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Effects of Non-homogeneous Population Distribution on Smoothed Maps Produced Using Kernel Density Estimation Methods

Description: Understanding spatial perspectives on the spread and incidence of a disease is invaluable for public health planning and intervention. Choropleth maps are commonly used to provide an abstraction of disease risk across geographic space. These maps are derived from aggregated population counts that are known to be affected by the small numbers problem. Kernel density estimation methods account for this problem by producing risk estimates that are based on aggregations of approximately equal population sizes. However, the process of aggregation often combines data from areas with non-uniform spatial and population characteristics. This thesis presents a new method to aggregate space in ways that are sensitive to their underlying risk factors. Such maps will enable better public health practice and intervention by enhancing our ability to understand the spatial processes that result in disparate health outcomes.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Jones, Jesse Jack
Partner: UNT Libraries

Assessment of Post-earthquake Building Damage Using High-resolution Satellite Images and LiDAR Data - a Case Study From Port-au-prince, Haiti

Description: When an earthquake happens, one of the most important tasks of disaster managers is to conduct damage assessment; this is mostly done from remotely sensed data. This study presents a new method for building detection and damage assessment using high-resolution satellite images and LiDAR data from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A graph-cut method is used for building detection due to its advantages compared to traditional methods such as the Hough transform. Results of two methods are compared to understand how much our proposed technique is effective. Afterwards, sensitivity analysis is performed to show the effect of image resolution on the efficiency of our method. Results are in four groups. First: based on two criteria for sensitivity analysis, completeness and correctness, the more efficient method is graph-cut, and the final building mask layer is used for damage assessment. Next, building damage assessment is done using change detection technique from two images from period of before and after the earthquake. Third, to integrate LiDAR data and damage assessment, we showed there is a strong relationship between terrain roughness variables that are calculated using digital surface models. Finally, open street map and normalized digital surface model are used to detect possible road blockages. Results of detecting road blockages showed positive values of normalized digital surface model on the road centerline can represent blockages if we exclude other objects such as cars.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Koohikamali, Mehrdad
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Investigation of the Relationship between HIV and Prison Facilities in Texas: The Geographic Variation and Vulnerable Neighborhood Characteristics

Description: Previous research suggests that prisons may be fueling the spread of HIV infection in the general population. In 2005, the HIV rate was more than 2.5 times higher in US prison populations. Environmental factors in prisons such as illicit drug use and unprotected sexual activities can be conducive for HIV transmission. Because the vast majority of prison inmates are incarcerated for less than three years, transmission of HIV between prison inmates and members of the general population may occur at a high rate. The environment in which an individual lives and the entities that comprise it affect the health of that person. Thus the location of prisons within communities, as well as socio-demographic characteristics may influence the geography of HIV infection. HIV surveillance data, obtained from the Texas Department of State Health Services, were used to investigate the relationship between the location of prison units in Texas and HIV infection rates in the surrounding zip codes. The results suggest that HIV prevalence rates are higher among geographic areas in close proximity to a prison unit. With continued behavioral risks and low treatment adherence rates among individuals infected with HIV, there is a possibility of increased HIV prevalence. Vulnerable places, locations with higher HIV prevalence, should be targeted for resource allocation and HIV prevention and care service. This study illustrates the importance of spatial analysis of places vulnerable to increased HIV prevalence in creating more effective public health prevention strategies and interventions.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Kutch, Libbey
Partner: UNT Libraries

GIS Modeling of Wetlands Elevation Change in Response to Projected Sea Level Rise, Trinity Bay, Texas

Description: This study is a test of a methodology to predict changes in elevation and shoreline position of coastal wetlands in Trinity Bay, Texas, in response to projected sea level rise. The study combines numerical modeling and a geographic information system. A smoothing technique is used on a United States Geographical Survey (USGS) digital elevation model to obtain elevation profiles that more accurately represent the gently sloping wetlands surface. The numerical model estimates the expected elevation change by raster cell based on input parameters of predicted sea level rise, mineral and organic sedimentation rates, and sediment autocompaction rates. A GIS is used to display predicted elevation changes and changes in shoreline position as a result of four projected sea level rise scenarios over the next 100 years. Results demonstrate that this numerical model and methodology are promising as a technique of modeling predicted elevation change and shoreline migration in wetlands. The approach has potential utility in coastal management applications.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Lee, Erica Anne
Partner: UNT Libraries

Measuring the value of transit access for Dallas County: A hedonic approach.

