A generalized heterogeneity model for spatial interpolation

Peng Luo, Yongze Song, Di Zhu, Junyi Cheng, Liqiu Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Spatial heterogeneity refers to uneven distributions of geographical variables. Spatial interpolation methods that utilize spatial heterogeneity are sensitive to the way in which spatial heterogeneity is characterized. This study developed a Generalized Heterogeneity Model (GHM) for characterizing local and stratified heterogeneity within variables and to improve interpolation accuracy. GHM first divides a study area into multiple spatial strata according to the sample values and locations of a variable. Then, GHM estimates simultaneously the spatial variations of the variable within and between the spatial strata. Finally, GHM interpolates unbiased estimates and uncertainty at unsampled locations. We demonstrated the GHM by predicting the spatial distributions of marine chlorophyll in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Results show that GHM improved both the overall interpolation accuracy across the study area and along strata boundaries compared with previous interpolation models. GHM also avoided bull’s eye patterns and abrupt changes along strata boundaries. In future studies, GHM has the potential to be integrated with machine learning and advanced algorithms to improve spatial prediction accuracy for studies in broader fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-659
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions and comments for improving this manuscript. We also thank Dr. Maogui Hu for his insightful suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Spatial interpolation
  • area-to-area kriging
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • spatial statistics
  • stratified heterogeneity


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