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Title: A geostatistical framework for area-to-point spatial interpolation
Authors: Kyriakidis, Phaedon 
Keywords: Population distribution;Census;Areal interpolation
Category: Civil Engineering
Field: Engineering and Technology
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2004
Source: Geographical Analysis, Volume 36, Issue 3, July 2004, Pages 259-289
Journal: Geographical Analysis 
Abstract: The spatial prediction of point values from areal data of the same attribute is addressed within the general geostatistical framework of change of support; the term support refers to the domain informed by each datum or unknown value. It is demonstrated that the proposed geostatistical framework can explicitly and consistently account for the support differences between the available areal data and the sought-after point predictions. In particular, it is proved that appropriate modeling of all area-to-area and area-to-point covariances required by the geostatistical framework yields coherent (mass-preserving or pycnophylactic) predictions. In other words, the areal average (or areal total) of point predictions within any arbitrary area informed by an areal-average (or areal-total) datum is equal to that particular datum. In addition, the proposed geostatistical framework offers the unique advantage of providing a measure of the reliability (standard error) of each point prediction. It is also demonstrated that several existing approaches for area-to-point interpolation can be viewed within this geostatistical framework. More precisely, it is shown that (i) the choropleth map case corresponds to the geostatistical solution under the assumption of spatial independence at the point support level; (ii) several forms of kernel smoothing can be regarded as alternative (albeit sometimas incoherent) implementations of the geostatistical approach; and (iii) Tobler's smooth pycnophylactic interpolation, on a quasi-infinite domain without non-negativity constraints, corresponds to the geostatistical solution when the semivariogram model adopted at the point support level is identified to the free-space Green's functions (linear in 1-D or logarithmic in 2-D) of Poisson's partial differential equation. In lieu of a formal case study, several 1-D examples are given to illustrate pertinent concepts.
ISSN: 00167363
DOI: 10.1353/geo.2004.0009
Type: Article
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