Description: Advocates of urban light rail transit argue that positive developments around station area(s) should offset the costs of implementing a transit system by creating more livable communities and enhance surrounding residential property values. In some cases, decreased urban landscape aesthetics have been reported. The purpose of this study is to contribute to this debate via an analysis of the impact of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system on residential property values in Dallas County. By examining the impact of distance on property values of two features of the DART system: the transit station and the rail line, and by holding a series of structural variables constant, a net change in value can be calculated using a multi-regression model.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Leonard, Christopher
Partner: UNT Libraries

Dismantling the Psychiatric Ghetto: Evaluating a Blended-Clinic Approach to Supportive Housing in Houston, Texas

Description: Locational decisions based on stigma and low funding have handicapped the efficiency of community based mental healthcare in the United States since 1963. However, the pattern of services in the 21st century American South remains largely unknown. This thesis addresses this gap in knowledge by using a mixed methodology including location allocation, descriptive statistics, and qualitative site visits to explore the geography of community clinics offering both physical and mental health services. The City of Houston has proposed using these facilities to anchor new supportive housing, but introducing more fixed costs to a mismatched system could create more problems than solutions. The findings of this study suggest the presence of an unnecessary concentration of services in the central city and a spatial mismatch between accessible clinics and the poor, sick people in need. Furthermore, this research reveals a new suburban pattern of vulnerability, calling into question long-held assumptions about the vulnerability of the inner city. Building supportive housing around existing community clinics, especially in the central city, may further concentrate vulnerable people thereby contributing to intensifying patterns of service-seeking drift and the continued traumatization of mentally ill homeless persons in Houston.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lester, Katherine Ann
Partner: UNT Libraries

Automated Treetop Detection and Tree Crown Identification Using Discrete-return Lidar Data

Description: Accurate estimates of tree and forest biomass are essential for a wide range of applications. Automated treetop detection and tree crown discrimination using LiDAR data can greatly facilitate forest biomass estimation. Previous work has focused on homogenous or single-species forests, while few studies have focused on mixed forests. In this study, a new method for treetop detection is proposed in which the treetop is the cluster center of selected points rather than the highest point. Based on treetop detection, tree crowns are discriminated through comparison of three-dimensional shape signatures. The methods are first tested using simulated LiDAR point clouds for trees, and then applied to real LiDAR data from the Soquel Demonstration State Forest, California, USA. Results from both simulated and real LiDAR data show that the proposed method has great potential for effective detection of treetops and discrimination of tree crowns.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Liu, Haijian
Partner: UNT Libraries

Quantitative Comparison of Lidar Data and User-generated Three-dimensional Building Models From Google Building Maker

Description: Volunteered geographic information (VGI) has received increased attention as a new paradigm for geographic information production, while light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data is widely applied to many fields. This study quantitatively compares LiDAR data and user-generated 3D building models created using Google Building Maker, and investigate the potential applications of the quantitative measures in support of rapid disaster damage assessment. User-generated 3D building models from Google Building Maker are compared with LiDAR-derived building models using 3D shape signatures. Eighteen 3D building models are created in Fremont, California using the Google Building Maker, and six shape functions (distance, angle, area, volume, slope, and aspect) are applied to the 18 LiDAR-derived building models and user-generated ones. A special case regarding the comparison between LiDAR data and building models with indented walls is also discussed. Based on the results, several conclusions are drawn, and limitations that require further study are also discussed.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Liu, Yang
Partner: UNT Libraries

