Spatial Analysis in GIS

Caitlin Dempsey


Geographic information systems uses spatial analysis in order to understand geographic questions. Related: Basic uses of GIS

Area Cartograms

Area cartogram maps are maps of non-absolute space where the areal extent is in proportion to some measured value.  More: Area Cartograms Explored.


Buffering in GIS creates a polygon layer that extends out or in from a set distance from a point, line, or polygon.  More: Buffers in GISBuffering Tool for ArcGIS.

Clip Analysis

Clip analysis is the function of using the extent of one geographic layer to clip the extent of another geographic layer.  More: Clip Analysis using ArcGIS Desktop.

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Distance Decay

Distance decay is a phenomenon observed between locations or ethnic groups- the further apart they are, the less likely it is that they will interact very much. More: Distance Decay.


Geocoding is a way of georeferencing data by using a GIS data layer that has locational information.  More: Geocoding.

Heat Maps

Heat mapping, from a  geographic perspective, is a method of showing the geographic clustering of a phenomenon. More: Heat maps in GIS.

Line of Sight and Visibility Analysis

Light of sight measures the unimpeded view or access from one point to another point across a terrain or surface.  Visibility analysis is the end result, a line color coded to show which segments are visible and which segments have an obstructed view.  More: Light of Sight.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.