An overview of the Analyzing Patterns toolset


Identifying geographic patterns is important for understanding how geographic phenomena behave.

Although you can get a sense of the overall pattern of features and their associated values by mapping them, calculating a statistic quantifies the pattern. That makes it easier to compare patterns for different distributions or for different time periods. The tools in the Analyzing Patterns toolset are inferential statistics; they start with the null hypothesis that your features, or the values associated with your features, exhibit a spatially random pattern. They then compute a p-value representing the probability that the null hypothesis is correct (that the observed pattern is simply one of many possible versions of complete spatial randomness). Calculating a probability may be important if you need to have a high level of confidence in a particular decision. If there are public safety or legal implications associated with your decision, for example, you may need to justify your decision using statistical evidence.

The Analyzing Patterns tools provide statistics that quantify broad spatial patterns. These tools answer questions such as "Are the features in the data set, or the values associated with the features in the dataset, spatially clustered?". The following table lists the tools available and provides a brief description of each.

NOTE: Tool availability is determined by ArcGIS license. Licensing requirements for each tool are listed below.


Tool Description
Average Nearest Neighbor Distance Calculates the average distance from every feature to its nearest neighbor based on feature centroids. Available with any ArcGIS license.
High/Low Clustering Measures concentrations of high or low values for a study area. Available with any ArcGIS license.
Spatial Autocorrelation Measures spatial autocorrelation based on feature locations and attribute values. Available with any ArcGIS license.
Multi-Distance Spatial Cluster Analysis (Ripley's k-function) Measures spatial clustering for a range of distances producing a spatial "fingerprint" of your features. Available with any ArcGIS license.

See Also