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Pattern-Process Relations in the Alpine and Subalpine Environments: A Remote Sensing and GIScience Perspective


Walsh, Stephen J.; Brown, Daniel G.; Geddes, Christine A.; Weiss, Daniel J.; McKnight, Sean A.; Hammer, Evan S.; & Tuttle, Julie P. (2009). Pattern-Process Relations in the Alpine and Subalpine Environments: A Remote Sensing and GIScience Perspective.. Butler, David R.; Malanson, George P.; Walsh, Stephen J.; & Fagre, Daniel B. (Eds.) (pp. 11-34). Amsterdam: Elsevier.


Geospatial data and spatial digital technologies, with an emphasis on remote sensing, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, spatial analysis, and modeling, have been fundamental to the research conducted by the Mountain GeoDynamics Research Group in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. Applications of GIScience tools and techniques have varied according to the research questions being examined and the corresponding analytical designs imposed. Most of our studies have been conducted at the landscape and regional levels, relying, for instance, on (a) historical and contemporary panchromatic and natural- and false-color aerial photography, (b) aircraft and satellite multispectral digital data, (c) spatial coordinates secured from differentially corrected GPS units and processed using base-station files, (d) field electronics and spatial designs, (e) a GIS to integrate discrete, continuous, and multithematic data, and (f) statistical and process models to associate field and lab data for the alpine and subalpine environments. Selected analyses are described that have advanced our understanding of pattern–process relationships at the alpine and subalpine environments, as a consequence of the spatial, spectral, radiometric, and temporal resolutions of the remote sensing system employed and the image processing approaches followed. Our work with digital elevation models is also described, because of the complex topography in the Park and the sensitivity of ecological and geomorphic features to terrain settings. Finally, our emphasis of linking patterns to processes is described through the use of pattern metrics, scale-dependent analysis, multisystem remote sensing, and integrative models.


Reference Type

Book Section

Year Published


Series Title

Developments in Earth Surface Processes


Walsh, Stephen J.
Brown, Daniel G.
Geddes, Christine A.
Weiss, Daniel J.
McKnight, Sean A.
Hammer, Evan S.
Tuttle, Julie P.