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Paul Saunders



The ease of accessibility and methods for its calculation has been an integral part of
Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Accessibility is currently used worldwide for
assessing the best location for schools, hospitals, retail outlets, etc. (Cuthbert and
Anderson 2002, Bagheri et al 2006, Black et al 2004). It has also spurred the
development of GIS tools designed specifically for addressing accessibility issues, such
as ESRI’s Business Analyst (ESRI 2006). In this report we will be conducting an
evaluation of the best location for a new community centre for residents of the district of
Salford for whom English is a second language (ESL). The new community centre must
be located at one of the existing Citizen Advice Bureaus (CAB) within Salford (Figure

Figure 1: Citizen Advice Bureau Offices, District of Salford.


Methods for this evaluation are outlined in Smith (2006). Data for the analysis was
obtained from UKBORDERS (, district of Salford ward
boundries, and CasWeb (, ward census statistics for the
district of Salford. The census ward statistics did not provide information on the primary

Assignment 2 Part 1 1
language of residents so the country of birth and ethnic background was used as an
indicator of a primary language other than English. The attributes selected can be seen in
Table 1.

Table 1: Attribute Used to Determine Number of Residents Using English as a

Second Language.

Attribute Group Attribute Reference No.

Country of Birth Other EU Countries Ks005007
Country of Birth Elsewhere Ks005008
Ethnic Background Indian Ks006009
Ethnic Background Pakistani Ks006010
Ethnic Background Bangladeshi Ks006011
Ethnic Background Other Asian Ks006012
Ethnic Background Chinese Ks006016
Ethnic Background Other Ethnic Group Ks006017

Values for these attributes were combined to create a new attribute, ESL_TOTAL. This
attribute was assigned to the centroids of all wards found in the Salford district. All
accessibility analysis was conducted using this combined attribute.

In addition, accessibility was also evaluated using fixed kernel densities, which has been
used extensively for urban landscape analysis, and polygon in polygon analysis
(Thurstain-Goodwin and Unwin 2000). The primary tool for conducting this analysis
was an extention to Arcgis 9 called Hawths Tools
( The method for creating kernel density
models and conducting polygon in polygon analysis are available online (Beyer 2006a,
Beyer 2006b). The centroids of all wards in the Salford district were used, being
weighted by the value of the ESL_TOTAL attribute. A smoothing factor was
established by conducting a point distance analysis using arcgis and kernels at the 10, 25,
50, 90, 95% levels were created.. A 2.5 km circular buffer was created around each CAB
office location, inside which all polygon in polygon analysis, utilizing the kernel density
results, analysis took place.


Results for the first section of this accessibility analysis are shown in Figure 2 and the
result of the fixed kernel density analysis in shown in Figure 3. The polygon in polygon
analysis results are listed in Table 2.

Assignment 2 Part 1 2
Figure 2: Citizen Advice Bureau Offices, District of Salford, Ranked for
Accessibility by ESL Clients (larger the symbol greater the accessibility).

Figure 3: Fixed Kernel Densities for Residents Using ESL, District of Salford.

Assignment 2 Part 1 3
Table 2: Polygon in Polygon Analysis for a 2.5 km Area around Salford CAB’s.

% Kernel Density 1 2 3 4
10 4.3 2.1 0.1 0.0
25 8.9 4.9 1.6 1.4
50 13.2 10.4 6.9 6.4
90 19.1 16.8 16.3 15.5
95 19.6 17.6 18.8 18.4


The use of both the accessibility equation and fixed kernel density model identified the
Salford City CAB as the best location to place a community centre for residents with
ESL. The use of the attributes chosen to establish the number of residents in the ESL
category relies upon the assumption that individuals represented by the attributes use
English as a second language. It also assumes that any variation in the number of
individuals represented incorrectly as members of the ESL community through the use of
the selected attributes will be the same for all wards represented.

Although the use of an accessibility equation allowed for the identification of the best
CAB location for the community centre the simple representation does not give an
indication why this location was selected. This is in contrast to the map showing the
continuous kernel densities, which allows the viewer to gain an understanding of the
distribution of ESL residents throughout the district (Miller and Wentz 2003). The use of
polygon in polygon analysis, like the use of the accessibility equation, allows us to
quantify information displayed on created maps. The difference between the two
methods is that the steps are reversed.

