Spatial distribution

A spatial distribution is the arrangement of a phenomenon across the Earth's surface and a graphical display of such an arrangement is an important tool in geographical and environmental statistics. A graphical display of a spatial distribution may summarize raw data directly or may reflect the outcome of more sophisticated data analysis. Many different aspects of a phenomenon can be shown in a single graphical display by using a suitable choice of different colours to represent differences.

One example of such a display could be observations made to describe the geographic patterns of features, both physical and human across the earth.

The information included could be where units of something are, how many units of the thing there are per units of area, and how sparsely or densely packed they are from each other.


  • Many police departments color-code a city map based on crime statistics.
  • The two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method has been used to prepare maps showing the relative accessibility of individuals (demand units) to physicians (supply units), by shading which shows many different degrees of accessibility.


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