Compactness of geographic shape: comparison and evaluation of measures.

Alan Maceachren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Geographic shape compactness is of concern in such contexts as urban morphology, political districting, and accuracy of enumeration unit values. The purpose of this paper is to compare, categorize, and evaluate the various methods suggested for measuring compactness. Review of suggested compactness indices resulted in the identification of four categories, based upon; 1) perimeter-area measurement, 2) single parameters of related circles, 3) direct comparison to a standard shape, and 4) dispersion of elements of a shape's area. It was hypothesized that measures based upon dispersion of elements of a shape's area would provide the most accurate measure because they consider the shape as a whole while the other indices do not. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-67
Number of pages15
JournalGeografiska Annaler, Series B
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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