Geographical Analysis 40 (4):380-400 (2008)
This study proposes a new quadrat method that can be applied to the study of point distributions in a network space. While the conventional planar quadrat method remains one of the most fundamental spatial analytical methods on a two-dimensional plane, its quadrats are usually identified by regular, square grids. However, assuming that they are observed along a network, points in a single quadrat are not necessarily close to each other in terms of their network distance. Using planar quadrats in such cases may distort the representation of the distribution pattern of points on a network. The network-based units used in this article, on the other hand, consist of subsets of the actual network, providing more accurate aggregation of the data points along the network. The performance of the network-based quadrat method is compared with that of the conventional quadrat method through a case study on a point distribution on a network. The χ2 statistic and Moran's I statistic of the two quadrat types indicate that (1) the conventional planar quadrat method tends to overestimate the overall degree of dispersion and (2) the network-based quadrat method derives a more accurate estimate on the local similarity. The article also performs sensitivity analysis on network and planar quadrats across different scales and with different spatial arrangements, in which the abovementioned statistical tendencies are also confirmed.
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