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University of Wollongong Thesis Collection
University of Wollongong Year
A predictive GIS methodology for
mapping potential mining induced rock
falls
Hani Zahiri
University of Wollongong
Zahiri, Hani, A predictive GIS methodology for mapping potential mining induced rock
falls, M.Eng thesis, School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering, University of
Wollongong, 2006. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/494
This paper is posted at Research Online.
http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/494
NOTE
This online version of the thesis may have different page formatting and pagination
from the paper copy held in the University of Wollongong Library.
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Chapter 3
WeightsofEvidence Method
21
Chapter 3
WeightsofEvidence Method
3.1 Introduction
According to Sawatzky et al., (2004) the WeightsofEvidence (WofE) method is
a quantitative method for combining evidences in support of a hypothesis. In the
simple terms, the weightsofevidence method constructs a probabilistic model in
using known occurrences of a feature under consideration (eg. rock fall). The
known occurrences of the feature are commonly referred to as the training points.
The controlling or predictive factors, termed as evidential themes
1
, are the
measures of the datasets that cause the feature to occur (Kemp et al., 2001 and
Sawatzky et al., 2004). The weightsofevidence method combines different
datasets as controlling factors of occurrence of a particular phenomenon by
weighting each factor using a loglinear form of a Bayesian based model
(Sawatzky et al., 2004 and Spiegelhalter, 1986). The technique calculates the
weights for each controlling or predictive factor based on its dominance in the
training point theme (D) units within the area of a predictor (B) (BonhamCarter,
1994). Equations 31 and 32 represent the general formulation of the weights in
WofE method:
} {
} {
ln
D B P
D B P
W =
+
(31)
} {
} {
ln
D B P
D B P
W =
−
(32)
1
 This term is defined in Arcview as a synonym of “map” or “layer”
22
where
P = probability of object occurrence;
ln = the natural log;
B = controlling (predictor) theme;
D = training point theme unit;
W
+
= the level of positive correlation between the presence of the
evidential (controlling) theme and the training points;
W

= the level of negative correlation between the presence of the
evidential (controlling) theme and the training points;
The overall level of spatial association between the evidential theme and the
training points is given by the parameter of Contrast, C, which is defined by
Equation 33 (BonhamCarter et al., 1989):
C = W
+
 W

(33)
The weightsofevidence method was first applied in quantitative analysis for
medical purposes in disease diagnosis. The symptoms were considered as
evidences. Based on the defined hypothesis “this patient has disease x”, two
weights were calculated for each symptoms, one for presence and one for absence
of each symptom. The Contrast of weights measures the relationship between
disease and the particular symptom. In the cases of other patients, the weights
could then be used to calculate the probability of the occurrence of particular
diseases based on the presence or absence of symptoms (Lusted, 1968; Aspinall
and Hill, 1983; Spiegelhalter and KnillJones, 1984).
In geological application, the weightsofevidence method was originally
developed in a nonspatial mode (Reboh and Reiter, 1983; McCammon, 1989),
using the Bayesian approach to combine controlling evidences for mineral
23
prospects in an expert system. Campbell et al. (1982) applied this method to
combine evidences in map form and successfully predicted the extension of the
Mount Tolman molybdenum deposit in Washington. Reddy et al. (1992) applied
the same approach for the prediction of base metal deposits in a greenstone belt.
BonhamCarter used weightsofevidence with the combination of spatial data
analysis in the mapping of mineral potential (BonhamCarter and Thomas 1973;
BonhamCarter and Chung 1983; BonhamCarter et al. 1988, 1989). Bonham
Carter et al. (1989) and BonhamCarter (1994) further described a Bayesian based
method through which the quantitative relationship between an indicator map and
a mineral deposit pattern was analysed. After the development of ArcWofE and
ArcSDM extensions in 2001, the weightsofevidence method has been widely
used in various fields of study using the GIS based approach.
3.2 The Bayesian concept
The Bayes law provides the basis for the weightsofevidence method. To
illustrate this concept, the “likelihood of rain for tomorrow” example described by
BonhamCarter (1994) is used. Suppose we want to predict the likelihood of rain
on the next day. According to historical data, it is known that on average 100 days
of the year has rainfall. A reasonable estimate of the prior probability of rain in
the next day might be the average proportion, 100/365. This initial or prior
estimate can be modified if other relevant information is available. For example,
an important factor that influences rainfall is the time of year. The prior
24
probability would be updated by multiplying by a factor that varies with the time
of year. This can be expressed as:
Factor year of Time Rain P year of Time Rain P _ _ _ * } { } _ _ { = (34)
where
} {Rain P = prior probability, and
} _ _ { year of Time Rain P = posterior probability, which is the conditional
probability of rain given the time of year, or prior probability multiplied
by a factor.
