Contextualizing local-scale point sample data using global-scale spatial datasets

February 24th, 2016
Lessons learnt from the analysis of large-scale land acquisitions

This paper examines how the geospatial accuracy of samples and sample size influence conclusions from geospatial analyses. It does so using the example of a study investigating the global phenomenon of large-scale land acquisitions and the socio-ecological characteristics of the areas they target.

Authors: Sandra Eckert, Markus Giger, Peter Messerli


  • Contribution of spatially explicit evidence for policy requires accurate, detailed spatial data. 
  • Avoid using national-scale statistics to characterize phenomena having local-scale impact.
  • The more geographic contexts vary within a country the more detailed the spatial scale is required.
  •  Focus on improving the geospatial accuracy of data rather than obtaining a larger sample.
  • Uncertainty is introduced by inadequate definition of the shape/size of analysed geographic contexts.

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