Pollution hotspots in urban soils need to be identified for better environmental management. It is important to know if there are hotspots and if the hotspots are statistically significant. In this study identification of pollution hotspots was investigated using Pb concentrations in urban soils of Galway City in Ireland as an example, and the influencing factors on results of hotspot identification were investigated. The index of local Moran's I is a useful tool for identifying pollution hotspots of Pb pollution in urban soils, and for classifying them into spatial clusters. and spatial outliers. The results were affected by the definition of weight function, data transformation and existence of extreme values. Compared with the results for the positively skewed raw data, the transformed data and data with extreme values excluded revealed a larger area for the high value spatial clusters in the city centre. While it is hard to decide the best way of using this index, it is suggested that all these influencing factors should be considered until reasonable and reliable results are obtained. GIS mapping can be applied to help evaluate the results via visualization of the spatial patterns. Meanwhile, selected pollution hotspots (extreme values) in this study were confirmed by re-analyses and re-sampling. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.