The Timeofyear factor would vary depending on the month of the year. Another
factor that affects the likelihood of rain could be whether it has rained today or
not. These two factors or sources of evidence for the proposition “it will rain
tomorrow” can then be combined by the expression:
factor today Rain factor year of Time Rain P evidences Rain P _ _ * _ _ _ * } { } { = (35)
where Rain_today_factor is determined from historical data, and the effect of
combined factors of evidence is the product of two factors. Several sources of data
that provide predictors (evidence) regarding tomorrow’s weather can be used to
update prior probability. The prior probability can be successively updated with
the addition of new predictor evidence, so that the posterior probability based on a
piece of evidence can be used as the prior for using a new piece of evidence.
Fundamental to the understanding of weightsofevidence is the concept of prior
and posterior probabilities. The prior probability defines the expected outcome of
25
an event in the absence of evidence, whereas the posterior probability is defined
as:
Posterior probability = Prior probability * factor for each predictor (evidential themes)
(36)
Let us further consider the problem of determining the probability of rock fall
occurrence within a specified region T, made up of u unit cells (areas). In practice,
the size of the unit areas depends on the quality of available data and spacing
between known rock fall locations, termed as training points. As a rule, the
method assumes that each training points occupies only one small unit area hence
the probability of a point can be defined as probability per unit area. If N{D} is
the number of unit cells containing rock falls and N{T} is the total number of unit
cells in an area of study (Figure 3.1), the prior probability of the rock falls
occurrence in the study area is
} {
} {
T N
D N
.
Steep areas are usually prone to rock falls. The slope of an area is an important
controlling factor in estimating rock fall probability in an area. Slope factor or
evidence can be used to modify prior probability of rock fall occurrence. Figure
3.1 shows a hypothetical spatial relationship between an area T, training theme D
and predictor map B (or evidential theme).
26
Figure 3.1 Binary map showing the location of rock falls and Venn diagram summarising
the spatial overlaps relationship between the map pattern and the rock fall pattern (After
Harris et al., 2000)
The probability of rock fall occurrence, given the presence of evidence B (eg.
steep slope), can be expressed by Equation 37:
} {
} {
} {
B P
B D P
B D P
∩
= (37)
To obtain an expression for the posterior probability of rock fall occurrence in
terms of the prior probability and a multiplication slope factor we note that the
conditional probability on the binary slope map, B, given the presence of a rock
fall is defined as:
Please see print copy for Figure 3.1
27
} {
} {
} {
D P
D B P
D B P
∩
= (38)
In order to obtain an expression indicating the relationship between posterior
probability and prior probability and an evidence factor, Equations 37 and 38
can be combined to solve for } { B D P , showing the requested relationship:
} {
} {
} { } {
B P
D B P
D P B D P = (39)
Hence the posterior probability of a rock fall, given the presence of the evidence
equals the prior probability of rock fall P{D} multiplied by the factor
} {
} {
B P
D B P
.
Similarly, the posterior probability of rock fall occurrence given the absence of
evidence (flat areas) can be expressed by Equation 310:
} {
} {
} { } {
B P
D B P
D P B D P = (310)
3.2.1 Odds and likelihood ratios
According to BonhamCarter (1994), the probability that an event will occur
divided by the probability that it will not occur is defined as a ratio called odds.
The weightsofevidence method uses the natural logarithm of odds, known as the
log odds or Logits. From Equation 310 the odds ratio can be expressed as:
} { } {
} { } {
} {
} {
B P B D P
D B P D P
B D P
B D P
= (311)
28
From the definition of conditional probability:
} {
} { } {
} {
} {
} {
B P
D B P D P
B P
B D P
B D P =
∩
= (312)
Substituting this expression for } { B D P into the numerator of the right side of
Equation 312, and rearranging terms yields the following:
} {
} {
.
} {
} {
.
} {
} {
} {
} {
D B P
D B P
B P
B P
D P
D P
B D P
B D P
= (313)
The odds of a rock fall O{D} are equal to
} { 1
} {
D P
D P
−
, or
} {
} {
D P
D P
; Substituting the
definition of odds into Equation 313 reduces to:
} {
} {
} { } {
D B P
D B P
D O B D O = (314)
where } { B D O is the conditional (posterior) odds of D given B, } {D O is the prior
odds of D and
} {
} {
D B P
D B P
is known as Sufficiency Ratio (LS) (BonhamCarter,
1994). Taking the natural logarithm of both sides of Equation 314 gives log
e
LS,
the positive weightofevidence W
+
:
+
+ = W D Logit B D Logit } { } { (315)
Similar algebraic expressions lead to the derivation of an odds expression for the
conditional probability of D given the absence of the evidence (see Equation 3
16).
