Fall 2019 - GEOG 451 D100

Spatial Modeling (4)

Class Number: 4335

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    BLU 10921, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Suzana Dragicevic
    1 778 782-4621
    Office: RCB 6233
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 251 or one of STAT 201, 203 (formerly 103), 205, or 270; one of GEOG 351, 352, 353, 355 or 356.



Spatial models for the representation and simulation of physical, human and environmental processes. GIS and spatial analysis software are used in the laboratory for model development, from problem definition and solution to visualization. Quantitative.


Spatial models allow us to make the best use of geospatial data to represent real world phenomena that are dynamic and change over space and time. In this course the focus will be on geosimulation approaches and how they are used to model dynamic geographic phenomena. Students will learn concepts related to theory of complex systems, geographic automata, particularly cellular automata and agent-based models, as well as machine learning and artificial intelligence, and their integration with GIS for representing, simulating and forecasting dynamic geographic phenomena. The topics will cover but are not limited to integrated space-time models of land-use/land cover changes, urban sprawl, transportation movement, forest fire propagation, pollution, and/or invasive species spread. Issues of model testing and validation will also be examined. Students will learn how GIS, complexity and geographic automata can be used to simulate geographic phenomena and will be exposed to the scientific research process in the field of GIS-based spatial modeling.  

The course is based on a combination of instructor and student-led presentations and discussions on concepts and issues related to spatial modeling and geosimualtion. A required list of readings of scientific journal papers covering selected course topics will be provided.  

Computer lab time will be available to pursue model building ideas through a project. Students will choose a dynamic spatio-temporal problem and conceptualize a modeling strategy to resolve it. GIS software will be available in the SIS computer lab to implement a solution. The final project will be presented in class and written as a final report in the format of a scientific paper. The course will provide you with the capstone experience.

Labs will start in the week of September 9th, 2019.

The content and the grading can be subject to minor changes depending on the number of students enrolled, class progress, and available resources.


  • student participation 20%
  • mini test 15%
  • project proposal 15%
  • project oral presentation 15%
  • written project report 35%


There is no final exam. All marks in the course are absolute and hence not scaled or assigned based on a curve.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html