The limitation on the method outlined in the tutorial is the tedious and time consumpting
nature of the exercise if some of the steps were not automated. For large dataset this
method would not be practical. This is in contrast to the kernel method used, where all
steps involved are automated and can be executed through the Arcgis Toolbox or through
free downloadable Arcgis extensions.


As with all techniques the process and the data that goes into it are in most cases dictated
by the knowledge and expertise on the person using the system and in other cases,
dictated by the limitation imposed by what data is currently available.


Bagheri N, Benwell G. L. and Holt A., (2006) Primary Health Care Accessibilty for
Rural Otago: “A Spatial Analysis”, Health Care & Informatics Review Online, Primary

Assignment 2 Part 1 4
Care and Beyond: Building the e-Bridge to Integrated Care, 1 September 2006 – HINZ

Beyer, H (2006a) Kernel Density Estimator. [Internet] Hawth’s Analysis Tools for
Arcgis. Available from:<> [Accessed 12
November 2006]

Beyer, H (2006b) Polygon in Polygon Analysis. [Internet] Hawth’s Analysis Tools for
Arcgis. Available from: <>
[Accessed 12 November 2006].

Black M., Ebener S., Aguilar P. N., Vidaurre M. and El Morjani Z. (2006), Using GIS to
Measure Physical Accessibility to Health Care [Internet] World Health Organization.
Available from: <>
[Accessed 12 November 2006].

Cuthbert, A. L. and Anderson, W. P. (2002), Using Spatial Statistics to Examine the

Pattern of Urban Land Development in Halifax-Dartmouth, The Professional
Geographer, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 521-532.

ESRI 2006, Arcgis Business Analyst. [Internet] ESRI Canada. Available from:
[Accessed 12 November 2006].

Miller, H. J. and Wentz, E. A. (2003), Representation and Spatial Analysis in Geographic

Information Systems, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 93, no. 3,
pp. 574-594.

Smith G.R. (2006), Working with Attribute Data. [Internet] Unigis UK. Available from:
AA2_Ex1.pdf> [Accessed 12 November 2006].

Thurstain-Goodwin, M. & Unwin, D. (2000), Defining and Delineating the Central Areas
of Towns for Statistical Monitoring Using Continuous Surface Representations,
Transactions in GIS, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 305-317.

Assignment 2 Part 1 5

The establishment of new landfill (WDS) sites has always been problematic and is
becoming more so as human population density increases in many areas. This has led to
the development of various procedures for evaluating possible sites for new landfills,
which in most cases, incorporate the use of a geographical information system (GIS)
(Vatalis and Manoliadis 2002, Sadek et al 2005, Lunkapis 2004, Daneshvar 2003). Most
of these techniques are based on the use of rasters which undergo various forms of
reclassification, weighting and recombination; but, Lunkapis (2004) used buffering to
identify unsuitable areas for landfill site development. In this report we will use similar
techniques to identify suitable locations for a new landfill in the Wirral District, England.


Techniques for the completion of this assignment were obtained from a variety of
sources. Model building techniques were derived from Ormsby et al (2004 pp 515-550)
specifically Chapter 20, “Creating Models”. Reclassification and overlay of rasters were
covered in McCoy et al (2002 pp 23-38) which provided experience in the use of these
techniques to find the best location for a new school. The completion of this project
required a combination of buffering, reclassification and overlay techniques. A diagram
of the various techniques used and their sequence can be seen in Figure 1.

Data used for the identification of suitable landfill sites in Wirral came from a variety of
sources. Elevation data, Wirral boundary polygon and conservation area points were
downloaded from the Tutor Assignment website ( -
RegisteredArea/stage1_old/unit1/ A landuse raster was also downloaded
from this site but was not used in this assignment because it was not suitable for the
buffering exercises conducted. It was also assumed that the grid size used my have
exaggerated the size of some features and eliminated the occurrence of small scale
features. Shapefiles representing water areas, rivers, recreation sites, major roads and
population areas were created using data downloaded from Digimap
( The data from Digimap had to be converted
from the NTF format to a feature class database using the Data Interoperability Tools
found in Arcmap. Both the line and point features were filtered to create individual
shapefile representing the data utilized above.

