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BSc. theses/projects and posters of course Digital Earth

BSc. research, BSc. projects and course Digital Earth
The GIS-studio assists B.Sc students during their individual research projects. This section illustrates examples of B.Sc. research projects that have (partly) been facilitated by the GIS-studio.

Bachelor Theses:

Bachelor Projects:

Digital Earth 1:


Bachelor Theses

Babs Hagendoorn

Name: Babs Hagendoorn

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Dr. A.C. Seijmonsbergen and 2nd supervisor: Dr. J.G.B. Oostermeijer

Year: 2015

Relating Biodiversity to Geodiversity in a Mountain Ecosystem in Vorarlberg

The decline and extinction of species and the loss of habitat and landscape connectivity have resulted in an increased importance of biodiversity. A relatively new approach is to focus on the abiotic environment instead of on individual species. Diversity of geological, geomorphological and soil features is also referred to as "geodiversity". It is hypothesized that a high geodiversity results in a high biodiversity since a diverse geo-environment provides lots of space for species to inhabit. The aim of this study was to develop a GIS-based method to quantify and compare geodiversity and biodiversity. This was done in the alpine area Vorarlberg. The method consisted of 1) dividing the area into equal cells using a grid, 2) calculating the geodiversity index and 3) biodiversity index in each grid cell, 4) investigating the relationship between the geodiversity and biodiversity indices, 5) adjusting the geodiversity index and examine if the new geodiversity index could explain a greater part of the biodiversity variability and 6) adding ranking to investigate if this could improve the relation. The geodiversity and biodiversity index were successfully created in a GIS based manner and a positive relation between the two indices was observed. Adjusting the geodiversity index showed that elevation, slope and solar radiation diversity were the most important parameters for explaining biodiversity. Adding a ranking to the different geodiversity parameters did not improve the geodiversity index greatly. Altogether, this study shows a successful way of calculating a geodiversity index and correlating it to biodiversity. The results showed that a maximum of 12.5% of the variety in biodiversity could be explained by geodiversity, adjusting the parameters could improve this in further research.

Keywords: Geodiversity, Biodiversity, Conservation, Vorarlberg

Image on front cover page click here: 1000 x 1000 m grid cells in the province of Vorarlberg for the 1984-1989 dataset (left), the 2005-2009 data set (middle) and the biotope probability data sets (right).

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Rúna Magnússon

Name: Runa Magnusson

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Dr. A.C. Seijmonsbergen

Year: 2014

Seeing the Forest for the Trees - Mapping biomass spatial distribution using the AHN2 LiDAR point-clouds

With today's increasing global pressure on natural systems, monitoring them has become of high relevance. LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) is a promising remote sensing technique to monitor forest resources, since it uses laser signals that can penetrate the upper layers of the canopy and measure subcanopy elements. This study aims at exploring possible useful metrics of forest structure calculated from the Dutch AHN2 point-clouds. Moreover, this explorative study will provide some first insights into the methods and uses of LiDAR-based metrics calculation and their possible advantages or disadvantages in the EU Brazil Cloud Connect project, for which researchers of the University of Amsterdam will provide LiDAR-based approaches of monitoring forest responses to climate change in the Brazilian Amazon. It was found that many LiDAR metrics presently used in LiDAR research can be derived from the AHN2 point-clouds, and that they can be indicative of different forest and tree types. However, with more advanced derivatives of LiDAR data such as forest biomass and individual tree dimensions, the need for correct parameterization and combination with other data sources such as field data or hyperspectral imagery increases.

Keywords: Remote sensing, forest monitoring , LiDAR point-clouds, Actueel Hoogtemodel Nederland, AHN, forest structure, biomass

Image upper left: forest plot in the Flevopark in transectview. click here) Image of forest plots in the Hollandse Hout in 3D view using ArcGIS LAS Dataset toolbox click here). Colors indicate height.

