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Spatial process models for analyzing geostatistical data entail computations that become prohibitive as the number of spatial locations become large. This article develops a class of highly scalable nearest-neighbor Gaussian process (NNGP) models to provide fully model-based inference for large geostatistical datasets. We establish that the NNGP is a well-defined spatial process providing legitimate finite-dimensional Gaussian densities with sparse precision matrices. We embed the NNGP as adoi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1461705 fatcat:yefevc2kpzfnpiprsvltfqmvqu