APoLUS/SIMLANDER updated versions released

APoLUS 9.5.2 is now available, with new scripts for accessibility, suitability and zoning to make calibration easier, and an error in the accessibility calculation corrected. See this post.

The user guide has also been updated. It is included in the download package for the new version and can also be accessed separately here.

A new version of SIMLANDER, version 1.0.6, is now also available.

SIMLANDER/APOLUS course at Deakin University, Melbourne, Feb 3rd-7th 2020

I was recently invited to Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, by Professor Brett Bryan to give a course on land use modelling in R using the SIMLANDER/APoLUS framework to the Land Use Futures modelling group.

Seemed to go down well, students were very engaged and got on well with the model. Fun had by all, including me.

One bright participant noticed a stupid error in the accessibility calculation. This can be summarized as follows:

1. I’d mistyped White’s et al’s (1997) accessibility equation. The correct equation is to be found here on the updated accessibility page of this website.

2. I was entirely wrong about the way to put the coefficient into the equation. It’s a single number, not a reclassified distance map. Of course, if you don’t want to use the accessibility equation, you can of course, reclassify the distance map. But not both!

The correct procedure is described as follows here

Over the coming days I will correct this error in the script in SIMLANDER and APOLUS, and post an update when I do this…..

APoLUS version 9.5 released

Some major revisions and improvements in version 9.5, including:

  • Calculate land use demand using a tendency curve, instead of just inputting final demands
  • Improvements to accessibility and suitability calibration
  • introduction of map comparison, cross tabulation and goodness-of-fit statistics (see MAPCOMPARISON folder) to help model calibration.

To download the new version, go here


New SIMLANDER publication..

Towards automatic calibration of neighbourhood influence in cellular automata land-use models

One of the hardest things to deal with in CA land use models is calibrating the neighbourhood effect. The shape of the distance decay curve (nrules) and the size of the cell neigbourhood (nsize) have a strong influence on the behaviour of land use simulations. In general, steep decay curves lead land use patches to clump together, while shallower curves give more dispersed effects, (see a note on calibrating the neighbourhood effect). The problem is not so much identifying the pattern you want to replicate, but knowing what settings to give to nsize and nrules. Usually, this is done simply by experimenting, i.e. running simulations with one set of rules, comparing the results, and going back to modify the rules.  But not only is this really tedious and time consuming, it’s also not clear how you know when to stop. If you find a rules set that seems to fit, should you just go with it, or carry on experimenting until you find the best one? And is there really a single “best” set of rules our there? or will a range of different combinations of nsize and nrules give you the result you want?

A new paper, entitled “Towards automatic calibration of neighbourhood influence in cellular automata land-use models” published last week in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, led by Majid Shadman Roodposhti, orginally of the University of Tasmania, now at Swinburne University of Technology (both Australia), presents a way to automate the process by employing a structured procedure to experiment with many different rules combinations and test the results against the reference maps using standard goodness-of-fit testing measures. The results are then ranked so the user can explore the values which give the best results. All of the code is R, and presented in supplementary material together with the paper, which is open access and can be downloaded for free from here.


SimlandeR v1.05 now available


Download Simlander latest version v.1.0.5 (Rscript and sample data)

In Version 1.05, the main changes are in the way the demand is calculated, and a lot of general tidying up. The script should be alot easier to follow and contains much less redundant code

Also added the following code to remove the over-allocation issue

#test for duplicates that inflate the number of cells allocated
difftrans 0) {
result2 <- head(result,-difftrans) #remove the duplicates from the end of the file (the weakest candidate cells)
result <- result2

Richard Hewitt 28-March-2017

New SimlandeR case study

Congratulations to Yesudas Tharayil for successful submission of his M.Tech in Geoinformatics thesis on Simulation of land use change in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, Kerala, India, using SimlandeR.

Yesudas has kindly agreed to make his thesis available to the community to help other researchers working with SimlandeR. The thesis is available here.

APoLUS-SIMLANDeR Land use modelling course, UNAM, Mexico

Just back from Morelia, México, where I have just given a 3 day training course in cellular automata land use modelling in R at the Centre for Research in Environmental Geography (CIGA), of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  We used the SIMLANDER framework to simulate urban change patterns and then moved on to look at ways to incorporate actor behaviour into land use models with APoLUS. Was fantastic to meet so many like-minded researchers grappling with problems like deforestation, habitat degradation and global change issues generally. Thanks very much to Jean Francois Mas of CIGA for organising, and to everyone who attended for making me feel so welcome in México.


Trying not to bore people out of their minds talking about cell neighbourhood rules…

Course structure

Day 1:
Introduction to the topic (CA for modelling land use change)

R Tutorial 1: Introduction to working with geospatial data in R, general R commands, reclassification, simple scripting

R Tutorial 2: Making life easier in R, colours and legends, developing accessibility and suitability maps, more scripting.

Day 2:
R Tutorial 3: A simple CA model of urban land use change (SIMLANDER). Neighbourhood, random, zoning, transition potential, and land use demand.

Multiple land uses, multiple decisions – Introduction to APoLUS

R Tutorial 4: Calibrating the APoLUS model and running simulations.

Day 3:
R Tutorial 5: APoLUS – simulating actor decisions and developing scenario narratives

Group work and discussion

Day 4:
Conference: “Integrating actor behaviour in cellular automata models of land use change”)