More Learning Activities
The 1993 Floods on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers 
W. Scott White

Discussion and Analysis of a 
Quantitative Mapping and 
Spatial Modeling Project

Material Required and Prior Preparations

    This activity could serve as a group discussion and analysis project that could be done over a week or a few hours, depending on the level of understanding desired and background of the students. 

    You will use online materials only. 

    Students should understand basic concepts and methods statistical chart/map production,  design and analysis as well as spatial modeling of physical systems.  It will possibly require some use of or at least familiarity with interpretation of data by spreadsheets or statistical as well as GIS tools

    Students should review/practice how to describe or present data findings in a graphical/visual manner with the aid of graphs, charts, time-series diagrams and so on, including quantitative maps such as statistical, dot, choropleth and isoline maps.  If they are new to these tools some introduction and practice in using or interpreting such tools will need to be done prior to the discussion. 

    It is also recommended that you review the Suggested Prior Readings in the Instructors Integrator before doing this exercise.  You should also read some of the supplementary readings indicated in the print bibliography particularly as it relates to analyzing hydrological processes, floods, fluvial geomorphology and particularly GIS and visualization and spatial modeling of these processes or problems. 

    This activity should be used by advanced or highly motivated students who want to learn how to evaluate and understand how modeling is done in the physical sciences such as climatology, hydrology and geomorphology.

Goals of the Activity

    These are the goals of the activity:
    • To evaluate the merits and limitations of numerical and spatialmodeling as a research method for explaining physical processes in the earth sciences.
    • To learn how to critique the methodology used in a specific publication and to compare it with other methods of scientific explanation and analysis.
    • To learn how to evaluate the methods of scientific visualization used in such modeling activities, i.e. to learn to interprete the data findings.  This includes evaluation of the graphical techniques used for showing data and conclusions.
    • To evaluate and possibly test the algorithms, formulas, and tools used to analyze the data, e.g. GIS software packages and so on.  That is to critique the "models" themselves and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
    • To discuss the pro's and con's of models as research tools for answering basic scientific questions as well as finding policy solutions to practical problems such as flood prediction and mitigation.
    • To assess the mechanics of writing up research projects and documents for both scientific and lay audiences, e.g. learn how to evaluate scientific writings and publications.

The Discussion and Analysis Activity

    Study the online web document entitled: SAST - Flood Water Balance of 1993  - University of Texas, Austin--Center for Research in Water Resources - by Pawel J. Mizgalewicz and David R. Maidment - GIS databases/coverages and other information.

Discussion questions and activity guide to be added later.


Created 12 December 1998. Last updated 12 December 1998 .