Understanding Spatial Data and Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis

This first module of the Spatial Regression Modeling workshop begins with a introduction to spatial data and then continues on to the topic of exploratory spatial data analysis ESDA). There are a number of readings that will help you prepare for and better understand this module, a lecture about understanding spatial data and exercises on ESDA.


  • Anselin, L. 2010. Thirty Years of Spatial Econometrics. Papers in Regional Science 89(1): 325. [A broad, sweeping overview of the development of the field over the past 3 decades by, unquestionably, the premier contributor to that development.]
  • Loftin, C., and S.K. Ward. 1983. A Spatial Autocorrelation Model of the Effects of Population Density on Fertility. American Sociological Review 48(1): 121128. [Together with the following reading, a classic motivational example.]
  • Galle, O.R., W.R. Gove, and J. Miller McPherson. 1972. Population Density and Pathology: What Are the Relations for Man? Science (new series) 176: 2330.
  • Anselin, L. 1989. What Is Special about Spatial Data? Alternative Perspectives on Spatial Data Analysis. Conference Proceedings, Spatial Statistics: Past, Present, and Future. Institute of Mathematical Geography, Syracuse University. [Now somewhat dated, but a nice overview of why spatial data require special attention.]
  • Anselin, L. 2005. Exploring Spatial Data with GeoDa: A Workbook. [Relevant chapters: 2, 3 and 712]
  • Venables, W.N., D.M. Smith, and the R Development Core Team. 2010. An Introduction to R. [Perhaps the most widely cited introduction to R; there are many!]
  • Anselin, L. 2005. Spatial Regression Analysis in R: A Workbook. [Relevant chapters: 1 and 2]
  • Voss, P.R., D.D. Long, R.B. Hammer, and S. Friedman. 2006. County Child Poverty Rates in the U.S.: A Spatial Regression Approach. Population Research and Policy Review 25: 369391. [An introduction to the examples used throughout the workshop.]


Understanding Spatial Data is a presentation from the Spatial Regression Modeling workshop. This presentation was given by Dr. Paul Voss on June 20, 2011.We have broken this lecture into two parts, which can be accessed by the page links below. Each lecture is presented through video recordings, audio recordings, lecture slides, and notes on the lectures.


These exercises were conducted by Drs. Paul Voss and Katherine Curtis on June 20, 2011. They are a guide to some laboratory work done on each student’s computer.

We have broken these exercises into four parts, which can be accessed by the page links below. Each is presented through video recordings, audio recordings, and notes.