, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 546-558
Date: 26 Oct 2004

Rough Set Rule Induction for Suitability Assessment

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The data that characterize an environmental system are a fundamental part of an environmental decision-support system. However, obtaining complete and consistent data sets for regional studies can be difficult. Data sets are often available only for small study areas within the region, whereas the data themselves contain uncertainty because of system complexity, differences in methodology, or data collection errors. This paper presents rough-set rule induction as one way to deal with data uncertainty while creating predictive if–then rules that generalize data values to the entire region. The approach is illustrated by determining the crop suitability of 14 crops for the agricultural soils of the Willamette River Basin, Oregon, USA. To implement this method, environmental and crop yield data were spatially related to individual soil units, forming the examples needed for the rule induction process. Next, four learning algorithms were defined by using different subsets of environmental attributes. ROSETTA, a software system for rough set analysis, was then used to generate rules using each algorithm. Cross-validation analysis showed that all crops had at least one algorithm with an accuracy rate greater than 68%. After selecting a preferred algorithm, the induced classifier was used to predict the crop suitability of each crop for the unclassified soils. The results suggest that rough set rule induction is a useful method for data generalization and suitability analysis.