This is the era of Big Data and computational social science. It is an era that requires tools which can do more than visualise data but also model the complex relation between data and human action, and interaction. Agent-Based Models (ABM) - computational models which simulate human action and interaction – do just that. This textbook explains how to design and build ABM and how to link the models to Geographical Information Systems. It guides you from the basics through to constructing more complex models which work with data and human behaviour in a spatial context. All of the fundamental concepts are explained and related to practical examples to facilitate learning (with models developed in NetLogo with all code examples available on the accompanying website). You will be able to use these models to develop your own applications and link, where appropriate, to Geographical Information Systems. All of the key ideas and methods are explained in detail: • geographical modelling; • an introduction to ABM; • the fundamentals of Geographical Information Science; • why ABM and GIS; • using QGIS; • designing and building an ABM; • calibration and validation; • modelling human behaviour; • visualisation and 3D ABM; • using Big Geosocial Data, GIS and ABM. An applied primer, that provides fundamental knowledge and practical skills, it will provide you with the skills to build and run your own models, and to begin your own research projects.

Agent-Based Modelling and Geographical Information Systems

Agent-Based Modelling and Geographical Information Systems

Chapter Outline

The overarching aim of this chapter is to give the reader a contextual background and general overview of the major developments in geographical modelling for the simulation of the individual. The reader is introduced to a discussion around the purpose of modelling as well how complexity theory has influenced the way that we view (and simulate) geographical systems. We end the chapter by discussing the benefits of bringing together agent-based modelling and GIS.

1.1 Introduction

Geographers have always been interested in the role and influence of the individual within geographical systems. What are the consequences of individual behaviours and decision-making over space and time? Until relatively recently, answering this question has been beyond the ...

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