A geostatistical approach to data harmonization - Application to radioactivity exposure data

O. Baume, J.O. Skoien, G.B.M. Heuvelink, E.J. Pebesma, S.J. Melles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental issues such as air, groundwater pollution and climate change are frequently studied at spatial scales that cross boundaries between political and administrative regions. It is common for different administrations to employ different data collection methods. If these differences are not taken into account in spatial interpolation procedures then biases may appear and cause unrealistic results. The resulting maps may show misleading patterns and lead to wrong interpretations. Also, errors will propagate when these maps are used as input to environmental process models. In this paper we present and apply a geostatistical model that generalizes the universal kriging model such that it can handle heterogeneous data sources. The associated best linear unbiased estimation and prediction (BLUE and BLUP) equations are presented and it is shown that these lead to harmonized maps from which estimated biases are removed. The methodology is illustrated with an example of country bias removal in a radioactivity exposure assessment for four European countries. The application also addresses multicollinearity problems in data harmonization, which arise when both artificial bias factors and natural drifts are present and cannot easily be distinguished. Solutions for handling multicollinearity are suggested and directions for further investigations proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-419
JournalInternational Journal of applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • statistics
  • variables
  • networks
  • germany
  • need

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