Shoreline Erosion at Mad Island Marsh Preserve, Matagorda County, Texas

Description: The Nature Conservancy of Texas (TNC) is concerned with the amount of shoreline erosion taking place at its Mad Island Marsh Preserve (MIMP), located in Matagorda Bay, Texas. The MIMP is a 7,100 acre nature preserve that borders the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and is eroded by waves generated by barge traffic. TNC is concerned that erosion will shorten Mad Island Bayou which may increase the salinity of Mad Island Lake; with detrimental effects on lake and marsh habitats. This study uses GPS technology to map the current shoreline and GIS to determine ten year erosion rates (1995 - 2005). Results show that erosion is occurring at various rates along the shoreline as well as along the oxbow bend in Mad Island Bayou.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Mangham, Webster
Partner: UNT Libraries

Geology as a Georegional Influence on Quercus Fagaceae Distribution in Denton and Coke Counties of Central and North Central Texas and Choctaw County of Southeastern Oklahoma, Using GIS as an Analytical Tool.

Description: This study elucidates the underlying relationships for the distribution of oak landcover on bedrock and soil orders in two counties in Texas and one in Oklahoma. ESRI's ArcGis and ArcMap was used to create surface maps for Denton and Coke Counties, Texas and Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Attribute tables generated in GIS were exported into a spreadsheet software program and frequency tables were created for every formation and soil order in the tri-county research area. The results were both a visual and numeric distribution of oaks in the transition area between the eastern hardwood forests and the Great Plains. Oak distributions are changing on this transition area of the South Central Plains. The sandy Woodbine and Antlers formations traditionally associated with the largest oak distribution are carrying oak coverage of approximately 31-32% in Choctaw and Denton Counties. The calcareous Blackland and Grand Prairies are traditionally associated with treeless grasslands, but are now carrying oak and other tree landcover up to 18.9%. Human intervention, including the establishment of artificial, political and social boundaries, urbanization, farming and fire control have altered the natural distribution of oaks and other landcover of this unique georegion.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Maxey, George F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Water systems, water policy, and Karst terrain: An analysis of the complex relationships between geology, economy, public perceptions, and policy in southern Trelawny, Jamaica.

Description: Jamaica has an abundance of freshwater resources, however, a lack of infrastructure makes treated, piped water inaccessible in many areas. Through literature reviews and site visits, this thesis is an analysis of how the people and land, and money and policy, interact with one another in relation to Jamaica's freshwater resources and water infrastructure. Special attention is given to the island's type-example Cockpit karst geology; tourism, mining, and farming's relation to this karst; types of water delivery systems in rural southern Trelawny's Cockpit Country; southern Trelawny residents' perceptions of the water situation; and policy and development goals in the context of Jamaica and southern Trelawny. I hope to bring attention to the unique social, geologic, and developmental context of water in Jamaica, and more specifically to garner attention for major water infrastructure improvements in south Trelawny. A number of recommendations for improvements with policy and infrastructure are made.
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Date: December 2005
Creator: McCall, Sarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gracias a La Nacionalización De Los Hidrocarburos: a Critical Analysis of Bolivia’s Transition to Compressed Natural Gas

Description: This paper critically analyzes the implementation of compressed natural gas and the ways in which it creates discourse in urban Bolivia. The rapidly developing nation is keen on making ubiquitous use of compressed natural gas a reality by issuing subsidies, citing increased mobility, savings, and environmental stewardship as the primary motives. Currently, eight out of every 10 public vehicles in Bolivia are powered by compressed natural gas. Through semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and secondary data collection, this paper elucidates the transitional process of building a natural gas-based transport network through discursive governance. This work draws on the critical discourse analysis literature to dissect disaggregated modal preference data, government documents, and news articles collected in Santa Cruz, Latin America's second fastest growing city. Moreover, this paper identifies and examines the ways in which the counter-discourse impacts the transformation of the country’s energy matrix. Results show that Bolivian automobile owners are reluctant to convert their automobiles, despite reduced transportation costs, stating that minimal compressed natural gas infrastructure exists outside of urban areas, and the conversion damages their vehicles’ motor. Additionally, the research reveals that automobile owners are currently the main beneficiaries, though respondents who do not posses an automobile speak more favorably of natural gas. Finally, this research illustrates that the compressed natural gas-oriented policies encourage personal automobile use that continues to drive socio-spatial segregation of Santa Cruz’s residents. Thus, the compressed natural gas discourse helps shape the urban landscape by persuading the public to consume domestically extracted and manufactured natural gas.
Date: May 2015
Creator: McCollum, Jerl Levi
Partner: UNT Libraries

