Spatial Analysis Tools

There are numerous software and analysis tools that can assist the use of geographically referenced data in population research. has a thorough, regularly updated list of them here, as well as a number of other resources specifically designed to assist in GIS analysis.

The list below contains links to some software and tools that are of special value in depicting and analyzing demographic patterns spatially.

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ArcGIS: An integrated collection of GIS software products that offers a platform for spatial analysis, data management, and mapping. The most widely used GIS software in the world, offers a broad set of tools and applications.

BioMedware: Provides softwares for the visualization, analysis, modeling and interactive exploration of spatiotemporal data, detection and analysis of event clusters and detection and analysis of geographic boundaries.

CrimeSTAT: A free spatial statistics program developed by the National Institute of Justice for the analysis of crime incident locations and other point data.

GeoDa: The GeoDa center offers a number of free and paid softwares for the purpose of conducting geospatial analysis, geovisualization, geosimulation, spatial econometrics, crime analysis, and more. Developed by GISPopSci collaborator Luc Anselin and colleagues.

GeoVista Studio Project: A free and open software development environment for geospatial data analysis, exploratory spatial data analysis and knowledge discovery.

GRASS: A free Geographic Information System (GIS) software used for geospatial data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization.

IDRISI: Provides software for analysis and display of spatial data.

MLwiN: A software package for the use of multilevel models.

QGIS: A free, open source GIS software.

R: A free, widely used, open source statistical software that is commonly applied used in spatial analysis.

Spatial Analysis for Macroecology: A free software, SAM is a compact but robust computer program designed as a package of statistical tools for spatial analysis, mainly for applications in Macroecology and Biogeography.

STARS: A free, open source exploratory data-analysis package designed for variables measured on geographical units over time.

Tobler’s Flow Mapper: A free software, Flow Mapper allows for depiction of flows on a map by arrows scaled to the levels of interaction among spatial units (e.g., migration flows).

WinBUGS / GeoBUGS: A set of free and open source software that allows for the estimation of models (including spatial models) by means of the Gibbs sampler/Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods.

A listing of GIS Software on Wikipedia.