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A novel procedure to analyse the uncertainty associated to the output of GIS-based models is presented. The procedure can handle models of any degree of complexity that accept any kind of input data. Two important aspects of spatial modelling are addressed: the propagation of uncertainty from model inputs and model parameters up to the model output (uncertainty analysis); and the assessment of the relative importance of the sources of uncertainty in the output uncertainty (sensitivity analysis). Two main applications are proposed. The procedure allows implementation of a GIS-based model whose output can reliably support the decision process with an optimised allocation of resources for spatial data acquisition. This is possible in low cost strategy, based on numerical simulations on a small prototype of the GIS-based model. Furthermore, the procedure provides an effective model-building tool to choose, from a group of alternative models, the best one in terms of cost-benefit analysis. A comprehensive case study is described. It concerns the implementation of a new GIS-based hydrologic model, whose goal is providing near real-time flood forecasting.

Additional information

Authors: CROSETTO M, European Comission, Joint Research Centre, Space Applications Institute, Ispra (IT);TARANTOLA S, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety, Ispra (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 15 (5), (2001), pp. 415-437
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