Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Toolkits update

The pace of development of agent-based toolkits sometimes amazes me. No sooner have I written something and it’s out of date (so ignore some of my earlier posts or at least check the ABM sites).

Just a quick note that Repast Simphony 1.1 was released recently and one of its many updates is its option to link with NASA World Wind. So not only can one have a 3D display but can visualize agents with satellite imagery, elevated terrain, and scientific data sets (as shown in the image below). This is quite important for geo-spatial agent-based models in the form of testing its validity, as Mandelbrot (1983) argues that good models which generate spatial or physical predictions that can be mapped or visualised must ‘look right’. Such visualisation of agent-based models also helps us share (disseminate), communicate and potentially influence people about the model as the model’s spatial outcomes can be mapped to real world places which people can potentially relate to.

For a brief tutorial on using RepastS GIS functionally, Nick Malleson from the Agent-Based Crime Simulation blog has recently written an excellent tutorial (and code) showing a small town with a few agents, some houses and some roads. In the model agents choose a random house and then travel there (Click here for a link to his post).

In other news, NetLogo (4.0.3) has also been released and has the GIS extension for handling geographic data is now included (formerly it was separate download).

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