Key Words Landscape Ecology, Object-Specific Analysis (OSA), Object-

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					G. J. Hay. Ph.D. Thesis:      Multiscale Object-Specific Analysis: An Integrated
                              Hierarchical Approach for Landscape Ecology

Abstract
Landscape Ecology is a transdisciplinary science with the fundamental goal to
understand the interrelationship between spatial patterns and ecological processes, so
that appropriate management strategies may be applied. However, achieving this is not
a trivial exercise. Landscapes are complex systems composed of multiscale
hierarchically organized entities that interact within unique spatial and temporal scales.
These interactions result in scale-dependent spatial patterns that visually change,
depending upon their scale of observation. Remote sensing platforms represent the
primary data source from which such landscape patterns can be observed and
assessed, but suffer from the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP). The clearest way
out of MAUP is by using objects, as objects constitute a non-arbitrary representation of
space. Thus, their aggregation and scaling contains implicit ecological meaning.

In order to appropriately monitor, model, and manage our interaction within landscapes,
Landscape Ecologists require a multiscale approach that judiciously integrates
ecological theory, remote sensing data, and computer vision capabilities for the
automatic delineation, hierarchical linking, evaluation, and visualization of dominant
landscape objects through scale. Furthermore, this approach should be guided by the
intrinsic scale of the varying sized, shaped, and spatially distributed image-objects that
compose a remote sensing scene. At the time this thesis began, no such approach
existed.

The principal contribution of this thesis is to propose and develop an integrated
hierarchical approach for the multiscale object-specific analysis (MOSA) of landscapes.
MOSA integrates concepts from Landscape Ecology, Complex Systems theory and
solutions to MAUP (Chapter 1). It also incorporates remote sensing data and a newly
created iterative object-specific analysis and upscaling framework (OSA/OSU - Chapter
2); concepts and topological methods developed for Scale-Space processing that allow
for the hierarchical linking and analysis of explicit image-objects (Chapter 3); and a novel
adaptation of a watershed feature detector resulting in multiscale object-specific
topology (MOST - Chapter 4). The outcome of this integration is a hierarchical approach
(MOSA) that automatically models the emergence of dominant landscape image-objects
through scale, from a single scale of remote sensing imagery. Furthermore, the resulting
image-objects are visually meaningful, hierarchically tractable, able to be topologically
linked and queried, and are derived from an approach that minimizes the effects of
MAUP.

Key Words: Landscape Ecology, Object-Specific Analysis (OSA), Object-
Specific Upscaling (OSU), Image-Objects, Multiscale Object-Specific Analysis
(MOSA), Multiscale Object-Specific Topology (MOST), Scale, Scale-Space (SS),
Blob-Feature Detection, Multiscale Analysis, The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem
(MAUP), Hierarchy theory, Complex Systems, Fractal Net Evolution (FNEA)