Geography - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Towards four-dimensional modeling of geospatial phenomena: An integration of voxel automata and the geo-atom theory

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-06-15
Abstract: 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are widely used in both the management of spatial data as well as in the study and analysis of spatiotemporal processes. However, contemporary spatial data models are based on the principles of traditional two-dimensional cartography that simplify space to the horizontal Cartesian plane. This is partly due to the limitations in the way spatial phenomena are generally conceptualized and represented in GIS databases using the vector and raster geospatial data models. Over the last two decades, various methods of modeling the third dimension, incorporating the temporal component, and linking the field and object perspectives have been proposed but they have received little integration in GIS software applications. The main objective of this dissertation is to develop modeling approaches that can represent dynamic spatial phenomena in the four-dimensional (4D) space-time domain (three-dimensional space plus time) using a theoretical geospatial data model and the principles of complex systems and geographical automata theory. Using the theory of complex systems and the geo-atom concepts, this dissertation proposes and implements a voxel-based automata modelling approach for the study and analysis of 4D spatial dynamic phenomena. The data are structured using the geo-atom model, a theoretical geospatial data model that links the object and field perspectives of space and explicitly models the four dimensions of the space-time continuum. The results from implementing voxel-based automata indicate their usefulness in simulating dynamic processes, the management of geographic data, and the development of three-dimensional landscape indices and spatiotemporal queries. The significance of the study is that it provides a robust platform that demonstrates the potential of the voxel automata and geo-atom spatial data model to represent spatial dynamic phenomena in 4D.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Suzana Dragicevic
Department: 
Environment: Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Geographic Automata Systems Approaches for Simulating Forest Insect Infestation: A Case Study of the Emerald Ash Borer

Date created: 
2015-05-26
Abstract: 

Ecological phenomena like insect infestation behave as complex systems, where spatial patterns at larger scales emerge from interactions among individuals at the local level. The complexity is difficult to capture using conventional top-down approaches such as statistical or equation-based models which can be limiting in representing individual interactions, non-linearity, local dynamics, spatial heterogeneity and variation. The main objective of this study is to develop a suite of geographic automata approaches including cellular automata (CA) and agent-based modeling (ABM) to model insect infestation outbreaks over space and time. The proposed approaches were developed using emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation in Ontario as a case study. Obtained results indicate that the developed approaches capture local complex spatio-temporal EAB behavior and reproduce larger scale spatial patterns of infestation. This research advances insect infestation modeling and provides a tool to aid in the surveillance, eradication, and biosecurity to EAB infestation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Suzana Dragicevic
Department: 
Environment:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

From Spaces of Marginalization to Places of Participation: Indigenous Articulations of the Social Economy in the Bolivian Highlands

Date created: 
2015-05-14
Abstract: 

This dissertation seeks to understand the conceptualization, structure, main benefits and challenges, and institutional environment for the Social Economy (SE) and Community Economic Development (CED) in Bolivia. In particular, the research seeks to understand if and how the SE and CED support shifts of indigenous peoples from spaces of marginalization to places of participation in economic, political, and socio-cultural terms. Bolivia provides a relevant context for exploring the intersections between questions of indigenous-led development, CED and the SE. A new constitution, adopted in February 2009, enshrines indigenous rights to traditional territories and self-governance; decentralization of resources and decision-making to local levels; and an economic development model that includes ‘social and community forms of economic organization’. Field research explored three cases of collective economic initiatives in rural indigenous communities in the Bolivian highlands within the context of changing local and national governance relationships. The research shows that the particularities of SE conceptualization and practice in Bolivia relate to the country’s indigenous and colonial heritage. There is significant variation in the structures, activities, and scales between the three cases, indicating heterogeneity in indigeneity and a corollary need to move past the traditional-modern dichotomy that shapes much discourse about indigenous peoples. The case studies demonstrate that SE and CED approaches can support improvements in local well-being, measured in social, economic, and cultural terms. Local institutions such as campesino unions and municipal governments are actively supporting the SE but are hindered by national policies and lack of capacity. Finally, place matters to the potential, form, and agency of development, since the culture, history, and institutions and web of interactions in each place can shape, support or impede efforts to foster the SE and CED. The Bolivian examples provide learnings that can be generalized to development theory and practice in general. Although the SE manifests in different forms in different places, it emerges for similar reasons – to address uneven development caused by the social and economic exclusion of particular places and groups of people at the local, national, and international levels. Previously colonized people can use SE and CED approaches to foster increased independence and collective well-being.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Sean Markey
Department: 
Environment:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Channel bar radar architecture and evolution in the wandering gravel-bed Fraser and Squamish Rivers, British Columbia, Canada

