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As generally understood in GIS, density refers to the number of objects of interest per unit of some spatial area. The objects of interest might be people and the spatial areas, the zones used in some system of enumeration. The ratio of each zone's population to its area gives its population density, with units of numbers per square kilometer, for example. Typically, this might be taken as some measure of the intensity of human occupancy, but the same approach is used in the display and analysis of any other discrete, recognizable objects or “events,” such as the locations of crimes, factories, shops, and so on.

This apparently simple concept has some hidden complexities. In science and technology, the density of a substance is defined as the ...

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