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Milan Verploegen

Name: Milan Verploegen

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Dr. W.M. de Boer

Year: 2014

Statistical Analysis of Parabolic, Hummocky and Longitudinal Dunes, using ArcGIS and model builder to create an automated process for analyzing dune statistics with the use of lidar data

This research gives a better understanding of the possibilities of lidar data to analyze geomorphological features in landscapes. A model made with the ArcGIS model builder function is included that automates the process of analyzing an area by providing information on three subjects: the slope direction, the slope steepness and the contour lines of any selected area. This model has been used on several pre-classified parabolic dunes in some dune fields in the Baruth Ice-marginal valley in Brandenburg, Germany. The results provide data of the geomorphological features of these dunes and a model that can be used to analyze dunes using lidar data throughout the world. Although in this research the model is only used on parabolic, hummocky and longitudinal dunes, it can be used on any type of geomorphological feature that contains a height difference. While it will take time to improve the model and fine-tune it for compatibility with other resolutions of lidar data, it is important to invest this time to enhance the knowledge on the geomorphology of the world.

Keywords: GIS, LiDAR, DEM, LiDAR point-clouds, automatic classification, parabolic dunes, hummocky dunes, longitudinal dunes, Brandenburg, Baruth Ice-Marginal Valley

Figure 2: (click here) The Model as used in final analysis. Blue ellipsis indicate variables (input files), yellow boxes indicate tools and green bubbles indicate output created by tools.

Click here for the full bachelor thesis.

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Henk Jan Oosterhuis

Name: Henk Jan Oosterhuis

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Prof. Dr. W. Bouten

Year: 2013

Effects of land cover change on the hydrology of the Victoria Nile catchment

A major way in which humans impact their environment is by converting the land cover to their needs, often by clearing forest or other natural vegetation to make way for agriculture or grazing land. This has important effects on hydrology, often making river discharge higher in the wet season and but lower in the dry season. Land cover has been changing rapidly in the upper reaches of the Nile catchment, while its waters are of vital importance to the people living in its lower reaches. The goal of this study is to quantify land cover change in the Victoria Nile catchment and determine what effects it has had on the Victoria Nile discharge. Vegetation change is detected by calculating NDVI change over 25 years from Landsat multispectral images, and the effects on discharge are modeled by adjusting parameters in the HBV hydrological model adapted for the Victoria Nile catchment. The results show a general increase in vegetation related to increasing rainfall during the study period. Vegetation increase alone would cause a decreased average discharge, but this factor is outweighed by the increased rainfall, with the net effect being an increase in discharge. Lake Victoria has a large buffering effect, removing large wet season peaks and delaying any decreases in discharge. However, small changes in rainfall and evaporation can have large effects on river discharge on a multi-annual scale. This may have important implications, reducing water availability and increasing flood hazard along the Nile River.

Keywords: Land cover change - Victoria Nile catchment – NDVI – Hydrology - Egypt

The map (click here) shows areas with NDVI change of more than 0.3 or less than -0.3, which is assumed to be a change in vegetation type. The numbers indicate the net fraction of the subcatchment area that theoretically changed vegetation type.

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Jouke van der Velden

Name: Jouke van der Velden

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Dr. A.C. Seijmonsbergen

Year: 2013

Semi-automatic delineation and classification of Barrancos in Tenerife Island, based on digital elevation models

This research presents two efficient and accurate methods for delineating and classifying Barrancos in Tenerife Island in a semi-automatic manner, based on digital elevation models. This method is developed using a Geographic Information System (ArcGIS). Barrancos are large fluvial incisions occurring in Mediterranean to (semi-)arid regions on relatively steep slopes. Ephemeral streams may have incised in the volcanic substratum for more than a million years. In Barranco valleys specialized ecosystems occur, which is caused by both its isolating as well and its connecting properties in the landscape. For investigating the role of Barrancos in plant dispersion patterns, a semi-automatic delineation and classification method for Barrancos is useful. Such a method spares time and it is accurate and transparent when compared to manual mapping. Tenerife is formed on a volcanic hotspot and therefore has geologic formations and geomorphologic phenomena typical for volcanic islands. The western and eastern tips of the island are the old remnants of former shield volcanos. These resulting old landscapes are dissected by deep Barrancos. In the islands history, volcano El Teide created diverse geologic formations consisting mainly of basaltic flows intruded by dikes. The initial irregular undulating topography of basalt flows is still reflected in the surface drainage patterns of Barrancos, as the tributary streams mainly show parallel drainage. Many of these properties contribute to the Barranco internal complexity, which is defined as the degree of structure and shape differences along the transect of a Barranco. Internal complexity is measured using slope angle and curvature distributions, solar radiation statistics and the drainage line density. The deliverables of this study are a map showing the locations and classification of Barrancos in Tenerife Island, and two methods for delineating and classifying Barrancos in a semi-automatic manner. The classification method can only be executed with high resolution DEMs. The two methods can be used for further research to plant dispersion patters. The methods are transparent and efficient. It's accuracy can be improved through adjustments by the user to fit topographic properties of the research area.

