Spatial Scale

Spatial Scale: The entire area over which observation or management occurs (i.e., extent) and the smallest unit of observation or management action (i.e., grain). Spatial scale is changed when either extent or grain, or both are altered. Various spatial scales are shown in Figure 1 and illustrate differences in measurements arising from different scales.

Figure 1. Two components of spatial scale, (a) grain and (b) extent. The number of cells aggregated to form the new data unit (i.e., new grain size) is indicated by n; total area, or extent is indicated by a. Figure is adapted from Turner and Gardner (2015)