Using GIS and Big Data to Map Wildland-Urban Interface in California, USA

Authors: Kwadwo Dwomoh*, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, South Dakota State University, Dapeng Li, Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences, South Dakota State University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Human-Environment Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Wildland fire, wildland-urban Interface, building footprint, GIS, California
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) refers to the areas where wildland vegetation and human settlements meet. WUI mapping plays a significant role in wildfire research. Whereas a significant amount of research has been done on WUI mapping in the past two decades, little research has been done on using high resolution data for large scale WUI mapping. This study focuses on using recent structure location data and land use data to map the WUI in California. Specifically, the Microsoft building footprint data that provides the exact geographic coordinates of structures and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) that provides vegetation cover at 30-meter resolution are used for WUI mapping in this study. I used a moving window analysis method with different window sizes to calculate different types of WUI based on the WUI definition given by US Department of Agriculture. The results show that structure-location-based approach provides an alternative method for WUI mapping with greater precision. Additionally, the study also provides a better understanding of the use of GIS and big data for studying human settlement patterns in relation to wildfire occurrences in California.

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