Application of rotation forest with decision trees as base classifier and a novel ensemble model in spatial modeling of groundwater potential

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 2019, 191 (4)
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© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. Groundwater resources are facing a high pressure due to drought and overexploitation. The main aim of this research is to apply rotation forest (RTF) with decision trees as base classifiers and an improved ensemble methodology based on evidential belief function and tree-based models (EBFTM) for preparing groundwater potential maps (GPM). The performance of these new models is then compared with three previously implemented models, i.e., boosted regression tree (BRT), classification and regression tree (CART), and random forest (RF). For this purpose, spring locations in the Meshgin Shahr in Iran were detected. The spring locations were randomly categorized into training (70% of the locations) and validation (30% of the locations) datasets. Furthermore, several groundwater conditioning factors (GCFs) such as hydrogeological, topographical, and land use factors were mapped and regarded as input variables. The tree-based algorithms (i.e., BRT, CART, RF, and RTF) were applied by implementing the input variables and training dataset. The groundwater potential values (i.e., spring occurrence probability) obtained by the BRT, CART, RF, and RTF models for all the pixels of the study area were classified into four potential classes and then used as inputs of the EBF model to construct the new ensemble model (i.e., EBFTM). At last, this paper implemented a receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve for determining the efficiency of the EBFTM, RTF, BRT, CART, and RF methods. The findings illustrated that the EBFTM had the highest efficacy with an area under the ROC curve (AUC) of 90.4%, followed by the RF, BRT, CART, and RTF models with AUC-ROC values of 90.1, 89.8, 86.9, and 86.2%, respectively. Thus, it could be inferred that the ensemble approach is capable of improving the efficacy of the single tree-based models in GPM production.
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