7.8.2. Example 2: Nearest Neighbour Analysis and Distance matrix

Is the spatial distribution of our honey bee colonies disperse or clustered? – The level of clustering in a point vector layer can be assessed by Nearest Neighbour Statistics (Analysis tools):

  1. Go to Vector.
  2. Select Analysis Tools.
  3. Choose Nearest Neighbour Analysis.
  4. Select the point vector layer representing the bee’s locations.
  5. Click OK to view the result.

In this case, the observed mean distance between nearest neighbours is 1356 meters. If the distances between different points (or groups of points) are of interest, the Distance matrix function can be useful:

  1. Go to Vector.
  2. Select Analysis Tools.
  3. Choose Distance Matrix.
  4. Select the bees_colony_locations.shp as both input and target vector layer.
  5. Select the field ID as unique field (Fig. 107).
  6. This function could also be performed using two different point layers, or using the same layer but different ID fields.
  7. Click OK to perform the calculation and view the result.

The resulting delimited text file contains a list of all point combinations and the distance (computed in map units, thus meters in our example) in-between these points. In case of our honey bee locations, the maximal distance (12.5 kilometres) is between the honey bee colony Nr. 12 and 20, the minimal distance is only 484.5 meters (between ID 1 and 16).

Fig. 107. Generating a distance matrix between point vector layer(s).