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A quantitative measure of the linear relationship among values in a dataset and the values (from the same dataset) at nearby locations.

Spatial autocorrelation statistics measure and analyze the degree of [linear] dependency among observations in a geographic space.

-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spatial_analysis#Spatial_autocorrelation

"Autocorrelation" is often used more loosely to refer simply to the presence of significantly nonzero autocorrelation at one or more distances. The term is also sometimes used, albeit incorrectly, to refer to any measure of similarity among values and neighboring values. For example,

Temporal data is said to exhibit serial autocorrelation when values measured close together in time are more similar than values measured far apart in time.

Spatial data is said to exhibit spatial autocorrelation when values measured nearby in space are more similar than values measured farther away from each other.

-- http://support.esri.com/en/knowledgebase/GISDictionary/term/autocorrelation

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