flowAMOEBA: Identifying Regions of Anomalous Spatial Interactions

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This study aims at developing a data‐driven and bottom‐up spatial statistic method for identifying regions of anomalous spatial interactions (clusters of extremely high‐ or low‐value spatial flows), based on which it creates a spatial flow weights matrix. The method, dubbed flowAMOEBA, upgrades a multidirectional optimum ecotope‐based algorithm (AMOEBA) from areal data to spatial flow data through a proper spatial flow neighborhood definition. The method has the potential to dramatically change the way we study spatial interactions. First, it breaks the convention that spatial interaction data are always collected and modeled between spatial entities of the same granularity, as it delineates the OD region of anomalous spatial interactions, regardless of the size, shape, scale, or administrative level. Second, the method creates an empirical spatial flow weights matrix that can handle network autocorrelation embedded in spatial interaction modeling, thus improving related policy‐making or problem‐solving strategies. flowAMOEBA is tested and demonstrated on a synthetic data set as well as a county‐to‐county migration data set.

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Grographical Analysis, v. 51, issue 1, p. 111-130