Analyzing Tuberculosis Vulnerabilities and Variables in Tarrant County

Description: Over 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) were reported worldwide in 2013. While the TB rate is much lower in the US, its uneven distribution and associated explanatory variables require interrogation in order to determine effective strategies for intervention and control. However, paucity of case data at fine geographic scales precludes such research. This research, using zip code level data from 837 confirmed TB cases in Tarrant County obtained from Texas Department of State Health Services, explores and attempts to explain the spatial patterns of TB and related risk markers within a framework of place vulnerability. Readily available census data is then used to characterize the spatial variations in TB risk. The resulting model will enable estimations of the geographic differences in TB case variables using this readily available census data instead of time-consuming and expensive individual data collection.
Date: December 2016
Creator: McGlone, John
Partner: UNT Libraries

"A Tale of Two Weapons": Late Holocene Hunting Technology in North Central Texas

Description: This research is an investigation of the Late Holocene technological transition from the spearthrower and dart to the bow and arrow in north central Texas. It is conducted through a theoretical approach that utilizes ethnographic research, experimental archaeology and the archaeological record to elucidate differences in the behaviors and hunting strategies of Late Archaic and Late Prehistoric groups. It first confirms that there was a transition. Second, a lithic analysis demonstrates that there are fundamental differences in the sizes of the stone dart and arrow points that relate to the propulsive requirements of the weapon systems. Third, it is shown these size differences constrain maintenance potentials and that indeed dart and arrow points exhibit stark differences in their life histories in spite of being employed for the same task. And finally, the faunal record suggests that this transition was associated with an increase in foraging efficiency.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Miller, Mickey Joe
Partner: UNT Libraries

Neural Tube Defect, Heart Defect, Oral Cleft and Their Geospatial Associations with Supermarket and Convenience Stores in the City of Dallas, Texas

Description: Birth defects are the leading cause of infant death in the United States. Research has linked poor maternal micronutrient intake to birth defects including neural tube defects, heart defects, and oral clefts. After investigating spatial patterns of these birth defects in the City of Dallas and the neighborhood characteristics within clusters, geospatial access to supermarkets and convenience stores measured by proximity and concentrations are examined as environmental risk factors for nutrition-related birth defects. Spatial clusters of all three nutrition-related birth defects exist in the City of Dallas. Cluster for NTD occurs in vulnerable places with lower income and high minority population specifically Hispanics with no supermarkets. Cluster for heart defects mostly occurs in high income and predominantly white neighborhoods with many supermarkets. Clusters of oral clefts mostly occurs in middle-class income with relatively high minority populations with many convenience stores. For the entire study area, geographical access to supermarkets that include healthy foods are shown to be spatially reachable from most of mothers of infants with nutrition-related birth defects as well as convenience stores that typically include the majority of unhealthy processed foods with very few nutrients. Thus, not only easy geographical access to healthy food vendors but to convenience stores with low quality produces is observed at the same time.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Miyakado, Haruna
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gis, Modeling And Human Civilization: The Birth Of Geo-social Engineering

Description: Computer-based, mathematical models have significant value in describing the processes behind urban development and its inhabitants. The following research describes the theories and concepts behind modeling and offers insight into the potential future of the field. First, the research covers a brief history of applicable modeling strategies. This is followed by a summary of current popular approaches. The numerical background of geo-social engineering is developed through mathematical techniques. Geo-social engineering is the integration of modeling into the basic design human civilization. The mathematical models will be incorporated into a design of a computer program. From this, a possible geo-social model structure is presented and its architecture is described.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Morris, E. Scott
Partner: UNT Libraries

An environmental justice assessment of the light rail expansion in Denton County, Texas.

