You are here

Agent-Based Modelling and Geographical Information Systems

Agent-Based Modelling and Geographical Information Systems
A Practical Primer

First Edition
  • Andrew Crooks - George Mason University, USA
  • Nicolas Malleson - University of Leeds, UK
  • Ed Manley - Bartlett Centre of Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London
  • Alison Heppenstall - University of Leeds / Alan Turing Institute for Data Science & AI, UK, University of Leeds, UK
Additional resources:

December 2018 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This is the era of Big Data and computational social science. It is an era that requires tools which can do more than visualise data but also model the complex relation between data and human action, and interaction. Agent-Based Models (ABM) - computational models which simulate human action and interaction – do just that.


This textbook explains how to design and build ABM and how to link the models to Geographical Information Systems. It guides you from the basics through to constructing more complex models which work with data and human behaviour in a spatial context. All of the fundamental concepts are explained and related to practical examples to facilitate learning (with models developed in NetLogo with all code examples available on the accompanying website).  You will be able to use these models to develop your own applications and link, where appropriate, to Geographical Information Systems.

All of the key ideas and methods are explained in detail:

  • geographical modelling;
  • an introduction to ABM;
  • the fundamentals of Geographical Information Science;
  • why ABM and GIS;
  • using QGIS;
  • designing and building an ABM;
  • calibration and validation;
  • modelling human behavior.

An applied primer, that provides fundamental knowledge and practical skills, it will provide you with the skills to build and run your own models, and to begin your own research projects.

Chapter 1 Agent-based Modelling and Geographical Information Systems
Chapter 2 Introduction to Agent-based Modelling
Chapter 3 Designing and Developing an Agent-based Model
Chapter 4 Building Agent-based Models with NetLogo
Chapter 5 Fundamentals of GIS
Chapter 6 Integrating Agent-based Models and GIS
Chapter 7 Modelling Human Behaviour
Chapter 8 Networks
Chapter 9 Spatial Statistics
Chapter 10 Evaluating Models: Verification, Calibration, Validation
Chapter 11 Alternative Modelling Approaches
Chapter 12 Summary and Outlook

A great introduction for all those interested in learning about agent-based simulation where physical space is an important factor. Importantly this integrates GIS and other common geographic approaches with simulation approaches. Both beginners and more advanced researchers will find a lot of useful information here.

Bruce Edmonds
Manchester Metropolitan University

A highly original textbook linking complex systems and agent-based modeling with GIS using theoretical and methodological perspectives, software implementations, and real-world applications. A much-needed book for students at all levels to learn about geosimulation and modelling with geographic automata.

Suzana Dragicevic
Simon Fraser University

This textbook is a must-have for everybody who wants to learn or know about agent-based models integrated with geographic information systems. It combines in-depth introductions to basic concepts with hands-on advice on technical detail and covers all relevant aspects. 

Volker Grimm
Volker Grimm, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig

I fully expect to recommend individual chapters to students when they come to me with detailed questions, when they need a refresher on some of the concepts, or when they show specific knowledge gaps that need to be filled in.

Julia Kasmire
University of Manchester
SAGE Journal: Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science

The textbook shows an interesting and innovative way of approaching the themes of scientific research in architecture courses. On the one hand, it introduces the theme of agents and behaviour modelling, on the other, it allows consistent use of GIS in an academic environment, with immediacy and effectiveness.

Dr Marco Spada
School of Arts and Humanities, University of Suffolk
March 10, 2020

Crooks et al pave the way to agent-based modeling in an understandable and motivating way for my students. As a lecturer, I am able to structure my teaching units very well according to the book and link a number of sections of this book with concrete activities in the seminar. Therefore, this book is also a very good support for me, which I would like to recommend to other lecturers.

Mr Wolfgang Kotowski
Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
August 17, 2019

Andrew Crooks

Nick Malleson

Ed Manley

Alison Heppenstall

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781473958654
ISBN: 9781473958647

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.