The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP)

  • David W. S. Wong


Even though Gehlke and Biehl (1934) discovered certain aspects of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP), the term MAUP was not coined formally until Openshaw and Taylor (1979) evaluated systematically the variability of correlation values when different boundaries systems were used in the analysis. The problem is called “the modifiable areal unit” because the boundaries of many geographical units are often demarcated artificially, and thus can be changed. For example, administrative boundaries, political districts, and census enumeration units are all subject to be redrawn. When data are gathered according to different boundary definitions, different data sets are generated. Analyzing these data sets will likely provide inconsistent results. This is the essence of the MAUP.


Census Tract Block Group Areal Unit Modifiable Areal Unit Problem Zonal System 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. S. Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.George Mason UniversityUSA

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