, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 1-14

Multivariate analysis of spatial patterns: a unified approach to local and global structures

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We propose a new approach to the multivariate analysis of data sets with known sampling site spatial positions. A between-sites neighbouring relationship must be derived from site positions and this relationship is introduced into the multivariate analyses through neighbouring weights (number of neighbours at each site) and through the matrix of the neighbouring graph. Eigenvector analysis methods (e.g. principal component analysis, correspondence analysis) can then be used to detect total, local and global structures. The introduction of the D-centring (centring with respect to the neighbouring weights) allows us to write a total variance decomposition into local and global components, and to propose a unified view of several methods. After a brief review of the matrix approach to this problem, we present the results obtained on both simulated and real data sets, showing how spatial structure can be detected and analysed. Freely available computer programs to perform computations and graphical displays are proposed.