Friday, May 30, 2014

GWR4: Software for Geographically Weighted Regression

Today, I will write about a free program that I think remains unknown to many people.  If you are interested in regression models, you will want to keep reading!

GWR4 was developed by the same scholars that created Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) (Brunsdon, Fortheringham, and Charlton).  In brief, GWR runs local regression models on each geographic feature vs. ordinary least squares (OLS) regression which globally runs one model on all features.  In GWR, coefficient estimates are allowed to vary geographically and can be mapped.
  • Questions that GWR can help answer:
    • General: Do the effects of demographics race, income, education vary geographically on your outcome of interest, after statistical adjustment?
    • Specific:  Does the percent of smokers on prevalence of asthma vary geographically or stay the same? 
      • Since smoking is a major risk factor for asthma, we would expect all local coefficients to be positive--increasing the prevalence or risk of asthma.
GWR4 helps calibrate and run GWR Models. Moreover, it allows for models besides the normal/Gaussian distribution--such as Poisson (for counts and rates) and Logistic (odds).  For people interested in counts and rates, it is vital to be able to use the Poisson distribution.  Currently ArcGIS only uses OLS models.  GWR is a free program but is copyrighted.  It runs on Microsoft Windows.
"GWR 4 can be used to explore geographically varying relationships between dependent/response variables and independent/explanatory variables."
If you are still confused, click the map of Tokyo below--based on GWR4 and the sample data.  Hopefully, this will help clarify the significance of GWR models. (I ran out of time or I would have classified the layer better.  Keep in mind, odds  > 1 each unit increase in the unemployment rate is associated with higher mortality, odds < 1 each unit increase in unemployment rate is associated with lower mortality.)
Odds of the effects of the unemployment rate on mortality among the working age population.  Each of the 262 municipalities in Tokyo has an estimate of unemployment's contribution--adjusted for other variables in the model.
GWR4 has an intuitive user interface, good manual, and sample data with its associated publication. Your sessions/selections  of data, model, specifications, etc. can be saved by going to the file menu.  Be sure to check it out!

Visit here to download GWR4

GWR's Interface and Workflow: Load data->Identify Dependent and Independent Variables-->
--> Choose kernel, bandwidth, and selection criteria-->Output and Execute!

A quick note: I am taking a break from OpenLayers 3 (OL3) to wait for the final code, documentation, tutorials, and books to be completed.  However, we will return to OL3 later this year--when I also hope to have more examples.  Be sure to check out other JavaScript libraries to get maps on the web from Leaflet,  MapBox,  GoogleCartoDB, and any others I missed!  For more information on other similar projects visit the GIS StackExchange


  1. The download link doesn't appear to be active ?

    1. Jon, could you please tell us where can we get this software?

  2. I am looking but several places it was posted have been removed. I will see if I can track it down. GeoDA center also has migrated the Chicago Spatial Lab but I dont see it posted there yet: There is an unofficial download link that I have not tried. Download at your own risk:

  3. Dear Jon,
    Do you have any update on GWR software?

  4. pls help me.Where i can download?

  5. Please see comments above. Also, looks like someone has placed a copy on dropbox:

  6. Hi Jon,
    The datasets links are not working... could you share the datasets, please?

    1. Try this link: The ASU GeoDA Center recently relocated to Chicago but I dont see it there.