arbia’s law of geography


  • • Tobler’s second law of geography, “the phenomenon external to a geographic area of interest affects what goes on inside,” is probably the most widely accepted.

  • • the uncertainty principle: “that the geographic world is infinitely complex and that any representation must therefore contain elements of uncertainty, that many definitions
    used in acquiring geographic data contain elements of vagueness, and that it is impossible to measure location on the Earth’s surface exactly.

  • [14][15] Dividing the land differently may produce different statistical results from the same underlying dataset, an example of which can be found in Simpson’s paradox.

  • [2][5][8] Arbia’s law builds on Tobler’s first law of geography which states, “Everything is related to everything else, but near things tend to be more related than distant.”

  • Other Proposed Second Laws of Geography Some have argued that geographic laws do not need to be numbered.

  • Arbia’s law of geography states, “Everything is related to everything else, but things observed at a coarse spatial resolution are more related than things observed at a finer

  • [2] The laws of geography need not be numbered, however.

  • Importantly, when working with spatially aggregate data (either in vector or raster) at a coarse resolution, it is impossible to make assumptions about what that data looks
    like at a finer resolution.

  • [1][2][6][7] Background Since Tobler first invoked the first law of geography in his 1970s paper, there have been many attempts at a second law, including Tobler’s second
    law of geography, and Arbia’s law is one such contender.

  • Thus, a coarse resolution has a soothing effect on the image, making land cover appear more homogenous than an image with a fine spatial resolution.


Works Cited

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