29
} {
} {
} { } {
D B P
D B P
D O B D O = (316)
The term
} {
} {
D B P
D B P
is called the Necessity Ratio (LN) (BonhamCarter, 1994). In
weightsofevidence terminology, W

is the natural logarithm of LN, or log
e
LN
that is expressed as:
−
+ = W D Logit B D Logit } { } { (317)
Both LS and LN are also called likelihood ratio and can be calculated from the
available field data (see Figure 3.2)
Figure 3.2 Diagrammatic representation of the weights calculation in weightsof
evidence method (After Harris et al., 2000)
3.2.2 Combining Datasets
The conditional probability of a rock fall occurring, given the presence of two
predictive map patterns, B
1
(eg. slope) and B
2
(eg. cliff height), can be expressed
as:
Please see print copy for Figure 3.2
30
} {
} {
} {
2 1
2 1
2 1
B B P
B B D P
B B D P
∩
∩ ∩
= ∩ (318)
which can be expressed as
} { } { } { } {
} { } {
} {
} { } {
} {
2 1 2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
2 1
D P D B B P D P D B B P
D P D B B P
B B P
D B B P D P
B B D P
∩ + ∩
∩
=
∩
∩ ∩
= ∩
(319)
Equation 319 is the Bayes’ Rule for two exclusive hypotheses, D and D, with
1 } { } { = + D P D P . If B
1
andB
2
are conditionally independent then:
} { } { } {
2 1 2 1
D B P D B P D B B P = ∩ (320)
and Equation 319 reduces to:
} {
} {
.
} {
} {
} { } {
2
2
1
1
2 1
B P
D B P
B P
D B P
D P B B D P = ∩ (321)
Note that Equation 321 is similar to Equation 39, except that the multiplying
factors for the two themes are used to update the prior probability to give the
posterior probability. Using the odds formulation, the conditional or posterior
odds can be expressed for two themes B
1
and B
2
as:
2 1 2 1
* * } { } { LS LS D O B B D O = ∩ (322)
31
or the loglinear weightsofevidence form:
+ +
+ + = ∩
2 1 2 1
} { } { W W D Logit B B D Logit (323)
where the subscripts 1 and 2 refer to the likelihood ratio or weights determined
independently for evidential themes 1 and 2 respectively. The weights for each of
the two themes (predictors) are calculated in exactly the same way as the weights
for a single theme.
As pointed out by BonhamCarter (1994), there are now four different ways of
combining two binary map patterns. In addition to Equation 323, three other
ways could be formulated as below:
− +
+ + = ∩
2 1
2
1
} { } { W W D Logit B B D Logit (324)
+ −
+ + = ∩
2 1 2
1 } { } { W W D Logit B B D Logit (325)
− −
+ + = ∩
2 1
2 1 } { } { W W D Logit B B D Logit (326)
With 3 datasets as evidence, there are 2
3
, or 8, possible combinations. In general
with n map there are 2
n
possible combinations. The general expression for
combining i=1, 2, 3… n maps is:
∏
=
= ∩ ∩
n
i
i n
LS D O B B B B D O
1
3 2 1
* } { } ..... { (327)
for the likelihood ratio, and
∑
=
+
+ = ∩ ∩
n
i
i n
W D it B B B B D Logit
1
3 2 1
} { log } ..... { (328)
for the weights.
32
Equations 327 and 328 are the computing formulae for combining a set of
evidential themes with the Bayes model which is implemented in GIS
environment. In general, if the ith evidence is absent instead of presence, the LS
becomes LN and W
+
becomes W

. Where data is missing for a particular theme in
some locations, the likelihood ratio is set to1, or the weight is set to 0.
3.3 Implementation of weightsofevidence method
Applying weightsofevidence method to map rock fall potential will entail the
following steps:
• Choose a series of maps that are useful for providing evidential themes for
rock falls occurrence. These may include maps of cliff heights and slope.
• For each map, determine the optimum reclassification scheme to convert
the themes to binary or ternary format. This maximises the spatial
association between the map and the occurrence points.
• Calculate the weights for each predictive map or evidential theme.
• Check for conditional independence between the evidential datasets. In
some cases, maps may have to be combined or rejected to avoid
conditional independency.
• Combine the evidential themes using calculated weights.
• Generate result (response) theme showing posterior probabilities.
Figure 3.3 is a schematic of the main steps of the GIS based WofE method
implementation. The implementation steps are also summarised in Figure 3.4.
33
Figure 3.3 Schematic GIS based weightsofevidence method procedures
Selecting evidential themes and providing GISbased inventory
Weighting evidential themes with respect to the spatial association with training points
Combining weighted evidential themes and generate response theme
Posterior Probability
Response theme
Weighting Table
Training point theme
34
Figure 3.4 General procedure for weightsofevidence implementation
Generate response themes
and
Interpretation
Check conditional independence
Secondary weighting evidential themes
Theme reclassification
Primary weighting evidential themes
Setting of initial parameters
(Define area of study, unit cell
and training points)
Data editing, manipulation
and formating in GIS framework
Selection of controlling factors
Problem definition
35
Among the stages, in first stages the geometry of the problem, goals, available
models, available data, limitations and creation a prevision of the results, are the
main issues. Selecting reasonable controlling factors to contribute to the model as
evidential themes is the next step. This is followed by compilation of GIS based
data inventory including data transferring, editing and manipulation. During the
primary weighting step, weights are calculated for each evidential theme with
respect to the spatial association between the training points and the evidential
themes. Themes are then reclassified based on primary weighting results in order
to convert from multiclass themes to binary or ternary pattern Weighted themes
are then combined together using calculated weights for each one. The response
theme shows the probability of rock fall occurrence within the area of study.
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