Wednesday, January 7, 2015

FGBASE: Fast Grid-Based Spatial Data Mining

FGBASE is a new open source software for using scan statistics on gridded data.  Unlike SaTScan, FGBASE only currently runs on Mac OS X (10.6, 10.7, and 10.8) instead of Windows and also allows for its source code to be downloaded here:  The software was specifically created for environmental epidemiology but has potential applications to any fields of study concerned with finding clusters.

Analyzing aggregate data, using either software package, helps to speed up computationally intensive equations for finding spatial, temporal, or spatiotemporal clusters.

Comparison of FGBASE and SaTScan

Operating system(s)
Mac OS X
Windows, Linux,
Mac OS X
Open source code
Geographic output
In app
New: Export to KML or SHP
Sample data sets
Yes, 1
Yes, several
Extensive, hundreds
Although FGBASE comes with some sample data (available at:, the program was only recently released.  Aside: The data set is different from the one used in the published paper, so you will notice differences when looking at your screen.  What data sets you will need and how they are structured is available at:

Clusters can be examined using a data-driven approach answering the question: where are the clusters?  Or, a hypothesis-driven approach can be used: are there clusters relative to a source(s) of exposure, where entities (factories,etc.) may be responsible for the clustering of cases.

A stock screenshot of FGBASE. Source: IJHG
I downloaded and installed FGBASE.  I will check back in with more impressions in a few months. Adding documentation, with a tutorial, or even a short YouTube video could greatly aid users.  I also plan to blog about getting data into SatScan and interpreting results later in the year.  Since FGBASE's source code is public, hopefully this will speed further development of the program and aid troubleshooting.

Read more at the International Journal of Health Geographics:

See also:
R: Spatial Epi Package
There is also an experimental SaTSViz plugin in QGIS but I have not had a chance to look at.

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