A method to dynamically subdivide parcels in land use change models



Publication Details

Wickramasuriya, R., Chisholm, L. A., Puotinen, M., Gill, N. & Klepeis, P. (2013). A method to dynamically subdivide parcels in land use change models. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 27 (8), 1497-1513.


Spatial simulation models have become a popular tool in studying land use/land cover (LULC) change. An important, yet largely overlooked process in such models is the land subdivision, which is known to govern LULC change and landscape restructuring to a large extent. To fill this gap, we propose an efficient and straightforward method to simulate dynamic land subdivision in LULC change models. Key features in the proposed method are implementing a hierarchical landscape where adjacent cells of the same LULC type form patches, patches form properties, and properties form the landscape and incorporating real subdivision layouts. Furthermore, we use a queue-based modified flood-fill algorithm to dynamically reset LULC patches following a subdivision. The proposed subdivision method is demonstrated in action using a prototype agent-based LULC model developed for an amenity landscape in Australia. Results show that it is computationally feasible to run the subdivision method even as spatial resolution is increased, thus providing a proven means for spatial simulation models to dynamically split parcel land.

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