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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

The Effects of Attendance at a Senior Center on the Quality of Life and Well Being of Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren.

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of attendance at a senior center on the well being and quality of life of grandparents that were rearing grandchildren. Using convenience sampling, grandparents (N=130) who were rearing grandchildren were given a self administered demographic data survey along with an attendance at a senior center questionnaire, the Quality of Life Scale, the Well Being Scale by Liang, the UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Caregiver Burden Scale, and the Role Satisfaction Scale. An initial MANOVA (F 7, 69 = 2.72, p < .01) suggesting that senior center attendance affect the measures as a set was conducted and then a series of one way ANOVAs were carried out to test the hypothesis that attending a senior center has an effect on the dependent variables: well being, quality of life, role satisfaction, caregiver burden, loneliness, current health, and heath one year ago. Subsequently, a hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to find out whether frequency and quality of attendance of a senior center predicted quality of life, caregiver burden, well being, loneliness, and role satisfaction, controlling for the demographic data. The results of the MANOVA showed that the dependent variables: quality of life, caregiver burden, well being and role satisfaction were impacted positively by the attendance of a senior center. The results of the regression analyses showed that for each of the major dependent variables, after controlling for the demographic data, the quality and frequency of involvement at the senior center did not have a uniquely significant role in predicting the dependent variables. The results of this study shows that further research need to be conducted to answer other questions regarding grandparents who are rearing minor grandchildren and the affects that senior centers may have in assisting in the management of this new task that ...
Date: December 2009
Creator: Rhynes, LaTrica Q.

High Resolution Satellite Images and LiDAR Data for Small-Area Building Extraction and Population Estimation

Description: Population estimation in inter-censual years has many important applications. In this research, high-resolution pan-sharpened IKONOS image, LiDAR data, and parcel data are used to estimate small-area population in the eastern part of the city of Denton, Texas. Residential buildings are extracted through object-based classification techniques supported by shape indices and spectral signatures. Three population indicators -building count, building volume and building area at block level are derived using spatial joining and zonal statistics in GIS. Linear regression and geographically weighted regression (GWR) models generated using the three variables and the census data are used to estimate population at the census block level. The maximum total estimation accuracy that can be attained by the models is 94.21%. Accuracy assessments suggest that the GWR models outperformed linear regression models due to their better handling of spatial heterogeneity. Models generated from building volume and area gave better results. The models have lower accuracy in both densely populated census blocks and sparsely populated census blocks, which could be partly attributed to the lower accuracy of the LiDAR data used.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Ramesh, Sathya

The proposed Fastrill Reservoir in east Texas: A study using geographic information systems.

Description: Geographic information systems and remote sensing software were used to analyze data to determine the area and volume of the proposed Fastrill Reservoir, and to examine seven alternatives. The controversial reservoir site is in the same location as a nascent wildlife refuge. Six general land cover types impacted by the reservoir were also quantified using Landsat imagery. The study found that water consumption in Dallas is high, but if consumption rates are reduced to that of similar Texas cities, the reservoir is likely unnecessary. The reservoir and its alternatives were modeled in a GIS by selecting sites and intersecting horizontal water surfaces with terrain data to create a series of reservoir footprints and volumetric measurements. These were then compared with a classified satellite imagery to quantify land cover types. The reservoir impacted the most ecologically sensitive land cover type the most. Only one alternative site appeared slightly less environmentally damaging.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Wilson, Michael Ray

Testing New Measures of Age Independent Body Size in White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Description: The four elements of the lower hind foot (calcaneus, metatarsal, naviculo-cuboid, and tibia) were tested for use as age-independent proxies of body size in white-tailed deer using known aged specimens from Ft. Hood Texas. Statistical analysis indicates that the calcaneum and the tibia are good proxies of age-independent body size in white-tailed deer. In addition to expanding the list of elements that can be used for studies of age-independent body size, these elements can also be used to age faunal remains to an ordinal scale of juveniles and adults. This is useful for research regarding prehistoric prey populations; as a single element can be used to determine prey body size and age simultaneously, which are the two variables used to assess changes in human subsistence practices via the archaeological remains of their prey.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Densmore, Julie A.

