Geosimulations of urban growth, dasymetric mapping and population dynamics in northwest Florida, 1974 - 2025
Donoso Correa, Mario Ernesto
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Problem: this is the first time that the SLEUTH model has been applied to Escambia, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. Here, dasymetric mapping and censuses from the simulations are performed, generating three scientific questions. First, how will the Cellular Automaton (CA) model depict the different urban and other landscape changes? Second, what results will these simulations produce if dasymetric mapping and censuses from the sky are applied under past, present and future conditions? Third, using this CA model, will it be possible to replicate alternative scenarios such as smart growth and urban sprawl? The answers to these questions are the main contributions of this research to the fields of geographic techniques and demographics in space and time. Methods: imagery classification was applied to Landsat MSS and TM according to Anderson Level I; accuracy classification was performed comparing the classified images against sample points taken from air photos and DOQQs; SLEUTH was implemented in a high performance computer; dasymetric mapping using Geolytics databases developed in ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine; and finally, census from the simulations were generated using linear regressions and the allometric growth model. Results: the results were graphical and statistical outputs of all methods previously mentioned plus analyses of these maps and statistics about land cover and demographics. The SLEUTH simulations produced yearly graphical and statistical results from 1975 until 2025. Conclusions: urban expansion principally affects agriculture, rangelands, grasslands and forests; barrenlands also suffer from development, especially the beaches, showing unprecedented rates of urban growth. Smart growth provided an alternative strategy in which urban growth occurred in a more compact way, increasing its population density and decreasing the open space in the metro areas. Finally, the other scenariocalled urban sprawl simulated urban growth at a higher rate than normal, encouraging spontaneous and edge growth and lower population densities.