Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Kathleen Stewart


A model that emphasizes possible alternative sequences of events that occur over time is presented in paper 1 (chapter 2) of this dissertation. Representing alternative or branching events captures additional semantics unrealized by linear or non-branching approaches. Two basic elements of branching, divergence and convergence are discussed. From these elements, many complex branching models can be built capturing a perspective of events that take place in the future or have occurred in the past. This produces likely sequences of events that a user may compare and analyze using spatial or temporal criteria. The branching events model is especially useful for spatiotemporal decision support systems, as decision-makers are able to identify alternative locations and times of events and, depending on the context, also identify regions of multiple possible events. Based on the formal model, a conceptual framework for a branching events model for flood disasters is presented. The framework has five parts, an event handler, a query engine, data assimilator, web interface, and event database. A branching events viewer application is presented illustrating a case study based on a flood response scenario.

A spatiotemporal framework for building evacuation events is developed to forecast building content evacuation events and building vulnerabilities and is presented in paper 2 (chapter 3) of this dissertation. This work investigates the spatiotemporal properties required to trigger building evacuation events in the floodplain during a flood disaster. The spatial properties for building risks are based on topography, flood inundation, building location, building elevation, and road access to determine five categories of vulnerability, vulnerable basement, flooded basement, vulnerable first-floor, flooded first-floor, and road access. The amount of time needed to evacuate each building is determined by the number of vulnerable floors, the number of movers, the mover rate, and the weight of the contents to be moved. Based upon these properties, six possible evacuation profiles are created. Using this framework, a model designed to track the spatiotemporal patterns of building evacuation events is presented. The model is based upon flood forecast predictions that are linked with building properties to create a model that captures the spatiotemporal ordering of building vulnerabilities and building content evacuation events. Applicable to different communities at risk from flooding, the evacuation model is applied a historical flood for a university campus, demonstrating how the defined elements are used to derive a pattern of vulnerability and evacuation for a campus threatened by severe flooding.

Paper 3 (Chapter 4) of this dissertation presents a modeling approach for representing event-based response risk. Surveys were sent to emergency managers in six states to determine the priorities of decision makers during the response phase of flood disasters. Based on these surveys, nine response events were determined to be the most important during a flood response, flooded roads, bridges closed, residential evacuations, residential flooding, commercial flooding, agricultural damage, power outage, sheltering, sandbagging. Survey participants were asked to complete pairwise comparisons of these nine events. An analytic hierarchy process analysis was completed to weight the response events for each decision-maker. A k-means clustering analysis was then completed to form 4 distinct profiles, mixed rural and urban, rural, urban, and high population - low population density. The average weights from each profile were calculated. The weights for each profile were then assigned to geospatial layers that identify the locations of these events. These layers are combined to form a map representing the event-based response risk for an area. The maps are then compared against the response events that actually occurred during a flood disaster in June 2008 in two communities.


Branching events model, flood evacuations, flood hazards, flood response decision-making, spatiotemporal data modeling, temporal GIS


xi, 119 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-119).


Copyright 2013 Shane Hubbard

Included in

Geography Commons