Developing a Wildlife Tracking Extension for ArcGIS

Description: Wildlife tracking is an essential task to gain better understanding of the migration pattern and use of space of the wildlife. Advances in computer technology and global positioning systems (GPS) have lowered costs, reduced processing time, and improved accuracy for tracking wild animals. In this thesis, a wildlife tracking extension is developed for ArcGIS 9.x, which allows biologists and ecologists to effectively track, visualize and analyze the movement patterns of wild animals. The extension has four major components: (1) data import; (2) tracking; (3) spatial and temporal analysis; and (4) data export. Compared with existing software tools for wildlife tracking, the major features of the extension include: (1) wildlife tracking capabilities using a dynamic data layer supported by a file geodatabase with 1 TB storage limit; (2) spatial clustering of wildlife locations; (3) lacunarity analysis of one-dimensional individual animal trajectories and two-dimensional animal locations for better understanding of animal movement patterns; and (4) herds evolvement modeling and graphic representation. The application of the extension is demonstrated using simulated data, test data collected by a GPS collar, and a real dataset collected by ARGOS satellite telemetry for albatrosses in the Pacific Ocean.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Chen, Cai

"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

Soil Characteristics Estimation and Its Application in Water Balance Dynamics

Description: This thesis is a contribution to the work of the Texas Environmental Observatory (TEO), which provides environmental information from the Greenbelt Corridor (GBC) of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The motivation of this research is to analyze the short-term water dynamic of soil in response to the substantial rainfall events that occurred in North Texas in 2007. Data collected during that year by a TEO soil and weather station located at the GBC includes precipitation, and soil moisture levels at various depths. In addition to these field measurements there is soil texture data obtained from lab experiments. By comparing existing water dynamic models, water balance equations were selected for the study as they reflect the water movement of the soil without complicated interrelation between parameters. Estimations of water flow between soil layers, infiltration rate, runoff, evapotranspiration, water potential, hydraulic conductivity, and field capacity are all obtained by direct and indirect methods. The response of the soil at field scale to rainfall event is interpreted in form of flow and change of soil moisture at each layer. Additionally, the analysis demonstrates that the accuracy of soil characteristic measurement is the main factor that effect physical description. Suggestions for model improvement are proposed. With the implementation of similar measurements over a watershed area, this study would help the understanding of basin-scale rainfall-runoff modeling.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Chen, Liping

GIS application in emergency management of terrorism events on the University of North Texas campus.

Description: This thesis presents a Web-based geographic information system (GIS) application for campus emergency management that allows users to visualize, integrate, and analyze student population, facilities, and hazard data for efficient emergency management of University of North Texas before, during, and after a terrorism event. End-users can locate and search the source area of an event on a digital map from the ArcIMS-based Website. The website displays corresponding population information and attributes of impacted facilities in real time. School officials and first responders including police, firefighters and medical personnel can promptly plan the appropriate rescue and response procedures according to the displayed results. Finally, the thesis outlines the limitations of Web-based GIS in the arena of campus emergency management.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Tsang, Yuenting

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.

A Spatial-Temporal Analysis of Retail Location and Clustering: A Case Study of Port Huron, MI

Description: Retail geography is a field of study that is growing in significance and importance within the academic, business, economic, and governmental realms. This study's main focus is on the changing retail environment with regards to business location and function within a small Midwestern city. The research focuses on Port Huron, Michigan because of the growth and shift of the retail community within the city over the past twenty years. The study specifically examines the changing influence and roles of Port Huron's central business district and of Birchwood Mall a retail development opened on the urban area's north end in 1990. The study uses the chi-squared, ANOVA, and cross tabulation statistical tests to analyze the changing geography of retail functions in the city. These statistics are used along with relative entropy equations to distinguish areas of high diversification, changing area functions, and common locations for multiple retail types.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Dickinson, Amie M.

