Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Applied Science


Daniel Runfola

Committee Member

Anthony Stefanidis

Committee Member

Alexander Nwala

Committee Member

Tracy Kugler


Political administrative boundaries are a fundamental aspect of spatial analysis and play a critical role in understanding the complexities of governance and territoriality around the world. However, the quality and consistency of administrative boundary data can vary widely between countries, regions, and even within the same country. In this dissertation, I aim to address this issue by assessing the quality and agreement of contemporary boundary data, developing techniques for digitizing large map collections, and proposing a framework for standardized data management and information retrieval for political administrative boundaries. Research topic 1 assesses the quality of contemporary boundary data and identifies discrepancies and errors in existing data sources. I also evaluate the level of agreement between boundary data sources and highlight the challenges of comparing data across boundaries and regions. Since maps represent another rich source of boundary information, research topic 2 proposes a novel approach to preparing large map collections for digitization through the use of toponym-assisted georeferencing. I demonstrate how this technique can improve the accuracy and efficiency of digitization, and how it can be applied to a range of historical and contemporary maps. Research topic 3 develops a framework for consistent data collection and storage of boundary information, and demonstrate how this system can be used to enhance the accuracy and reliability of boundary data. Overall, this dissertation contributes to the ongoing efforts to improve the consistency, accuracy, and reliability of political administrative boundary data, and provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities of working with boundary data in spatial analysis.




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