Find the Hot Spots in Your GIS Data

Find Hot Spots in Your Data

Does the thought of working with spatial statistics in GIS send shivers up your spine?  Rightfully so for some of the statistics tools.  But not for the Optimized Hot Spot Analysis tool.  It’s an easy to use tool that generates an output feature class complete with an already-symbolized layer.  The layer’s symbology is color coded based on statistically significant hot and cold spots in your data.

What is a Hot Spot?

A hot spot is a cluster of high values and a cold spot is a cluster of low values.  The ‘values’ in this case can be simply the XY location of the points or polygon centroids.  This would be the appropriate choice for, say, locations of crime.  The results would show hot spots of crime activity.  Alternatively, if your data contain an attribute field with concentration or intensity values, you can use that field as your analysis field.  The results would show hot and cold spots of concentrations.  An example would be lead concentrations in soil samples.  You are not interested in the locations of the soil samples but rather the lead concentration values.

How Do I Use It?

Esri has made it very easy to perform a hot spot analysis with the Optimized Hot Spot Analysis tool.  The tool looks at your data and presets most of the parameters for you – unlike the regular Hot Spot Analysis tool which requires you do the heavy prep work yourself.  I suggest using the Optimized Hot Spot Analysis tool if and until you are comfortable doing the heavy lifting yourself.  In the video below, I’ll show you how to use this tool and a few tips and tricks for working with the results.

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