Accuracy of Stream Habitat Interpolations Across Spatial Scales

DOI: 10.4236/jgis.2013.56057   PDF   HTML     4,108 Downloads   5,397 Views   Citations


Stream habitat data are often collected across spatial scales because relationships among habitat, species occurrence, and management plans are linked at multiple spatial scales. Unfortunately, scale is often a factor limiting insight gained from spatial analysis of stream habitat data. Considerable cost is often expended to collect data at several spatial scales to provide accurate evaluation of spatial relationships in streams. To address utility of single scale set of stream habitat data used at varying scales, we examined the influence that data scaling had on accuracy of natural neighbor predictions of depth, flow, and benthic substrate. To achieve this goal, we measured two streams at gridded resolution of 0.33 × 0.33 meter cell size over a combined area of 934 m2 to create a baseline for natural neighbor interpolated maps at 12 incremental scales ranging from a raster cell size of 0.11 m2 to 16 m2. Analysis of predictive maps showed a logarithmic linear decay pattern in RMSE values in interpolation accuracy for variables as resolution of data used to interpolate study areas became coarser. Proportional accuracy of interpolated models (r2) decreased, but it was maintained up to 78% as interpolation scale moved from 0.11 m2 to 16 m2. Results indicated that accuracy retention was suitable for assessment and management purposes at various scales different from the data collection scale. Our study is relevant to spatial modeling, fish habitat assessment, and stream habitat management because it highlights the potential of using a single dataset to fulfill analysis needs rather than investing considerable cost to develop several scaled datasets

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K. Sheehan and S. Welsh, "Accuracy of Stream Habitat Interpolations Across Spatial Scales," Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 5 No. 6, 2013, pp. 602-612. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2013.56057.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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