For many geomorphologists the year 1971 marks the coming-of-age of the application of modern statistical techniques to their science. The first decade following Strahler’s (1950) pioneer use of simple statistical techniques in a genuine attack on the classic problem of slope development was characterised by the introduction into geomorphology of the whole range of ‘linear’ (as distinct from spatial) statistical techniques and especially of regression and variance analyses (Chorley 1966). Towards the end of the 1950’s more complicated types of multiple regression methods began to be used, first by means of laborious manual calculation (Melton 1957, 1958A and 1958B) and soon afterwards by the use of the early second generation of electronic computers (Krumbein 1959). At the beginning of the 1960’s, at least from the technological standpoint, geomorphology seemed to be well placed for the application of quantitative techniques to its traditional problems and, particularly, for the employment of spatial analysis in the study of landforms and their associated processes. The term spatial analysis is used in this context to include the assemblage of analytical techniques and models in which a clear association is maintained between quantitative data and the spatial co-ordinates which locate them.