Keywords: Barranco, automatic classification, GIS, LiDAR, DEM, Tenerife

A general classification workflow is presented in fig. 6.: click here). In appendix 2 a complete overview of all geoprocessing steps for classifying Barrancos within ArcGIS is given.

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Marije Hoegen

Name: Marije Hoegen

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Dr. W.M. de Boer

Year: 2013

Paleowind directions determined by long-axis orientation of quartz grains in aeolian sediments in the Central Baruth Ice-Marginal Valley

With help from object-based image analysis (OBIA) thin sections of inland dunes in the Central Baruth Ice-Marginal Valley in Brandenburg (Eastern Germany), developed during the Weichselian Late Glacial, are examined. Long-axis orientation of quartz grains can give an indication of the paleowind directions. For the OBIA method the program eCognition is used. The assumption that there was a dominant NE wind direction due to the influence of the Weichselian ice-sheets gets confirmed with the results from the scanned thin sections. The results from the orientation data from the scanned thin sections show a dominant wind direction from NE to SW. For further research the effect of spectral colour bands and grain size were examined. In eCognition the effects of three different spectral colour bands is discussed and varied to find out if different colour bands have any influence on the classification of the grains. Using a blue or green-blue spectral colour band oversegmentation occurs, individual grains are segmented into multiple polygons. Although there are visible differences there was no significant difference between the spectral colour bands. To determine if grain size has any effect on the orientation, the grains were divided into classes and the mean orientation is compared. Dividing the grains into size classes gives a significant difference between the means. Further research is necessary to give a valid answer to this research question. The statistical test were not reliable and gave incorrect results. Therefore it is of importance that for further research the statistical test will be examined and discussed. This will be necessary to give a correct and validated answer to the research questions.

Keywords: Paleowind direction, thin sections, OBIA, quartz grains, geomorphology, Baruth Ice-Marginal Valley, wind rose, Weichselian Late Glacial, Aeolic, Wind-direction, Long-axis, Geomorphology, Brandenburg

Figure 13: Wind roses from the eight samples. Thin section 45 to 52 located at location 1. Thin sections 55 to 58 located at location 2. In figure 13 are shown the eight wind roses derived from the orientation data from the quartz grains. The red line in the roses show the mean orientation. The wind roses show a dominant orientation in NE-SW direction. The lower wind roses have more of a bidirectional shape and show less dominant orientation. The mean orientation is for every wind rose between the 30 and 60 degrees.

Click here for the full bachelor thesis.

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Daan Vial

Name: Daan Vial

Bachelor Thesis

Supervisor:
Dr. W.M. de Boer

Year: 2013

Determining wind directions of paleo-dunes during the Weichselian-Holocene interval in Southeast-Brandenburg

Long-axis orientation of gravel and sand particles has been used for determining the flow direction of fluvial processes. In recent articles there has been a hint at the usability of this theory on Aeolic processes. For this research there will be an analysis of samples taken in South Brandenburg in 1990 on Weichselian sand deposits using Object Based Image Analysis. These samples have not been analysed yet and therefore can provide new insight in the wind direction during the Weichselian/Holocene transition. Furthermore it will give the researcher experience with the needed techniques so the analysing method can be evaluated. It is expected that the evaluation will provide enough insight in the programs and techniques to adapt these insights into a new direction higher accuracy, faster analysis, simpler workflow, or different workflow(s). The dominant orientations found in the dune profile in Klasdorf, South Brandenburg, are North-South and East-West. Neither of the 2 analysed changes in the method (changing the colour bands and changing the length-width ratio limit) provided statistically significant result changes.