Description: This study analyzes the proposed passenger rail line expansion along US Interstate Highway 35 in Denton County, Texas. A multi-dimensional approach was used to investigate potential environmental justice (EJ) consequences from the expansion of the transportation corridor. This study used empirical and historical evidence to identify and prioritize sites for potential EJ concerns. Citizen participation in the decision making process was also evaluated. The findings of this research suggest that the southeast Denton community has the highest potential for environmental justice concerns. This study concludes by offering suggestions for an effective public participation process. These include the incorporation of a community's local history into an environmental justice assessment, and tailoring the public planning process to the demographics and culture of the residents.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Moynihan, Colleen T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

County Level Population Estimation Using Knowledge-Based Image Classification and Regression Models

Description: This paper presents methods and results of county-level population estimation using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) images of Denton County and Collin County in Texas. Landsat TM images acquired in March 2000 were classified into residential and non-residential classes using maximum likelihood classification and knowledge-based classification methods. Accuracy assessment results from the classified image produced using knowledge-based classification and traditional supervised classification (maximum likelihood classification) methods suggest that knowledge-based classification is more effective than traditional supervised classification methods. Furthermore, using randomly selected samples of census block groups, ordinary least squares (OLS) and geographically weighted regression (GWR) models were created for total population estimation. The overall accuracy of the models is over 96% at the county level. The results also suggest that underestimation normally occurs in block groups with high population density, whereas overestimation occurs in block groups with low population density.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Nepali, Anjeev
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Role of Knowledge and Attitude in Residential Irrigation Efficiency

Description: Residential irrigation efficiency is a long-term concern for any community that faces water supply stress. When ability to raise water prices is constrained, public education and conservation programs can produce reduced water usage. Understanding the factors behind residential irrigation efficiency allows the design of more effective conservation campaigns. Combining site-specific water budgets with usage data for four hundred homes in North Texas enables quantifying efficient irrigation behavior. A survey of homeowners tests for the presence of conservation-positive attitudes and the knowledge required to implement those attitudes. The influence of neighbors’ watering habits is investigated using spatial clustering tools. Findings are analyzed in the context of an attitude, knowledge, and habit model of conservation behavior. The presence of automatic irrigation systems, small irrigated areas, and having knowledge of the amount that one waters one’s lawn are found to contribute to more intensive irrigation. Mixed evidence for small-scale clustering in irrigation intensity is presented.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Nickerson, Joel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Assessing the Potential Effects of Climate Variability on Reservoir Water Volume in North-Central Texas Using GIS and Models: A Case Study of Ray Roberts Lake.

Description: Assessing the impact of climate variability on water resources is one of the difficult tasks in planning the future growth of North-Central Texas. This study defined twelve extreme climate scenarios. Data from each scenario was input to a hydrological model (HEC-HMS) to calculate watershed runoff to Lake Ray Roberts. Model parameters are determined using Geographic Information System (GIS). The water balance was calculated for current and future water demand and resulting change in the volume and level of this reservoir. The results indicate certain climate scenarios decrease in volume. Thus, local governments should plan alternative water management strategies during droughts.
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Date: December 2005
Creator: Osei-Adjei, Peter
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The Expansion of a Retail Chain: An Analysis of Wal-Mart Locations in the United States

Description: Retail geography is an expanding field that is becoming increasingly important within academia, the business environment, and the national and global economy. The focus of this study is to provide insight and additional understanding of the site selection processes employed by Wal-Mart in the United States. The research studies Wal-Mart from a national perspective and investigates the patterns of retail store expansion across the United States from 1990 to 2005. The study employs the use of a continuous Poisson model to check for significant clustering, and a single and multiple correlation analysis to identify the types of relationships that exist between retail stores and location. The results of the study make apparent several distinct patterns of retail store dispersion within the United States between the years 1990 to 2005.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Ostrander, Anthony P.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Comparison of IKONOS Derived Vegetation Index and LiDAR Derived Canopy Height Model for Grassland Management.

