Map Resolution and Spatial Autocorrelation



Moran's I, a measure of spatial autocorrelation, is affected by map resolution and map scale. This study uses a geographic information system (GIS) to examine the resolution effects. Empirical distribution of wildland fires in Idyllwild, California, and hypothetical distributions of ordered patterns are analyzed. The results indicate that Moran's I increases systematically with the resolution level. The resolution effects can be summarized by a log-linear function relating the I coefficients to resolution levels. Empirical tests that compare the distribution of fire activity in a vegetation map and in a topographic map confirm the resolution effects observed.