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Exploratory analysis of the interrelations between co-located boolean spatial features using network graphs

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Visual data mining of spatial data is a challenging task. As exploratory analysis is fundamental, it is beneficial to explore the data using different potential visualisations. In this article, we propose and analyse network graphs as a useful visualisation tool to mine spatial data. Due to their ability to represent complex systems of relationships in a visually insightful and intuitive way, network graphs offer a rich structure that has been recognised in many fields as a powerful visual representation. However, they have not been sufficiently exploited in spatial data mining, where they have principally been used on data that come with an explicit pre-specified network graph structure. This research presents a methodology with which to infer relationship network graphs for large collections of boolean spatial features. The methodology consists of four principal stages: (1) define a co-location model, (2) select the type of co-association of interest, (3) compute statistical diagnostics for these co-associations and (4) construct and visualise a network graph of the statistic from step (3). We illustrate the potential usefulness of the methodology using an example taken from an ecological setting. Specifically, we use network graphs to understand and analyse the potential interactions between potential vector and reservoir species that enable the propagation of leishmaniasis, a disease transmitted by the bite of sandflies.
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Keywords: boolean spatial features; exploratory analysis; geovisual analytics; modifiable areal unit problem; network visualisation; spatial data mining; visual exploration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad (C3), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Mexico City, Mexico

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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