Getting to know Geostatistical Analyst

09-12-2017 02:48 PM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Spatial interpolation is one of the most common workflows in GIS, and the Geostatistical Analyst extension is built specifically to solve this problem. However, there is often confusion about how exactly interpolation should be done.  Which interpolation method should I use?  Which parameters should I use?  How do I know if the interpolated surface can be trusted?  These questions frequently seem daunting to people when they first approach spatial interpolation, and the purpose of this blog is to help you get started towards your goal of accurate spatial interpolation.

Don’t have Geostatistical Analyst?  Try Geostatistical Analyst for free.

As a starting point, we suggest the Geostatistical Analyst tutorial:

  1. Download the ArcGIS Tutorial Data for Desktop through  You must have an up-to-date license for ArcGIS for Desktop to download the tutorial data.
  2. There are five tutorials that you should complete.  It will take a few hours to finish all of them:
    1. Introduction to the ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst Tutorial
    2. Exercise 1: Creating a surface using default parameters
    3. Exercise 2: Exploring your data
    4. Exercise 3: Mapping ozone concentration
    5. Exercise 4: Comparing models
    6. Exercise 5: Mapping the probability of ozone exceeding a critical threshold

Once you have seen the videos and done the tutorial exercises, you should be ready to start using Geostatistical Analyst on your own data.  If you need additional education material, the following Web Courses are available:

If you have reviewed the training material above but still have questions, feel free to post your questions to GeoNet at the Geostatistical Analyst Place.

Good luck and happy kriging!


Geostatistical Analyst also has extensive documentation that is available for free online.  Here are a few select topics about some of the most important features in the extension:


UPDATE (September 2017) - Free textbook and data

I am happy to announce that we have made Spatial Statistical Data Analysis for GIS Users available as a free download. 


This textbook, written by Konstantin Krivoruchko, was previously available through Esri Press:  "This book presents a practical introduction and guide to spatial statistics for researchers, statisticians, academics, and college students who want to expand their knowledge and skills in geographic information system (GIS) technology to new areas of analysis. More than 1,000 full-color illustrations are included, along with lessons and sample data to help organize courses and lectures."


Download link for the PDF book:

Download link for datasets used in the book:


UPDATE (May 2018, February 2019) - LearnGIS exercises using Geostatistical Analyst

Several LearnGIS exercises have been created that make heavy use of Geostatistical Analyst.  LearnGIS lessons are free online exercises that teach different concepts related to geographic analysis in real-world workflows.  They are a great way to see geostatistical workflows from beginning to end.


UPDATE (July 2019) - "Evaluation of empirical Bayesian kriging" has been peer-reviewed and published in the August issue of the Journal of Spatial Statistics.  This paper presents the theory and principles behind EBK as well as results from controlled simulations.  The results show EBK is accurate and valid for a wide variety of data and generally performs very well compared to other modern interpolation methods.


UPDATE (June 2020) - "Empirical Bayesian kriging implementation and usage" has been published in the June 2020 edition of "Science of The Total Environment."  This peer-reviewed paper contains the details of the mathematical underpinnings of Empirical Bayesian kriging. 

About the Author
Geostatistical Analyst Product Engineer