Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Charles Emerson

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Anemone

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

The development and testing of predictive models for identifying productive fossil localities represents a promising interdisciplinary endeavor among geographic information scientists, paleoanthropologists, and vertebrate paleontologists. This thesis analyzed high resolution (2m spatial resolution) commercial satellite imagery from the Worldview-2 satellite of five areas of the Great Divide Basin using a GEographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) technique, which segments the image into spectrally homogeneous, multi-pixel image objects. In addition to allowing statistical analysis of the spectral characteristics of the image objects, GEOBIA techniques also let analysts incorporate expert knowledge and contextual information to improve classification accuracy. The spectral characteristics of the image objects that represent a highly productive sandstone locality (Tim’s Confession, WMU-VP-220) were used to create a classification scheme to pinpoint areas in the Great Divide Basin that were highly likely of being fossiliferous. During the summer field season of 2013, thirty one locations across five satellite images with clusters of predicted fossil localities were surveyed. At thirteen of these locations fossils were recovered, leading to the documentation of twenty five new fossil localities.

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