Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2012, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (4): 716-736.doi: 10.1007/s11442-012-0958-6

• Applications of GIS • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comparison between CBR and CA methods for estimating land use change in Dongguan, China

DU Yunyan1, GE Yong1, V. Chris LAKHAN2, SUN Yeran1, CAO Feng1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Science and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Windsor, ON N9B 3P4, Canada
  • Received:2012-01-16 Revised:2012-03-20 Online:2012-08-15 Published:2012-07-10
  • Supported by:

    National 863 High Technology Programs of China, No.2011BAH23B04; The State Key Laboratory of Resource and Environment Information System, No.088RA500KA; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41071250


Many studies on land use change (LUC), using different approaches and models, have yielded good results. Applications of these methods have revealed both advantages and limitations. However, LUC is a complex problem due to influences of many factors, and variations in policy and natural conditions. Hence, the characteristics and regional suitability of different methods require further research, and comparison of typical approaches is required. Since the late 1980s, CA has been used to simulate urban growth, urban sprawl and land use evolution successfully. Nowadays it is very popular in resolving the LUC estimating problem. Case-based reasoning (CBR), as an artificial intelligence technology, has also been employed to study LUC by some researchers since the 2000s. More and more researchers used the CBR method in the study of LUC. The CA approach is a mathematical system constructed from many typical simple components, which together are capable of simulating complex behavior, while CBR is a problem-oriented analysis method to solve geographic problems, particularly when the driving mechanisms of geographic processes are not yet understood fully. These two methods were completely different in the LUC research. Thus, in this paper, based on the enhanced CBR model, which is proposed in our previous research (Du et al. 2009), a comparison between the CBR and CA approaches to assessing LUC is presented. LUC in Dongguan coastal region, China is investigated. Applications of the improved CBR and the cellular automata (CA) to the study area, produce results demonstrating a similarity estimation accuracy of 89% from the improved CBR, and 70.7% accuracy from the CA. From the results, we can see that the accuracies of the CA and CBR approaches are both >70%. Although CA method has the distinct advantage in predicting the urban type, CBR method has the obvious tendency in predicting non-urban type. Considering the entire analytical process, the preprocessing workload in CBR is less than that of the CA approach. As such, it could be concluded that the CBR approach is more flexible and practically useful than the CA approach for estimating land use change.

Key words: artificial intelligence, case-based reasoning, land use changes, spatial relationship, cellular automata, Dongguan coastal region, China