Tag Archives: Modeling

Modeling: What can patterns tell you?

Some problems demand you go beyond exploring the data into quantifying relationships or formally testing hypotheses. This is where modeling comes in. Spatial modeling allows you to derive new data from values of existing data layers and to predict what might happen and where. Modeling often takes you into the realm of developing specialized workflows through programming. Creating scripts and automated workflows lets you efficiently query and process large amounts of data and implement more complex algorithms. Increasingly, the value of sharing methods and code through the web allows you to create complex workflows without the need to develop all the components. Knowledge is being shared by putting the real power of spatial analysis into the hands of more people.

Modeling Processes

With an understanding of the processes at work in the natural or human environment, additional features can be modelled from spatial data. Using an elevation surface, for example, you can derive information and identify features that were not readily apparent in the original surface, such as contours, angle of slope, steepest downslope direction (aspect), shaded relief (hillshade), and visible areas (viewsheds). You can model the flow of water across Earth’s surface, deriving runoff characteristics, understanding drainage systems, and creating watersheds.

This GIS app shows how GIS was used to model areas that cougars would be likely to traverse through the mountains and wildlands near Los Angeles. Wildlife conservation experts stress the need to identify safe corridors, including natural bridges, so the big cats in isolated populations can find each other.

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