Description: Forest encroachment is understood to be the main reason for prairie grassland decline across the United States. In Texas and Oklahoma, juniper has been highlighted as particularly opportunistic. This study assesses the usefulness of three remote sensing techniques to aid in locating the areas of juniper encroachment for the LBJ Grasslands in Decatur, Texas. An object based classification was performed in eCognition and final accuracy assessments placed the overall accuracy at 94%, a significant improvement over traditional pixel based methods. Image biomass was estimated using normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) for 1 meter resolution IKONOS winter images. A high correlation between the sum of NDVI for tree objects and field tree biomass was determined where R = 0.72, suggesting NDVI sum of a tree area is plausible. However, issues with NDVI saturation and regression produced unrealistically high biomass estimates for large NDVI. Canopy height model (CHM) derived from 3-5m LiDAR data did not perform as well. LiDAR typically used for digital elevation model (DEM) production was acquired for the CHM and produced correlations of R = 0.26. This suggests an inability for this particular dataset to identify juniper trees. When points that registered a tree height where correlated with field values, an R = 0.5 was found, suggesting denser point spacing would be necessary for this type of LiDAR data. Further refining of the methods used in this study could yield such information as the amount of juniper tree for a given location, fuel loads for prescribed burns and better information for the best approach to remove the juniper and ultimately management juniper encroachment into grasslands.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Parker, Gary
Partner: UNT Libraries

Pastoral Livelihoods and Household Water Management in the Central Argentine Andes

Description: Pastoralists tend to occupy highlands and drylands lands with uncertain climates and are experienced at coping with climatic variability and drought. Increasingly, however, the speed with which climate patterns are changing has become an issue of concern. This study examines household water management strategies of pastoralists in western Argentina. In this semi-arid region, pastoralists rely primarily on streams and springs fed by snow and glacier melt from the Andes, and have developed various strategies to meet their water needs. They also deal with myriad challenges posed by climate, economic, and socio-cultural change and work vigorously to maintain their herds – a combination of cattle, goats, and sheep – in this water scarce region. The goal of this study is to understand: 1) different household water management strategies; 2) the ways pastoral livelihoods are changing in response to changes in water supply; and 3) the socio-economic changes that affect pastoral livelihoods. Information from interviews, household surveys, and participant observations reveals that climate fluctuation impacts water supplies and use, herd size, and expenses made on tanks, technology, and infrastructure for the storage and transport of water, food for animals, and subsistence crops. Understanding the micro-scale, water practices of pastoral households provides insight into the ways rural populations in semi-arid and arid environments respond to changes in climate and meet their water needs. Moreover, these findings can contribute to scholarship on traditional and local knowledge and resource management systems, and may potentially inspire the development of adaptive management solutions.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Parker, Julie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gentrification in Oklahoma City: Examining Urban Revitalization in Middle America

Description: Gentrification applies not only to the largest and oldest cities; it is a multi-scalar phenomenon playing out in smaller and less prominent settings as well. This study examines temporal changes in property values, demographic characteristics, and types of businesses in the central Oklahoma City area. A major urban revitalization project which began in 1993 created strong gentrification characteristics near the renewal's epicenter, the Bricktown entertainment district. Data suggest that several specific neighborhoods in the surrounding area exhibited rising property values, improving educational attainment rates, decreasing household sizes, and a shift toward cosmopolitan retail activity. While it is evident that Bricktown has been transformed, the socio-economic traits of surrounding neighborhoods have been altered by the ripple effects of urban renewal.
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Date: August 2011
Creator: Petty, Clint C.
Partner: UNT Libraries