A methodology specified by Lunkapis (2004) was adopted for this exercise which
included the following steps: 1. Problem Identification, 2. Research Objective, 3. Choose
a Study Area, 4. Decide on Criteria, 5. Acquire data, 6. Convert Criteria into GIS Layer,
7. Perform Spatial Operation, 8. Analyze Results, 9. Identification of Potential Site
Locations. Steps 1 – 3 were covered in the Tutor Assignment document with 4 – 9 being
represented in this paper. The sequence of operations used can be seen in Figure 1. A
detail description of these techniques and data manipulation used can be seen in the XML
file attached to this report. The following buffers were used in the exercise; conservation
point, waterways, rivers – 500m; recreation sites – 1000m; and population areas 2000m.

Assignment 2 Part 2 1
Figure 1: Schematic of Model Developed and Used to Identify Possible Landfill Sites in Wirral, England.

Assignment 2 Part 2 2
Once this model was run, a map was created showing the best sites to locate a new
landfill and possible alternate sites.


The output map for this exercise can be seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Possible Landfill site locations for Wirral, England.

Assignment 2 Part 2 3
The analysis criteria used in this exercise has eliminated most of the area being evaluated.
Our results identified a small area in the north of the Wirral District as well as a larger
area to the south that could be considered the best location to construct a new landfill site.
In addition several alternate sites were also identified that could be considered.


In both the DEM and landuse data supplied the linear unit used for construction of cells
was not identified. For use in this assignment it was assumed to be meters. In future, this
information should be supplied with the data made available. This would be extremely
important if working at a larger scale than was used for this exercise.

This suitability map was created using the limited data available and could be improved
considerably with access to additional spatial data. Data on geological features, such as
faults and soil types, and high resolution data on water resources would have narrowed
the areas identified as suitable for the construction of a new WDS. For this analysis only
the data on major roadways was used since this would provide the best links to high
population areas. Should the concern be supplying service to rural areas a more
comprehensive evaluation, which includes secondary roads, would have to be conducted.

Criteria included by other researchers, such as the location of schools, hospitals and the
location of existing landfills were not included because; either, the information was not
available or it was felt that other spatial processes conducted would make these
operations redundant (Daneshvar et al 2003).


Although two potential and seven alternate areas were identified the suitability of these
site can only be confirmed by an onsite inspection. It would be at this time that potential
conflicts, not identified during the GIS analysis, could be recorded and incorporated into
the analysis model used. This would allow a refinement of our process and could
possibly eliminate many of the suitable areas identified.


Daneshvar R., Fernandes L., Warith M. and Daneshvar B. (2003) Customizing Arcmap
Interface to Generate a User-Friendly Landfill Site Selection GIS Tool, Environmental
Informatics Archives, Vol. 1, pp 428-437.

Lunkapis G. J. (2004) GIS as Decision Support Tool for Landfill Siting, Proceedings:
Map Asia Conference, Beijing, China, 2004.

McCoy J., Johnston K., Kopp S., Borup B., Willison J. and Payne B. (2002) ArcGIS 9
Using ArcGIS Spatial Analyst, ESRI Press, Redlands, California.

Assignment 2 Part 2 4
Ormsby T., Napoleon E., Burke R., Groess C. and Feaster L. (2005) Getting to Know
Arcgis Desktop, ESRI Press, Redlands, California.

Sadek S., El-Fadel M. and Freiha F. (2006) Compliance Factors Within a GIS-Based
Framework for Landfill Siting, International Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 63,
No. 1, pp 71-76.

Vatalis K. and Manoliadis O. (2002) A Two-Level Multicriteria DSS for Landfill Site
Selection Using GIS: Case Study in Western Macedonia, Greece, Journal of Geographic
Information and Decision Analysis, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp 49-56.

Assignment 2 Part 2 5

The creation of continuous surfaces from point data is currently in wide use throughout
the world for the visual display of such things as pollution levels, nitrogen levels in soil
and snow accumulations. Three widely used interpolation methods are inverse distance
weighting (IDW), spline and kriging. Each of these methods have there own built in
assumptions and limitations. Spatial interpolation assumes that the attributes of data are
continuous across space and that attributes closer together have a higher degree of
similarity (Anderson 2001).

