Spatial sampling and prediction

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: This thesis discusses two aspects of spatial statistics: sampling and prediction. In spatial statistics, we observe some phenomena in space. Space is typically of two or three dimensions, but can be of higher dimension. Questions in mind could be; What is the total amount of gold in a gold-mine? How much precipitation could we expect in a specific unobserved location? What is the total tree volume in a forest area? In spatial sampling the aim is to estimate global quantities, such as population totals, based on samples of locations (papers III and IV). In spatial prediction the aim is to estimate local quantities, such as the value at a single unobserved location, with a measure of uncertainty (papers I, II and V).In papers III and IV, we propose sampling designs for selecting representative probability samples in presence of auxiliary variables. If the phenomena under study have clear trends in the auxiliary space, estimation of population quantities can be improved by using representative samples. Such samples also enable estimation of population quantities in subspaces and are especially needed for multi-purpose surveys, when several target variables are of interest.In papers I and II, the objective is to construct valid prediction intervals for the value at a new location, given observed data. Prediction intervals typically rely on the kriging predictor having a Gaussian distribution. In paper I, we show that the distribution of the kriging predictor can be far from Gaussian, even asymptotically. This motivated us to propose a semiparametric method that does not require distributional assumptions. Prediction intervals are constructed from the plug-in ordinary kriging predictor. In paper V, we consider prediction in the presence of left-censoring, where observations falling below a minimum detection limit are not fully recorded. We review existing methods and propose a semi-naive method. The semi-naive method is compared to one model-based method and two naive methods, all based on variants of the kriging predictor.