Pontius, R. Gil Jr., Schneider, Laura. 2000. Land-cover change model validation by a ROC method. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and the Environment. Volume ?? (Issue ??):Pages ??.

Land-Cover Change Model Validation by a ROC Method

R Gil Pontius Jr and Laura C Schneider


This paper describes how to use the Relative Operating Characteristic (ROC) as a quantitative measurement to validate a land-cover change model. Typically, a crucial component of a spatially explicit simulation model of land-cover change is a map of suitability for land-cover change, for example a map of probability of deforestation. The model usually selects locations for new land-cover change at locations that have relatively high suitability. The ROC can compare a map of actual change to maps of modeled suitability for land-cover change. ROC is a summary statistic derived from several two-by-two contingency tables, where each contingency table corresponds to a different simulated scenario of future land cover-change. The categories in each contingency table are actual change and actual non-change versus simulated change and simulated non-change. This paper applies the theoretical concepts to a model of deforestation in the Ipswich Watershed, USA.

Key Words

ROC, LUCC, land cover, suitability map, simulation model, validation.


See the figures page for this paper.


Copyright 2000 Graduate School of Geography, Clark University