Even with considerable attention in recent decades, measuring and working with patterns remains a complex task due to the underlying dynamic processes that form these patterns, the influence of scales, and the many further implications stemming from their representation. This work scrutinizes binary classes mapped onto regular grids and counts the relative frequencies of all first-order configuration components and then converts these measurements into empirical probabilities of occurrence for either of the two landscape classes. The approach takes into consideration configuration explicitly and composition implicitly (in a common framework), while the construction of a frequency distribution provides a generic model of landscape structure that can be used to simulate structurally similar landscapes or to compare divergence from other landscapes. The technique is first tested on simulated data to characterize a continuum of landscapes across a range of spatial autocorrelations and relative compositions. Subsequent assessments of boundary prominence are explored, where outcomes are known a priori, to demonstrate the utility of this novel method. For a binary map on a regular grid, there are 32 possible configurations of first-order orthogonal neighbours. The goal is to develop a workflow that permits patterns to be characterized in this way and to offer an approach that identifies how relatively divergent observed patterns are, using the well-known Kullback–Leibler divergence.
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