Geographic modelling

lgeo2130  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Geographic modelling
5 credits
30.0 h + 30.0 h
Deleersnijder Eric; Vanwambeke Sophie;
Elementary calculus and statistics
Main themes
At the end of this course, the students will be able to:
·       Identify and characterize a model and understand the mathematics of a process-based model;
·       Translate a physical, environmental and/or spatial process into mathematical language;
·       Grasp all steps of a modelling process, from the statement of a question to the validation of results;
·       Start engaging with professionals of environmental modelling and management in various settings.
Contribution to the acquisition and evaluation of the following learning outcomes of the programme in geography (general and climatology):
·       AA 1.1, AA 1.2, AA 1.4, AA 1.6, and particularly AA.1.7 and AA 1.8
·       AA 3.3, AA 3.4
·       AA 4.1, AA 4.2
·       AA 5.5
·       AA 6.1, 6.2
Most importantly, these learning outcomes are central to this course:
·       AA 4.3, AA 4.4, AA 4.5
The course includes two parts. The first half focuses on differential models. The  second half looks into spatial modelling and modelling practice. The course starts by a general introduction on modelling.
The following topics are dealt with:
·       How to model? The various steps of modelling;
·       Typology of models;
·       Differential models: linear ordinary differential problems (e.g. first order decay);
·       Differential models: non-linear ordinary differential problems (e.g. population modelling, prey-predator populations, epidemiological model);
·       Differential models: space-time dependency;
·       Spatial models: making space explicit, self-organising systems (e.g. epidemic diffusion, erosion processes);
·       Spatial models: interacting, spatially-explicit objects: agent-based models (e.g. land use change)
How to model? Model validation.
Teaching methods
Classroom lectures and practical sessions, involving active learning methods.
All lectures are in English. The course material and practical notes are in English and French "
Evaluation methods
Homeworks and practical reports; written exam.
Online resources
Slides, lecture notes and additional reading material on Moodle (
Although none of them is mandatory reading, the following books are useful sources of information:
Mulligan M., Wainwright J., 2004, Modelling and model building, In: Environmental modelling. Finding Simplicity in Complexity, Wainwright J., Mulligan M. (eds.). Chichester: Wiley.
Smith J., Smith P., 2007, Environmental modelling. An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kot M; 2001, Elements of Mathematical Ecology, Cambridge University Press
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Forests and Natural Areas Engineering

Master [120] in Agricultural Bioengineering

Master [60] in Geography : General

Master [120] in Chemistry and Bioindustries

Master [120] in Geography : General

Master [120] in Environmental Bioengineering

Master [120] in Agriculture and Bio-industries