
  • Area-area
  • overlaps , e.g. identify all overlaps between types of soil on this map and types of land use on this other map
  • is nearest to , e.g. find the nearest lake to this forest fire
  • is adjacent to , e.g. find out if these two areas share a common boundary
spatial operations geocoding
Spatial Operations:Geocoding
  • assigning spatial coordinates (explict location) to addresses (implicit location)
  • usually assigns x,y coordinates; could be lat/long
  • requires street network file with street attribute information (street name and number range for each block) for all street segments (blocks)
  • precise matching of street names can be problemmatic
    • completeness (esp. for ‘new’ streets) important
    • PO boxes, building names, and apartment complex names cause problems.
Districting: elementary school attendance zones grouped to form

junior high zones.

Regionalization: census tracts grouped into neighborhoods

Classification: cities categorized as central city or suburbs

soils classified as igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic

spatial operations spatial aggregation dissolving
Groupings may be:

formal (based on in situ characteristics)e.g. city neighborhoods

functional (based on flows or links): e.g. commuting zones


grouping contiguous polygons into districts

original polygons preserved


grouping polygons into contiguous regions

original polygon boundaries dissolved


grouping polygons into non-contiguous regions

original boundaries usually dissolved

usually ‘formal’ groupings


elementary school zones to high school attendance zones (functional districting)

election precincts (or city blocks) into legislative districts (formal districting)

creating police precincts (funct. reg.)

creating city neighborhood map (form. reg.)

grouping census tracts into market segments--yuppies, nerds, etc (class.)

creating soils or zoning map (class)

Spatial Operations:spatial aggregation (dissolving)
advanced applications network analysis

shortest path between two points

direction instructions (locating hotel from airport)

travelling salesman: shortest path connecting n points

bus routing, delivery drivers


expand from site along network until criteria (time, distance, cost, object count) is reached; then assign area to district

creating market areas, attendance zones, etc


assign locations to the nearest center

assign customers to pizza delivery outlets

draw boundaries (lines of equidistance) based on the above

market area creation

example of application of Thiessen polygons

Advanced Applications:Network Analysis

In all cases, ‘distance’ may be

measured in miles, time, cost or

other ‘friction’ (e.g pipe diameter

for water, sewage, etc.).

Arc or node attributes (e.g one-way

streets, no left turn) may also be