Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (1): 116-134.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201701010

• Principle and Application of Geodetector • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geodetector: Principle and prospective

Jinfeng WANG1,2(), Chengdong XU1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environment Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2016-10-15 Revised:2011-01-05 Online:2017-01-20 Published:2017-01-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41531179, No.41601419, No.41421001;Ministry of Science and Technology of China, No.2014FY121100, Special Scientific Research Fund of Public Welfare Profession of China, No.GYHY20140616;Science and Technology Innovation Project of LREIS, No.088RA200YA


Spatial stratified heterogeneity is the spatial expression of natural and socio-economic process, which is an important approach for human to recognize nature since Aristotle. Geodetector is a new statistical method to detect spatial stratified heterogeneity and reveal the driving factors behind it. This method with no linear hypothesis has elegant form and definite physical meaning. Here is the basic idea behind Geodetector: assuming that the study area is divided into several subareas. The study area is characterized by spatial stratified heterogeneity if the sum of the variance of subareas is less than the regional total variance; and if the spatial distribution of the two variables tends to be consistent, there is statistical correlation between them. Q-statistic in Geodetector has already been applied in many fields of natural and social sciences which can be used to measure spatial stratified heterogeneity, detect explanatory factors and analyze the interactive relationship between variables. In this paper, the authors will illustrate the principle of Geodetector and summarize the characteristics and applications in order to facilitate the using of Geodetector and help readers to recognize, mine and utilize spatial stratified heterogeneity.

Key words: spatial stratified heterogeneity, Geodetector, q-statistic, category variable