Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems

pp 85-105


Introduction to Agent-Based Modelling

  • Andrew T. CrooksAffiliated withGeorge Mason University Email author 
  • , Alison J. HeppenstallAffiliated withUniversity of Leeds

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The application of agent-based modelling (ABM) to simulating dynamics within geographical systems has seen a considerable increase over the last decade. ABM allows the disaggregation of systems into individual components that can potentially have their own characteristics and rule sets. This is a powerful paradigm that can be exploited through simulation to further our knowledge of the workings of geographical systems. We present in this chapter an overview of ABM; the main features of an agent-based model are given, along with a discussion of what constitutes an agent-based model. The distinction between cellular automata (CA), microsimulation (MSM) and agent-based models are discussed along with the advantages and limitations of ABM for modelling geographical systems. We conclude with a brief discussion of important areas for further research.