Spatial analysis

Insights in ArcGIS Online
Insights in ArcGIS Enterprise
Insights desktop

Spatial analysis can be accessed using the Action button Action on a map card.

The administrator of your organization needs to grant you certain privileges to perform spatial analysis. The necessary privileges are included in the Publisher and Administrator roles.

Certain capabilities need additional privileges, such as ArcGIS Online network analysis services and the ArcGIS GeoEnrichment Service. See Configure ArcGIS Enterprise to support Insights or Configure ArcGIS Online to support Insights for more information.


Credits are consumed when running certain spatial analysis processes in Insights when ArcGIS Online utility services (for example, network analysis service or GeoEnrichment) are used . In Insights desktop, the credits are consumed from the primary ArcGIS connection. For more information, see Processes that consume credits.

An analysis process will cause a time-out error if it takes more than 60 seconds to complete in Insights in ArcGIS Enterprise or Insights in ArcGIS Online. In Insights in ArcGIS Enterprise, processing time is dependent on specifications in your ArcGIS Enterprise setup, such as memory and CPU resources. In Insights in ArcGIS Online, some datasets with complex polygons, such as the block groups layer from Boundaries, can't be used for analysis in systems with low bandwidth or processing power. Generalized boundaries are recommended for analysis when using large area datasets.

The following table provides an overview of each spatial analysis capability:

Analysis capabilityDescriptionExample questions

Buffer/Drive Times

Buffer/Drive Times creates a zone around a point or line feature measured in units of distance or time. You can use the resulting buffer layer to perform spatial aggregation on point features and to calculate statistics such as a sum of revenue.


The Geometry utility service is required to dissolve buffer areas. Travel modes must also be configured to create drive time areas, such as walking time or trucking distance.

Inputs: One point, line, or area layer

What's nearby? How many crimes occurred within one kilometer of each police station? Which land parcels are within a quarter-mile of a light rail stop?

Spatial Aggregation

Spatial Aggregation works with a layer of point features and a layer of area features. It first determines which points fall within each area. After determining this point-in-area spatial relationship, statistics regarding all points in the area are calculated and assigned to the area. The most basic statistic is the count of the number of points within the area, but you can get other statistics as well.


  • One point, line, or area layer
  • One area layer

How is it distributed? How many crimes occurred within one kilometer of each police station? Which counties have the most damage caused by tornadoes?

Spatial Filter

Spatial Filter uses area features to filter overlapping features from another layer. The filter type can be Intersects, Doesn't Intersect, Contains, or Doesn't Contain. Only features with the correct spatial relationship to the area features or layer will be included in the result dataset.


  • One point layer
  • One area layer

What's nearby? How many crimes occurred in District 13?

Enrich Data

Enrich Data provides new information to your point or area data by getting facts about the people, places, and businesses that surround your data locations. Enrich Data allows you to answer new questions about locations that you can't answer with maps alone; for example: What kind of people live here? What do people like to do in this area? What are their habits and lifestyles? What kind of businesses are there in this area?

The GeoEnrichment privilege (included with Publisher and Administrator roles) is required to use Enrich Data.

Inputs: One point, line, or area layer

How is it related? Do neighborhoods with higher income levels experience more break-ins? What is the median age in the neighborhood surrounding each library branch?

Calculate Density

Calculate Density creates a density map from point features by spreading known quantities of some phenomenon (represented as attributes of the points) across the map. The result is a layer of cells indicating the density at each location.

Inputs: One point layer

How is it distributed? What is the number of drug crimes in a police district per square mile compared to different parts of the city? What is the density of a bird species across North America?

Calculate Density Ratio

Calculate Density Ratio creates a relative risk surface using the ratio of two density surfaces (one for cases and one for controls).

Inputs: Two point layers

How is it related? Where is the rate of crime higher than expected? Where is the rate of disease higher than expected?

Find Nearest

Find Nearest measures and finds the nearest features between input layers using a straight-line distance. There are options to limit the number of nearest features to find or the search range in which to find them.

Inputs: Two point, line, or area layers

What's nearby? What is the proximity of drug crimes to elementary and high schools? Which fire stations should be the primary and secondary responders for each school?

Find K-Means Clusters

Find K-Means Clusters categorizes your data into groups or clusters that maximize the similarities within each cluster while maximizing the difference between clusters.


Find K-Means Clusters can be used to create clusters based on location (spatial analysis), or attribute values (nonspatial analysis).

Inputs: One point, line, or area layer

How is it distributed? Where are the clusters of caribou habitat? Where are the clusters of disease occurrence?

Find Spatial Mean

Find Spatial Mean locates the geographic center or center of concentration for a set of features.

Inputs: One point layer

How is it distributed? Do crimes take place in the same areas during the day as at night? Where is a central pickup location for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members?


You can add boundary layers from the Boundaries tab of the Add to page window for your spatial analytics. Boundaries are helpful when your data does not include area locations. For example, if you want to summarize the number of votes for an electoral district, you can use the electoral district geography in your analysis. You can also use custom boundaries, such as police districts, if you've added custom boundaries to your workbook.


Drag-N Drop The most commonly used spatial analysis capabilities, Spatial Aggregation and Spatial Filter, can be accessed by dragging a layer onto an existing map and dropping it in one of the available drop zones. For the Spatial aggregation and Filter by selected feature drop zones to appear, the combination of data on the map and in the selected dataset must be compatible with the two tools (for example, a map of points and a boundary layer).

Next steps

Use the following resources to learn more about analysis:

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