The Map Comparison Kit (MCK) is a software tool for the comparison of raster maps.
The program allows users to obtain a good understanding of the differences between pairs of maps, concerning

  • the overall extent of the differences
  • the spatial distribution of the differences
  • the nature of the differences
  • the measurement scale of the maps (nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio scale)

To this end the tool includes a range of algorithms for the comparison of raster maps. It includes 'classical' methods such as Kappa and Percentage-of-agreement as well as some 'state of the art' methods that were more recently developed. These methods include:

  • Fuzzy Set Map Comparison. The Fuzzy Set Map Comparison takes proximity relations and similarity between legend categories into account in order to obtain a nuances view on map similarity. The comparison method has been developed by Hagen (2003).
  • Hierarchical Fuzzy Pattern Matching. This method compares two maps on a patch-by-patch basis. In this manner it circumvents problems associated to cell-by-cell map comparison. Rather than cells, same-category clusters that are found in both maps are compared on their characteristics. The calculation of the similarity is based upon a Fuzzy Inference System evaluation of these characteristics. This method was developed by Power et al. (2001).
  • Moving window based comparison of landscape structure. The heart of this method is an efficient assessment of landscape structure by means of a distance weighted moving window.

For details and examples, please see: H. Visser and T. de Nijs, 2006. The Map Comparison Kit. Environmental Modeling & Software 21, 346-358.

Since the release of version 3.0 in January 2006, the MCK is equipped with a number of tools that help managing (large) sequences of comparison operations. For instance as part of a Monte Carlo analysis or a calibration and validation exercise.

Version 3.2.0 is a stable version and the result of additional development to support very large maps and data sets. Furthermore a number of bugs have been fixed.

Version 3.2.2 includes the Kappa Simulation algorithm. In addition some bugs were fixed related to Windows 7.

Version 3.2.3 includes the Fuzzy Kappa Simulation algorithm.

The tool has been developed by the Research Institute for Knowledge Systems, originally with the only purpose of evaluating output of dynamic spatial models. The software was known as 'Analyse tool'. Since 2001, major extensions to the software have been made by account of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Milieu- en Natuurplanbureau, (MNP). Now, the software is denoted as 'the Map Comparison Kit, or MCK in short. The MCK software is freely available from this website. The MNP is owner of the MCK software with all of its updates. The MCK was developed using the Geonamca framework, which is owned by RIKS BV.