Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Geography and Geospatial Sciences

First Advisor

Dapeng Li


Wildland-urban interface mapping, structure point data, address point data


The increasing wildfire activity and rapid population growth in the wildfire-urban interface (WUI) make more Americans exposed to wildfire risk. WUI mapping plays a significant role in wildfire management. This study used the Microsoft building footprint (MBF) and the Montana address/structure framework datasets to map the WUI in Montana. A systematic comparison of the following three types of WUI was performed: the WUI maps derived from the Montana address/structure framework dataset (WUI-P), the WUI maps derived from derived from the MBF dataset (WUI-S), and the Radeloff WUI map derived from census data (WUI-Z). The results show that WUI-S and WUI-P are greater than WUI-Z in WUI area. Moreover, WUI-S has more WUI area than WUI-P due to inclusion of all structures rather than just address points. Spatial analysis revealed clusters of high percent WUI area in western Montana and low percent WUI area in eastern Montana which is likely related to a combination of factors including topography and population density. A Web GIS application was also developed to facilitate dissemination of the resulting WUI maps and allow visual comparison between the three WUI types. This study demonstrated that the MBF can be a useful part of mapping the WUI and could be used in place of a national address point dataset.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wildland-urban interface -- Montana -- Maps.
Wildfire risk -- Montana -- Maps.
Wildfires -- Risk assessment -- Montana -- Maps.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright