School of Science
© 2020, The Author(s). The particularities of geosystems and geoscience data must be understood before any development or implementation of statistical learning algorithms. Without such knowledge, the predictions and inferences may not be accurate and physically consistent. Accuracy, transparency and interpretability, credibility, and physical realism are minimum criteria for statistical learning algorithms when applied to the geosciences. This study briefly reviews several characteristics of geoscience data and challenges for novel statistical learning algorithms. A novel spatial spectral clustering approach is introduced to illustrate how statistical learners can be adapted for modelling geoscience data. The spatial awareness and physical realism of the spectral clustering are improved by utilising a dissimilarity matrix based on nonparametric higher-order spatial statistics. The proposed model-free technique can identify meaningful spatial clusters (i.e. meaningful geographical subregions) from multivariate spatial data at different scales without the need to define a model of co-dependence. Several mixed (e.g. continuous and categorical) variables can be used as inputs to the proposed clustering technique. The proposed technique is illustrated using synthetic and real mining datasets. The results of the case studies confirm the usefulness of the proposed method for modelling spatial data.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.