Determining the Suitability of Functional Landscapes and Wildlife Corridors Utilizing Conservation GIS Methods in Denton County, Texas.

Description: Denton County's unique cultural and natural landscape has undergone dramatic transformations during the past two centuries due to agricultural, urban and suburban processes which accelerated the loss and removal of native habitat and wildlife. This research sought out to identify the remaining natural areas which retain their natural features and support wildlife. Research methodology included fundamental principles of Conservation Planning, Geographical Information Systems, and Habitat Evaluation Procedures for identifying remnant functional landscapes and wildlife corridors. The final results suggest that Denton County's rural landscape retains the functional properties and elements suitable for habitat conservation and wildlife corridors, while also pointing to the fundamental obstacles to conservation posed by continued growth and private landownership.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Sales, Joshua

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.

Estimating Buruli Ulcer Prevalence in Southwestern Ghana

Description: Mycobacterium ulcerans is sweeping across sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about the mode of transmission and its natural reservoirs. Since the only effective treatment is excision of the infection and surrounding tissue, early diagnosis and treatment is the only way to reduce the havoc associated with Buruli ulcer. Using data from a national case search survey conducted in Ghana during 2000 and suspected risk factors this study tests the hypothesized factors and probes the challenges of developing a spatial epidemiological regression model to explain Buruli ulcer prevalence in the southwestern region of Ghana representing 42 districts. Results suggest that prevalence is directly related to the degree of land cover classified as soil, elevation differential, and percent rural population of the area.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Denton, Curtis James

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

More buildings about songs and food: A case study of Omaha's Slowdown project.

Description: The success of independent rock music ("indie rock"), once a marginalized sub-genre of the rock idiom and now a globally recognized cultural force, has impacted the urban landscape of Omaha, Nebraska via the mixed-use urban redevelopment project, "Slowdown" - a result of cultural production by the city's successful indie rock business entities. While geographic research has previously analyzed urban redevelopment initiated by fine artists, the event of indie rock music being a catalyst for urban redevelopment has never been considered in a geographic scope. By examining the topics of affordable technological tools, Omaha's reduced cost-of-living, and cooperative efforts by city leaders, insight into how an indie rock "scene" can become a successful urban redevelopment catalyst is gained.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Seman, Michael

Assessment of Sediment Runoff from Natural Gas Well Development Sites.

Description: Storm water sediment runoff from disturbed landscapes has the potential to impair aquatic environments. Small construction sites of 1-5 acres in the United States are currently regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to minimize storm water runoff damages to the environment. Gas well construction sites are similar to other construction sites in how the landscape is altered, but are not similarly regulated. This study identified sediment runoff from gas well development sites by collecting it in traps and weirs, and by measuring sediment debris lobes. Sediment primarily consisted of silt and clay sized particles. Sediments from two gas well sites formed five debris lobes that ranged in size from 325 to 3,290 square feet. Sediment loadings estimated from the debris lobes averaged 57.1 tons per year/acre. Future studies should focus on further quantification of sediment movement off of gas well sites and identify effective erosion control methods.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Havens, David Loran

The Geologic and Archaeological History of the Dickie Carr Site 41PR26

Description: This thesis is an analysis and synthesis of the geologic and archaeological history of the Dickie Carr site, 41PR26, on Mill Creek in north central Texas. Included are analyses of the stratigraphy, sedimentary environments, and soils of the locality. A regional comparison is made with respect to the Late Quaternary geology of the upper Trinity River basin, Texas to interpret the geologic data. Two stratigraphic units were identified that record the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. The buried lower unit is comprised of terrace, floodplain, and channel deposits with extensive pedogenesis. The unit is Late Pleistocene in age and contains the remains of Mammuthus columbi. The upper stratigraphic unit is comprised of terrace and floodplain sediments with well-expressed pedogenesis. The unit is Early Holocene in age with Late Paleoindian and Late Archaic occupations. The archaeological components are compared and contrasted with documented sites from the Elm and East Forks of the Trinity River. The occupations are examined in a geoarchaeological context. The Late Paleoindian occupation is post-depositional and located in terrace deposits. The Late Archaic occupation is syndepositional and located in floodplain deposits.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Byers, Johnny A.

