listw.candidates: Function to create a list of spatial weighting matrices

listw.candidatesR Documentation

Function to create a list of spatial weighting matrices


This function is a user-friendly way to create a list of one or several spatial weighting matrices (SWM) by selecting a set of predefined connectivity and weighting matrices (B and A matrices, respectively).


  style = "B",
  nb = c("del", "gab", "rel", "mst", "pcnm", "dnear"),
  d1 = 0,
  weights = c("binary", "flin", "fup", "fdown"),
  y_fdown = 5,
  y_fup = 0.5



Vector, matrix, or dataframe of point coordinates


Coding scheme style (see nb2listw of the spdep package). Can take values 'W', 'B', 'C', 'U', 'minmax', and 'S'; default is 'B'


Defines how the B matrix (connectivity) is build:

  • del Delaunay triangulation

  • gab Gabriel's graph

  • rel Relative neighbourhood graph

  • mst Minimum spanning tree

  • pcnm Distance-based SWM based on the principal coordinates of neighbour matrices (PCNM) criteria (see 'Details')

  • dnear Distance-based


Only considered if nb = "dnear". A single value defining the distance beyond which two sites are connected (i.e., minimum distance between two neighbor sites). The default value is 0 (no constraint on the min distance). d1 must be smaller than d2


Only considered if nb = "dnear". It defines the connectivity distance threshold below which two sites are connected (i.e., maximum distance between two neighbors. It can either be a single value or a vector of values, in which case a different SWM will be generated for each threshold value. The default value is the minimum distance keeping all points connected (i.e., the largest edge of the minimum spanning tree)


Defines how the A matrix (weighths) is build:

  • binary without weights

  • flin Linear weighting function

  • fdown Concave-down weighting function(see Details below)

  • fup Concave-up weighting function (see Details below)


Single value or vector of values of the y parameter in the concave-down weighting function; default is 5


Single value or vector of values of the y parameter in the concave-up weighting function; default is 0.5


The function allows constructing SWMs based on any combination of B and A matrices. The B matrices are either graph-based or distance-based. The function proposes the Delaunay triangulation, Gabriel graph, relative neighbourhood graph, and the minimum spanning tree criteria to build a graph-based B matrix. Distance-based SWMs can be built with the principal coordinates of neighbour matrices (PCNM; Borcard and Legendre 2002) criteria (see details below), or using another threshold distance to define the connected site pairs. The A matrix can be based on a binary, linear, concave-down, or concave-up function. The linear, concave-down, and concave-up weighting functions are defined by 1 - (D/dmax), 1 - (D/dmax)^y, and 1 / D^y, respectively, where D is the euclidean distance between the two sites considered, dmax is the maximum euclidean distance between two sites, and y is a user-defined parametre that can either be a single value or a vector of values. The choice nb = "pcnm" consists in constructing a distance-based SWM based on the largest edge of the minimum spanning tree as a connectivity distance threshold, and then by weighting the links by the function 1-(D/(4*t))^2, where D is the euclidean distance between the sites, and t is the distance threshold below which two sites are considered connected (Dray et al. 2006). As optimizing the choice of a SWM has to be done with a p-value correction depending on the number of candidate SWMs tested (see function, Bauman et al. (2018) strongly encouraged plotting the concave-down and concave-up weighting functions with several parametre values in order to only choose the realistic ones to build the candidate W matrices (e.g., ranging between 0.1 and 1 for the concave-up function, as values over 1 would make no ecological sense). First visualizing the connectivity schemes with the listw.explore function may also help choosing the B matrices to select for the listw.candidates function.

Spatial eigenvectors can be generated from any candidate SWM obtained by listw.candidates using scores.listw, or can be generated and tested (recommended option for real data analysis) using If several SWMs were created, the selection of an optimized SWM can be made using


A list of SWMs. Each element of the list was built by nb2listw (package spdep) and therefore is of class listw and nb. The name of each element of the list (SWM) is composed of the corresponding B and A matrices, followed (if any) by the y parameter value of the weighting function.


David Bauman ( or and Stéphane Dray


Bauman D., Fortin M-J., Drouet T. and Dray S. (2018) Optimizing the choice of a spatial weighting matrix in eigenvector-based methods. Ecology

Borcard D. and Legendre P. (2002) All-scale spatial analysis of ecological data by means of principal coordinates of neighbour matrices. Ecological Modelling, 153, 51–68

Dray S., Legendre P. and Peres-Neto P. R. (2006) Spatial modeling: a comprehensive framework for principal coordinate analysis of neighbor matrices (PCNM). Ecological Modelling, 196, 483–493

See Also

listw.explore, scores.listw,,


### Create 100 random sampling locations in a squared grid of 120 x 120:
xy <- matrix(nrow = 100, ncol = 2)
xy[, 1] <- sample(c(1:120), 100, replace = FALSE)
xy[, 2] <- sample(c(1:120), 100, replace = FALSE)
### The function listw.candidates is used to build the spatial weighting matrices that
### we want to test and compare (with the function). We test a Gabriel's graph, 
### a minimum spanning tree, and a distance-based connectivity defined by a threshold
### distance corresponding to the smallest distance keeping all sites connected (i.e., 
### the defaut value of d2). These connectivity matrices are then either not weighted 
### (binary weighting), or weighted by the linearly decreasing function:
candidates <- listw.candidates(coord = xy, nb = c("gab", "mst", "dnear"), 
                               weights = c("binary", "flin"))
plot(candidates[[1]], xy)
plot(candidates[[3]], xy)
### Construction of a different list of spatial weighting matrices. This time, the
### connexions are defined by a distance-based criterion based on the same threshold
### value, but the connections are weighted by the concave-down function with a y parameter
### varying between 2 and 5, and a concave-up function with a y parametre of 0.2.
candidates2 <- listw.candidates(coord = xy, nb = "dnear", weights = c("fdown", "fup"),
                                y_fdown = 1:5, y_fup = 0.2)
### Number of spatial weighting matrices generated:
### A single SWM can also easily be generated with listw.candidates:
lw <- listw.candidates(xy, nb = "gab", weights = "bin")
plot(lw[[1]], xy)

### Generating MEM variables from an object of listw.candidates with scores.listw:
MEM <- scores.listw(lw[[1]])
### See functions and for examples of how to use an object
### created by listw.candidates with these functions.

adespatial documentation built on Oct. 19, 2023, 1:06 a.m.