The effect of pre-aggregation scale on spatially adaptive filters

David Haynes, Kelly D. Hughes, Austin Rau, Anne M. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Choropleth mapping continues to be a dominant mapping technique despite suffering from the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP), which may distort disease risk patterns when different administrative units are used. Spatially adaptive filters (SAF) are one mapping technique that can address the MAUP, but the limitations and accuracy of spatially adaptive filters are not well tested. Our work examines these limitations by using varying levels of data aggregation using a case study of geocoded breast cancer screening data and a synthetic georeferenced population dataset that allows us to calculate SAFs at the individual-level. Data were grouped into four administrative boundaries (i.e., county, Zip Code Tabulated Areas, census tracts, and census blocks) and compared to individual-level data (control). Correlation assessed the similarity of SAFs, and map algebra calculated error maps compared to control. This work describes how pre-aggregation affects the level of spatial detail, map patterns, and over and under-prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100476
JournalSpatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Aggregation
  • Breast cancer
  • Health programs
  • Modifiable areal unit problem
  • Spatial smoothing techniques


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