Effect of spatial data resolution on uncertainty

Mark Pogson*, Pete Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The effect that the resolution of spatial data has on uncertainty is important to many areas of research. In order to understand this better, the effect of changing resolution is considered for a range of data. An estimate is presented for how the average uncertainty of each grid value varies with grid size, which is shown to be in good agreement with observed uncertainties. The effect of bilinear interpolation is also investigated and is observed to provide no reduction in uncertainty relative to uninterpolated data. Finally, the effects of combining aggregated spatial data are found to obey standard properties of error propagation, which means that the presented estimate of uncertainty can be used to estimate resolution-related uncertainty in spatial model results, relative to the input data. The study quantitatively demonstrates the important role of the spatial autocorrelation of data in uncertainties associated with the resolution of spatial data. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-96
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Early online date15 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • uncertainty
  • raster grid size
  • aggregation
  • resolution
  • interpolation
  • spatial autocorrelation
  • soil organic-matter
  • regression-analysis
  • models
  • scale


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