Representing, Modeling, and Visualizing the Natural Environment: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Representing, Modeling, and Visualizing the Natural Environment

1st Edition

Edited by Nick Mount, Gemma Harvey, Paul Aplin, Gary Priestnall

CRC Press

416 pages | 147 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2008-12-22
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The explosion of public interest in the natural environment can, to a large extent, be attributed to greater public awareness of the impacts of global warming and climate change. This has led to increased research interest and funding directed at studies of issues affecting sensitive, natural environments. Not surprisingly, much of this work has required the innovative application of GIS and has led to a crucial research question: How should the environment be represented, modeled, analyzed, and visualized within a GIS?

With contributions from recognized international experts, Representing, Modeling, and Visualizing the Natural Environment explores the interplay between data representation, modeling, and visualization in environmental studies. It reviews state-of-the-art GIS applications for the natural environment and presents them in the context of a range of recent studies. This focus identifies analytical challenges and illustrates broader opportunities for applying GIS within other areas of the sciences and social sciences. The integrated approach reflects the need for a single volume covering all aspects

While many texts cover aspects of GIS application within an environmental context, few of these books focus specifically on the natural environment nor do they integrate the questions that encompass the full process of enquiry associated with GIS application in studies of the environment. The thirteenth volume in the widely recognized Innovations of GIS series, this book investigates each of these questions in turn, explicitly addressing all aspects of GIS application in the natural environment.


Representing, Modeling, and Visualizing the Natural Environment is a twenty-two-chapter collection of papers based on the 2006 and 2007 meetings of the Geographical Information Science Research UK (GISRUK) Conference Series, held at the University of Nottingham (2006) and at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (2007). This volume provides an interesting cross-section of geographic information science research being undertaken by researchers in the U.K., Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

The papers are divided into three groups, each focusing on the application of GIS and GIScience to the natural environment. These thematic groups are: representation, modeling, and visualization. The opening chapter provides a clear introduction to the context and scope of the volume, defining the range of ‘natural environments’ considered in various explorations of the three main research themes, and providing a useful overview of how GIS/GIScience has been applied to geographic challenges to date. The authors use this as a foundation to establish the key objective of the volume: to explore how GIS/GIScience as we know it is being applied in increasingly public arenas, using a range of new techniques and technologies to visualize and interact with representations and models of natural environments.

The volume provides a thoughtful selection of methods and contexts to explore these three main themes. Eight chapters explore the topic of representation. Six chapters consider modeling of the natural environment. Seven chapters discuss visualization research in this field. The overall quality of papers is high, and a credit to the conference series and the editorial team. A keynote paper opens each of the three theme groups in this collection. These keynote chapters usefully situate the research reported in each thematic category. … Given the wide range of research endeavors represented by the papers included in this volume, the editors have done an excellent job of presenting them within the context of these three thematic groups.

The editors have assembled a collection of papers that will be of use to the GIScience and Geomatics community in academia, government, and industry. This is due in large part to the way it bridges existing GIS/GIScience with emerging methods and technologies, grounded in contemporary application contexts. There are also papers that take that important extra step and explore conceptual questions about representation, modeling, and visualization. The papers are well-written, and enable the reader to get a sense of the ‘pulse’ of ongoing and emerging challenges in these thematic areas, as reported by this international group of researchers from the GISRUK community. These papers would be quite accessible to graduate students and strong undergraduates. It will be of value to see the next volume in this series, exploring the directions these topics have taken since, and the ways in which this community of researchers have pursued them.

—Nick Hedley, GEOMATICA, Vol. 63, No. 4

Table of Contents

Introduction to Representing, Modeling, and Visualizing the Natural Environment, G. Harvey, N. Mount, P. Aplin, and G. Priestnall

Representing the Natural Environment

Keynote Paper: Representation of the Natural Environment, M. Duckham

Keynote Paper: Representing Surfaces in the Natural Environment: Implications for Research and Geographical Education, N. Waters

Developing Ontologies from a Domain Expert Perspective, F. Hemsley-Flint, G. Hart, J. Lee, and S. Thompson

The Spatial Disaggregation of Great Britain and European Agricultural Land Use, C.J. McClean

Comparing Different Land Cover Data Sets for Agricultural Monitoring in Africa, S. Fritz, L. See, F. Rembold, M. Massart, T. Nègre, and C. von Hagen

Using GIS to Identify Wildland Areas in the North Pennines, S. Blair, L. See, S. Carver, and P. Samson

Representations of Environmental Data in Web-Based GIS, P. Mooney and A.C. Winstanley

Developing and Applying a Participative Web-Based GIS for Integration of Public Perceptions into Strategic Environmental Assessment, A. Gonzalez, A. Gilmer, R. Foley, J. Sweeney, and J. Fry

Modeling the Natural Environment

Keynote Paper: Challenges for Environmental Modeling, R. Aspinall

Keynote Paper: Spatial Scale and Neighborhood Size in Spatial Data Processing for Modeling the Natural Environment, A-X. Zhu

Invited Paper: Toward an Algebra for Terrain-Based Flow Analysis, D.G. Tarboton and M.E. Baker

Spatial Terrain Modeling, S. Dalyot and Y. Doytsher

Regions and Patterns of Forest Change in Brazil, A. de las Heras and I.R. Lake

GM(1,1)-Kriging Prediction of Soil Dioxin Patterns, D. Guo, R. Guo, C. Thiart, and T. Oyana

Visualizing the Natural Environment

Keynote Paper: Information Access, Depicting Geography, and Geographical Visualization Tools, W.E. Cartwright

Keynote Paper: Wiki Cartography and the Visualization of the Natural, D.Z. Sui

Invited Paper: GIS-Based Landscape Visualization: The State of the Art, A. Lovett, K. Appleton, and A. Jones

Visualizing Species Distributions, D.J. Lieske and D.J. Bender

Visualizing Risk for Hill Walkers, A. Jardine and W. Mackaness

Using Web-Based 3-D Visualization for Planning Hikes Virtually, S. Bleisch and J. Dykes

PastureSim: A Visualization Tool for Pasture Management, C.E S. Rider and F.E. Reitsma


About the Series

Innovations in GIS

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Remote Sensing & Geographic Information Systems