Selecting Optimal Residential Locations Using Fuzzy GIS Modeling

Description: Integrating decision analytical techniques in geographic information systems (GIS) can help remove the two primary obstacles in spatial decision making: inaccessibility to required geographic data and difficulties in synthesizing various criteria. I developed a GIS model to assist people seeking optimal residential locations. Fuzzy set theory was used to codify criteria for each factor used in evaluating residential locations, and weighted linear combination (WLC) was employed to simulate users' preferences in decision making. Three examples were used to demonstrate the applications in the study area. The results from the examples were analyzed. The model and the ArcGIS Extension can be used in other geographic areas for residential location selection, or in other applications of spatial decision making.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Tang, Zongpei

Hyperspectral and Multispectral Image Analysis for Vegetation Study in the Greenbelt Corridor near Denton, Texas

Description: In this research, hyperspectral and multispectral images were utilized for vegetation studies in the greenbelt corridor near Denton. EO-1 Hyperion was the hyperspectral image and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) was the multispectral image used for this research. In the first part of the research, both the images were classified for land cover mapping (after necessary atmospheric correction and geometric registration) using supervised classification method with maximum likelihood algorithm and accuracy of the classification was also assessed for comparison. Hyperspectral image was preprocessed for classification through principal component analysis (PCA), segmented principal component analysis and minimum noise fraction (MNF) transform. Three different images were achieved after these pre-processing of the hyperspectral image. Therefore, a total of four images were classified and assessed the accuracy. In the second part, a more precise and improved land cover study was done on hyperspectral image using linear spectral unmixing method. Finally, several vegetation constituents like chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, caroteoids were distinguished from the hyperspectral image using feature-oriented principal component analysis (FOPCA) method and which component dominates which type of land cover particularly vegetation were correlated.
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Date: August 2006
Creator: Bhattacharjee, Nilanjana

FACET Simulation in the Imataca Forest Reserve, Venezuela: Permanent Plot Data and Spatial Analysis

Description: Tree diameter data from 29 years of observations in six permanent plots was used to calculate the growth rate parameter of the FACET gap model for 39 species in the Imataca forests in Venezuela. The compound topographic index was used as a measure of differential soil water conditions and was calculated using geographic information systems. Growth rate values and topographic conditions typical of hill and valley were input to FACET to simulate dynamics at the species level and by ecological and functional groups. Species shade-tolerance led to expected successional patterns. Drought-tolerant/saturation-intolerant species grew in the hills whereas drought-intolerant/saturation-tolerant species occurred in the valleys. The results help to understand forest composition in the future and provide guidance to forest management practices.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Figuera, Dilcia

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

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

Hydrological Impacts of Urbanization: White Rock Creek, Dallas Texas

Description: This research project concerns changes in hydrology resulting from urbanization of the upper sub-basin of the White Rock Creek Watershed in Collin and Dallas Counties, Texas. The objectives of this study are: to calculate the percent watershed urbanized for the period of 1961 through 1968 and the period of 2000 through 2005; to derive a 1960s average unit hydrograph and a 2000s average unit hydrograph; and, to use the two averaged hydrographs to develop a range of hypothetical storm scenarios to evaluate how the storm response of the watershed has changed between these two periods. Results of this study show that stormflow occurs under lower intensity precipitation in the post-urbanized period and that stormflow peaks and volumes are substantially larger compared to the pre-urbanized period. It is concluded that changes in watershed surface conditions resulting from urbanization have lowered the precipitation-intensity threshold that must be surpassed before storm run-off is generated.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Vicars, Julie Anne Groening