The effect on attribute prediction of location uncertainty in spatial data
A datum is considered spatial if it contains location information. Typically, there is also attribute information, whose distribution depends on its location. Thus, error in location information can lead to error in attribute information, which is reflected ultimately in the inference drawn from the data. We propose a statistical model for incorporating location error into spatial data analysis. We investigate the effect of location error on the spatial lag, the covariance function, and optimal spatial linear prediction (that is, kriging). We show that the form of kriging after adjusting for location error is the same as that of kriging without adjusting for location error. However, location error changes entries in the matrix of explanatory variables, the matrix of covariances between the sample sites, and the vector of covariances between the sample sites and the prediction location. We investigate, through simulation, the effect that varying trend, measurement error, location error, range of spatial dependence, sample size, and prediction location have on kriging after and without adjusting for location error. When the location error is large, kriging after adjusting for location error performs markedly better than kriging without adjusting for location error, in terms of both the prediction bias and the mean squared prediction error.