GIS Mapping, Spatial Statistics Quickly Move from Class to Workplace

Posted: January 22, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

“Kriging” and “hot spot analysis” are unfamiliar terms to many; however, students who take Spatial Data Analysis with GIS, a section of PUBP 710, know that they are commonly used methods of collecting, interpreting and using data in spatial statistics and geographic information systems (GIS).

GIS integrates, stores, edits, analyzes, shares and displays geographically referenced information. Spatial statistics is a quantitative technique also used to analyze data containing geographic information. Some examples of spatial statistics are the amount of rainfall at various locations over a certain period of time, disease mortality rates, income levels in all U.S. cities, crime rate in a certain geographic area and political party affiliation in specific regions.

Naoru Koizumi, the assistant professor in the School of Public Policy who developed and teaches the class, focuses on the applicability in developing new policies using the geographical data collected for GIS and spatial statistics.

Students get hands-on examples of spatial data visualization using Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) software; ArcView, a desktop GIS for mapping, data integration and analysis; and the knowledge of the most commonly used spatial statistic methods, such as the aforementioned kriging and hot spot analysis.

“Spatial Statistics can be used to identify the most effective methods to prevent an infectious disease from spreading, or to select optimal locations for police stations given the crime distribution across a county, or political scientist may be interested in figuring out whether Republicans or Democrats are geographically concentrated and why,” explains Koizumi.

Many professions can benefit from incorporating spatial statistics into their work because spatial statistics can be used to analyze topics in a variety of sectors.

“More and more students who work full time outside of school seem to be interested in learning the GIS mapping technique and spatial statistics for future use at their workplace,” says Koizumi.

The course is generally offered in the fall.

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