Mathematical Geosciences

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 535–554 | Cite as

Combining Areal and Point Data in Geostatistical Interpolation: Applications to Soil Science and Medical Geography

  • Pierre Goovaerts
Special Issue


A common issue in spatial interpolation is the combination of data measured over different spatial supports. For example, information available for mapping disease risk typically includes point data (e.g. patients’ and controls’ residence) and aggregated data (e.g. socio-demographic and economic attributes recorded at the census track level). Similarly, soil measurements at discrete locations in the field are often supplemented with choropleth maps (e.g. soil or geological maps) that model the spatial distribution of soil attributes as the juxtaposition of polygons (areas) with constant values. This paper presents a general formulation of kriging that allows the combination of both point and areal data through the use of area-to-area, area-to-point, and point-to-point covariances in the kriging system. The procedure is illustrated using two data sets: (1) geological map and heavy metal concentrations recorded in the topsoil of the Swiss Jura, and (2) incidence rates of late-stage breast cancer diagnosis per census tract and location of patient residences for three counties in Michigan. In the second case, the kriging system includes an error variance term derived according to the binomial distribution to account for varying degree of reliability of incidence rates depending on the total number of cases recorded in those tracts. Except under the binomial kriging framework, area-and-point (AAP) kriging ensures the coherence of the prediction so that the average of interpolated values within each mapping unit is equal to the original areal datum. The relationships between binomial kriging, Poisson kriging, and indicator kriging are discussed under different scenarios for the population size and spatial support. Sensitivity analysis demonstrates the smaller smoothing and greater prediction accuracy of the new procedure over ordinary and traditional residual kriging based on the assumption that the local mean is constant within each mapping unit.


Soil map Cancer Disaggregation Change of support Indicator Binomial 


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedware, Inc.Ann ArborUSA

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