Estimating the uncertainty of land-cover extrapolations while constructing a raster map from tabular data
This paper presents novel techniques to estimate the uncertainty in extrapolations of spatially-explicit land-change simulation models. We illustrate the concept by mapping a historic landscape based on: 1) tabular data concerning the quantity in each land cover category at a distant point in time at the stratum level, 2) empirical maps from more recent points in time at the grid cell level, and 3) a simulation model that extrapolates land-cover change at the grid cell level. This paper focuses on the method to show uncertainty explicitly in the map of the simulated landscape at the distant point in time. The method requires that validation of the land-cover change model be quantified at the grid-cell level by Kappa for location (Klocation). The validation statistic is used to estimate the certainty in the extrapolation to a point in time where an empirical map does not exist. As an example, we reconstruct the 1951 landscape of the Ipswich River Watershed in Massachusetts, USA. The technique creates a map of 1951 simulated forest with an overall estimated accuracy of 0.91, with an estimated user's accuracy ranging from 0.95 to 0.84. We anticipate that this method will become popular, because tabular information concerning land cover at coarse stratum-level scales is abundant, while digital maps of the specific location of land cover are needed at a finer spatial resolution. The method is a key to link non-spatial models with spatially-explicit models.
Journal of Geographical Systems
Pontius, Robert Gilmore; Agrawal, Aditya; and Huffaker, Diana, "Estimating the uncertainty of land-cover extrapolations while constructing a raster map from tabular data" (2003). Geography. 788.