Keywords: Aeolic, Wind-direction, OBIA, Long-axis, Geomorphology, Brandenburg, Paleowind direction, thin sections, OBIA, quartz grains, Baruth Ice-Marginal Valley, wind rose, Weichselian Late Glacial

Figure 9: Containing the orientation data from the thin sections. True north is at the 0 value. The mean orientation is depicted with the red line, obtained with the use of K=1 so the correct heading was selected. There are 2 dominant orientation directions the N-S/S-N and the W-E/E-W directions.

Click here for the full bachelor thesis.

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Bachelor Projects

image project

Name: Cindy Teeven

Course: Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing Mini-Project

Year: 2010

Semi-automated reconstruction of glacier extent in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru (1989 - 2007) using ArcGIS

Glaciers are known to be very sensitive when climate changes. The variability in temperature and precipitation has a great effect on the position of the glaciers in the past. With the data of images of 1989, 1991, 1999 and 2007 a classification as well a reconstruction of the past position is made. A methodology, based on a semi-automated classification, has been made within ArcMap. A three dimensional view of the final product is created in ArcScene. With various tools in ArcMap, a reconstruction has made of the former position of the glaciers in four different years using a SRTM DEM as background. The final product (figure right) was the result of both manual and automated procedures.

The figure shows the method used in ArcGIS (click here) and a reconstruction of the glaciated area during 4 different years visualized on a digital elevation model (click here)

Keywords: Geodiversity, Biodiversity, Conservation, Vorarlberg
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Digital Earth 1

Digital Earth is a part of the Bachelors Earth Sciences, Beta-gamma, and Future Planet Studies curriculum. Here students learn basics of Digital Earth Surface Analysis using Geographical Information Systems, with an emphasis on geospatial analysis techniques, remote sensing and project design (source: Course Guide). Since 2012 the course Digital Earth is plit into two separate courses: Digital Earth 1 to learn the basics of GIS, and Digtital Earth 2 to prepare for the fieldwork in Spain.

Digital Earth 1, Year 2015-2016: Two examples of results produced by BSc students in January 2016 are presented as posters below:
Please click on the thumbnails to download the poster.





Evy de Nijs and Emma Polman: Seaweed Farms in the North Sea. Exploring the potential for seaweed aquaculture in the Dutch part of the North Sea using Web Services in ArcGIS 10.


Bart Hoekstra: Changes in high water intensity crops land use in California.

Digital Earth 1, Year 2014-2015: Two examples of results produced by BSc students in January 2015 are presented as posters below:
Please click on the thumbnails to download the poster.





Esther Brakkee and Roos van der Maas: Potato Production in China, using free online data for ArcGIS 10.


Hidde Nab and Lisa Bibbe: Risk Assessment: Tsunami 2004 in Calang (Indonesia) - The Relationship Between Risk and Landscape using Web Services in ArcGIS 10.

Digital Earth 1, Year 2013-2014: Two examples of results produced by BSc students in January 2014 are presented as posters below:
Please click on the thumbnails to download the poster.





Jim Lubbe and Marit van Oostende: Bird richness in protected and non-protected areas, using Web Services in ArcGIS 10.


Julia van Middelaar and Lieke Moonen: Impact of gas drilling on Natura 2000-areas in Groningen, using Web Services in ArcGIS 10.

Digital Earth 1, Year 2012-2013: Two examples of results produced by BSc students in January 2013 are presented as posters below:
Please click on the thumbnails to download the poster.





Roij Scholten en Rutger Keet: Highway light pollution in the Veluwe area, using Web Services in ArcGIS 10 and ISS spatial photographs.

Liza de Wit and Rita Sijelmass: Friesland: Landtypes and Dikes, using Web Services in ArcGIS 10.

Until the year 2012, as a final product of the course Digital Earth, digital data was prepared for fieldwork in Luxembourg. Two examples of results produced by BSc students in January 2012 are presented as posters below (1st in Dutch, 2nd in English). Please click on the thumbnails to download the poster.


Steven de Goede: Voorbereidend werk voor veldwerk Diekirch, Luxemburg.


Henk Jan Oosterhuis: Project for Luxemburg Fieldwork 2012.

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