Spatial association is the degree to which things are similarly arranged in space. Analysis of the distribution patterns of two phenomena is done by map overlay. If the distributions are similar, then the spatial association is strong, and vice versa. In a Geographic Information System, the analysis can be done quantitatively. For example, a set of observations (as points or extracted from raster cells) at matching locations can be intersected and examined by regression analysis.
Like spatial autocorrelation, this can be a useful tool for spatial prediction. In spatial modeling, the concept of spatial association allows the use of covariates in a regression equation to predict the geographic field and thus produce a map.