Spatial Modeling

What Does Spatial Modeling Mean?

Spatial modeling is an analytical process conducted in conjunction with a geographical information system (GIS) in order to describe basic processes and properties for a given set of spatial features.


The objective of spatial modeling is to be able to study and simulate spatial objects or phenomena that occur in the real world and facilitate problem solving and planning.

Techopedia Explains Spatial Modeling

Spatial modeling is an essential process of spatial analysis. With the use of models or special rules and procedures for analyzing spatial data, it is used in conjunction with a GIS to properly analyze and visually lay out data for better understanding by human readers. Its visual nature helps researchers more quickly understand the data and reach conclusions that are difficult to formulate with simple numerical and textual data.

Manipulation of information occurs in multiple steps, each representing a stage in a complex analysis procedure. Spatial modeling is object-oriented with coverage and concerned with how the physical world works or looks. The resulting model represents either a set of objects or real-world process.

For example, spatial modeling can be used to analyze the projected path of tornadoes by layering a map with different spatial data, like roads, houses, the path of the tornado and even its intensity at different points. This allows researchers to determine a tornado’s real path of destruction. When juxtaposed with other models from tornadoes that have affected the area, this model can be used to show path correlations and geographical factors.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.