IDW assumes that interpolated values are influenced more by closer points and that this
influence diminishes with distance (Anderson 2001, Biology 483 2002, Spatial Analysis
II ). The advantage of this method is that it is efficient; but, it is also sensitive to the
clustering of data points, which could introduce error. In contrast, Spline attempts to fit a
continuous surface to attribute data with the requirement that the surface pass through all
recorded data points (Anderson 2001, Biology 483 2002, Spatial Analysis II). The
advantages of spline interpolation is that it can produce an accurate surface with a small
number of data points, but; it has the disadvantage of being influenced by large variances
in the data (Anderson 2001,Biolgy 483 2002, Spatial Analysis II). Kriging, unlike IDW,
relies on “statistic distance” rather than “Geometric Distance” which allows for an
estimation of standard error and probability for the interpolated values (Esri 2001 pp135-
136). The disadvantage with kriging is that it is much more time consuming than the
other two methods being considered (Anderson 2001, Biology 483 2002, Spatial Analysis
II). For this project we have selected the IDW interpolation method to create a
continuous surface for NOx in England.


The selection of IDW as our choice for the creation for a continuous surface was arrived
at based on the disadvantages for each method. Spline was eliminated as a viable
interpolation method due to the large variance in recorded values for NOx. Kriging was
considered for its ability to produce more accurate results but the time required for the
use of this method did not make it conducive for the daily production of maps showing
NOx levels. Due to its efficient nature and its ability to produce acceptable results the
IDW method for interpolation was selected. It was noted that IDW may be affected by
the clustering of sample site used but it was felt that this would not affect our ability to
identify hotspots that could be used for public advisory bulletins. The method to create
the continuous surface using IDW was as described in the course outline (Smith 2006).
A power level of 5 was used to emphasize hotspots and the number of sample points
reduced to 8 in order to minimize the influence of areas having low levels of NOx.

In addition, we placed the produced surface on a polygon of England for reference. It

should be noted that in order to clip the produced raster (because of its floating point
format) to the outline of the England polygon the raster had to be reclassified to integer
values and converted to a shapefile. The original raster cell values were then re-instated
in the final map (Figure 1).

Assignment 2 Part 3a 1

Figure 1 represents the map produced during this exercise.

Figure 1: NOx Concentrations for England

Assignment 2 Part 3a 2

The distribution of NOx sampling points represents what Demers (2000 p262) referred to
as an “irregular lattice”. This sampling structure may have developed based on existing
population distributions or as a result of previously recorded pollution levels for England.
Whether this sampling scheme provides an adequate measure of NOx levels throughout
England can not be determine based on the limited data used in this assignment.

Three hotspots are apparent in the Figure 1, one in the Darlington region, another in the
Oxford/Bath region and the last in the London/Guildford area. The highest levels of NOx
were recorded in the London area and may be related to the large population residing in
this area. The distribution of NOx displayed in the map, which seems to be moving from
north east to south west, may have been a result of the prevailing winds on August 20,


The use of IDW provides a quick method, with an acceptable level of reliability, for the
daily production of maps displaying airborne pollutants in England. Previous studies
have shown that IDW provides accurate and reliable estimates when compared to other
interpolation methods (Siska and Hung 2001, Naoum and Tsanis 2004, Jarvis and Stuart


Anderson S. (2001) An Evaluation of Spatial Interpolation Methods on Air Temperature

in Phoenix, AZ. [Internet] Available from:
[Accessed 27 November 2006].


SPATIAL ANALYSIS III [Internet] Biology 483: Applications of GIS Fall 2002. Available
from: <> [Accessed 27
November 2006].

Demers M. N. (2000) Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (2nd Ed.). John

Wiley and Sons, Inc. 498p.

Jarvis C. H. and Stuart N. (2001) A Comparison among Strategies for Interpolating

Maximum and Minimum Daily Air Temperatures. Part II: The Interaction between Number
of Guiding Variables and the Type of Interpolation Method, Journal of Applied Meteorology
vol. 40, no. 6, pp 1075 – 1084.

Naoum S. and Tsanis I. K. (2004) Ranking Spatial Interpolation Techniques Using a

GIS-Based DSS, Global Nest: International Journal vol. 6, no. 1, pp 1-20.

Assignment 2 Part 3a 3
Siska P. P. and Hung I. K. (2001) Propagation of Errors in Spatial Analysis. Proceedings
24th Applied Geographic Conferences Vol. 24, Fort Worth, Texas.

Spatial Analysis II, