Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Regional Research Institute

Document Number



Regional Research Institute


The extension of the functional capacity of geographic information systems (GIS) with tools for exploratory spatial data analysis (ESDA) has been an increasingly active area of research in recent years. In this paper, two operational implementations that link spatial analysis software with a GIS are considered more closely. They consist of a linkage between the SpaceStat software for spatial data analysis and the ArcView GIS (based on socalled loose coupling), and the S+Grassland Link between S-PLUS/SpatialStats and Grassland GIS (based on so-called close coupling). The emphasis is on the implementation of methods of exploratory spatial data analysis to describe spatial distributions, visualize spatial patterns, and assess the presence of spatial association. Conceptual and technical issues related to the implementation of these approaches are addressed and some ideas are formulated on future directions for linking ESDA and GIS.