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An Overview of Scale, Pattern, Process Relationships in Geomorphology: A Remote Sensing and GIS Perspective


Walsh, Stephen J.; Butler, David R.; & Malanson, George P. (1998). An Overview of Scale, Pattern, Process Relationships in Geomorphology: A Remote Sensing and GIS Perspective. Geomorphology, 21(3-4), 183-205.


Satellite remote sensing and geographic information systems are emerging technologies in geomorphology. They offer the opportunity to gain fresh insights into biophysical systems through the spatial, temporal, spectral, and radiometric resolutions of remote sensing systems and through the analytical and data integration capability of GIS. The two technologies can be linked together into a synergistic system that is particularly well suited to the examination of landscape conditions through the interrelationships of scale, pattern, and process, a paradigm that has gained prominence in the fields of biogeography and landscape ecology. In this study, we apply optical and microwave remote sensing systems and GIS methodologies to case studies framed within the fluvial and alpine environments. We use the scale, pattern, and process paradigm to explore landscape relationships in those environments. Satellite image processing, change-detection analyses, digital elevation models, GIS-derived geomorphic indices and variables, composition and pattern metrics of landscape organization, and scale-dependent analyses are described and related to the study of river channel abandonment and the alpine treeline ecotone. We describe appropriate remote sensing and GIS techniques for geomorphic research, and demonstrate the use of such techniques in the application of the scale, pattern, and processes perspective in geomorphic studies.


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Journal Article

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Walsh, Stephen J.
Butler, David R.
Malanson, George P.