Spatial Prediction and Laws of Geography

Authors: A-Xing Zhu*, Univ of Wisconsin
Topics: Geographic Theory, Geographic Thought
Keywords: Spatial prediction, Laws of Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Roosevelt 1, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Current methods of spatial prediction are based on either the First Law of Geography or the statistical principle or the combination of these two. The underlying stationarity assumption of these methods renders these methods to be limited for spatial prediction over large and complex geographic areas. This paper presents a new thinking about spatial prediction based on a different geographic principle (one may refer to it as the Third Law of Geography) which focuses on the similarity of geographic configuration of locations. Under this principle, spatial prediction can be made on the basis of the similarity of geographic configurations between a sample and a prediction point. This allows the representativeness of a single sample to be used in prediction, instead of the need of an explicit relationship from a sample set. A case study in predicting spatial variation of soil organic matter content was used to compare the spatial prediction based on the Third Law of Geography with those based on the First Law and the statistical principle. It is concluded that spatial prediction based on the Third Law of Geography does not require samples to be of specific size nor to be of a particular spatial distribution to achieve a high quality prediction. The prediction uncertainty associated with spatial prediction based on the Third Law of Geography is more indicative to quality of the prediction, thus more effective in allocating error reduction efforts. These properties make spatial prediction more suitable over large and complex geographic areas.

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