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2002
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
E.J. Hickin
Department: 
Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Extended Thunen-like models of agricultural land use for teaching and research in a computer assisted environment/S.G.I.D.S.: a simple geographic information display system

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1973
Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Thomas Peucker
Department: 
Geography
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Pilgrim places: a study of the eighty-eight sacred precincts of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, Japan

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1975
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Philip Wagner
Department: 
Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The role of transport in economic development/Ecological relationships and development problems in Lesotho, Southern Africa/The growth pole concept: a review, analysis and evaluation.

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1969
Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Department: 
Geography
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

A critic of the rational theory of urban planning

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
1975
Abstract: 

This essay attempts to examine critically the rational theory of urban planning, the dominant paradigm within American urban planning thought over the past two decades. It distinguishes two basic models within rational theory and discusses them in relation to the normative and pragmatic difficulties that they encounter. The essay concludes that even if rational determination of the ends or means of social action is considered to be desirable, such a process may be both technically unattainable and politically irrelevant.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
G.P.F. Steed
Department: 
Geography
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Representative point-integrated suspended sediment sampling in rivers

Date created: 
2015-09-29
Abstract: 

Point-integrated bottle sampling is the traditional method used to acquire the mean concentration of suspended sediment. Sample duration is assumed to average over enough variability to represent the mean suspended sediment concentration. No study has examined the effect on point-integrated sampling. Here, we analyze continuous hour-long measurements of suspended sediment and grain size fractions collected using a LISST-SL in the sand bedded portion of the Fraser River, BC. Mean concentrations for suspended sediment and grain size fractions were computed over increasing time periods and compared to a long duration mean concentration to determine when a sample became representative. A cumulative probability distribution was generated for multiple iterations of this process. All suspended sediment load and grain size fractions bear a low probability of accurately representing the actual mean concentration over standard bottle sample durations. A probability >90% of accurately representing the mean of volumetric concentration requires 9.5 minutes of sampling.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jeremy Venditti
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Bed-material transport rate derived from delta progradation in a small alpine basin, Fitzsimmons Creek, coast mountains, British Columbia

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2001
Abstract: 

A sediment budget was determined for Fitzsimmons Creek in order to assess the long-term bed-material efflux from a high-energy, debris-flow dominated alpine stream in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. The primary component of the thesis (Part1) examines the long-term bed-material transport rate from morphologic data, sonar bathymetry, and ground-penetrating radar surveys of the fan-delta built by Fitzsimmons Creek and recorded on sequential aerial photography for the period 1947-1999. The average annual bed-material transport rate is 1.60 ± 0.28 104  Mg yr-1 for the 52-year period, with a range of 2.20 x 104  Mg yr1 for decadal estimates. Considerable temporal variability of the average bed-material efflux is evident over the 52-year record. The length of time required to measure a stable average annual bed-material transport rate in this particular system appears to be not less than 50 years. A secondary component of the thesis (Part 2) examines the total sediment budget based on direct measurements of bed-material accumulated in the fan-delta and estimates of suspended-sediment over the 52-year period. The long-term minimum specific sediment yield is 0.57 ± 0.14 Mg km-2 day-1 based on direct measurements and the estimate of the specific sediment yield for this system is 0. 90 ± 0 .48 Mg km- 2 day-1.  A significant proportion of the total sediment load (averaging 49% over the 52-years) is deposited as bed-material in Fitzsimmons Creek's fan-delta.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
E.J. Hickin
Department: 
Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.