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Spatial analysis in ArcGIS Pro

Spatial analysis allows you to solve complex location-oriented problems and better understand where and what is occurring in your world. It goes beyond mere mapping to let you study the characteristics of places and the relationships between them. Spatial analysis lends new perspectives to your decision making.

Have you ever looked at a map of crime in your city and tried to figure out what areas have high crime rates? Have you explored other types of information, such as school locations, parks, and demographics to try to determine the best location to buy a new home? Whenever we look at a map, we inherently start turning that map into information by analyzing its contents—finding patterns, assessing trends, or making decisions. This process is called spatial analysis, and it’s what our eyes and minds do naturally whenever we look at a map.

Spatial analysis is one of the most intriguing and remarkable aspect of GIS. Using spatial analysis, you can combine information from many sources and derive new sets of information by applying a sophisticated set of spatial operators. This comprehensive collection of spatial analysis tools extends your ability to answer complex spatial questions. Statistical analysis can determine if the patterns that you see are significant. You can analyze various layers to calculate the suitability of a place for a particular activity. And by employing image analysis, you can detect change over time. These tools enable you to address critically important questions and decisions that are beyond the scope of simple visual analysis.

Hot spot analysis map of San Francisco crimes
Hot Spot Analysis of San Francisco crimes

With spatial analysis, you can do the following:

  • Determine relationships
  • Understand and describe locations and events
  • Detect and quantify patterns
  • Make predictions
  • Find best locations and paths

You can use the comprehensive analysis and geoprocessing capabilities in ArcGIS Pro to answer many important spatial questions and perform virtually any type of spatial analysis. To perform spatial analysis, first frame your question, then prepare and analyze your data, and finally visualize and communicate your results. Spatial analysis in ArcGIS Pro is extended from 2D to 3D and also through time.

Work with geoprocessing tools

Using geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS Pro, you can perform the following types of operations on geographic data:

  • Extract and overlay data
  • Add and calculate attribute fields
  • Summarize and aggregate data
  • Calculate statistics
  • Model relationships and discover patterns

Learn more about geoprocessing in ArcGIS Pro

Automate your work

If ArcGIS Pro does not include a tool that can answer your specific question, you can build your own custom tool. Using geoprocessing tools and other functions as building blocks, you can create simple or complex workflows as models or scripts. Models and scripts help you automate multistep processes as well as document processing steps so the workflow can be better understood, examined, and refined.

ModelBuilder model that chains multiple geoprocessing tools
A ModelBuilder model that strings together multiple geoprocessing tools using the output of one tool as the input to another tool is shown.

Visualize your data in charts

Visualizing data through charts helps to uncover patterns, trends, relationships, and structure in data that may otherwise be difficult to see as raw numbers in a table. Use charts together with maps to explore your data and help tell a story.

Scatter plot shows the relationship between two variables
A scatter plot shows the relationship between two variables.

Learn more about charts

Use analysis extensions

ArcGIS Pro provides the following analysis extensions to help you answer even more specialized spatial questions:

  • 3D Analyst—Analyze and create 3D GIS data and perform 3D surface operations against rasters, TINs, terrains, and LAS datasets (lidar).
  • Business Analyst—Analyze market trends, including customer and competitor analysis, site evaluation, and territory planning.
  • Geostatistical Analyst—Analyze and predict the values associated with spatial or spatiotemporal phenomena.
  • Image Analyst—Interpret and exploit imagery, perform feature extraction and measurement, and classification and object detection using machine learning.
  • Network Analyst—Measure distances and travel times along a network to find a route between multiple locations, create drive-time buffers or service areas, and find the best locations for facilities to serve a set of locations.
  • Spatial Analyst—Perform interpolation, overlay, distance measurement, density, hydrology modeling, site suitability, and math and statistics on cell-based raster data.

Share your analysis

Spatial analysis is for everyone! You can share the analysis methodology as well as the data you have analyzed in ArcGIS Pro with your colleagues, organization, or community as geoprocessing packages or web tools. With these shared analysis tools, anyone can leverage your expertise in spatial analysis while performing the analysis themselves.

Learn more about sharing analysis

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