A comparative assessment of GIS-based data mining models and a novel ensemble model in groundwater well potential mapping

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Journal Article
Journal of Hydrology, 2017, 548 pp. 471 - 483
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In recent years, application of ensemble models has been increased tremendously in various types of natural hazard assessment such as landslides and floods. However, application of this kind of robust models in groundwater potential mapping is relatively new. This study applied four data mining algorithms including AdaBoost, Bagging, generalized additive model (GAM), and Naive Bayes (NB) models to map groundwater potential. Then, a novel frequency ratio data mining ensemble model (FREM) was introduced and evaluated. For this purpose, eleven groundwater conditioning factors (GCFs), including altitude, slope aspect, slope angle, plan curvature, stream power index (SPI), river density, distance from rivers, topographic wetness index (TWI), land use, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and lithology were mapped. About 281 well locations with high potential were selected. Wells were randomly partitioned into two classes for training the models (70% or 197) and validating them (30% or 84). AdaBoost, Bagging, GAM, and NB algorithms were employed to get groundwater potential maps (GPMs). The GPMs were categorized into potential classes using natural break method of classification scheme. In the next stage, frequency ratio (FR) value was calculated for the output of the four aforementioned models and were summed, and finally a GPM was produced using FREM. For validating the models, area under receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve was calculated. The ROC curve for prediction dataset was 94.8, 93.5, 92.6, 92.0, and 84.4% for FREM, Bagging, AdaBoost, GAM, and NB models, respectively. The results indicated that FREM had the best performance among all the models. The better performance of the FREM model could be related to reduction of over fitting and possible errors. Other models such as AdaBoost, Bagging, GAM, and NB also produced acceptable performance in groundwater modelling. The GPMs produced in the current study may facilitate groundwater exploitation by determining high and very high groundwater potential zones.
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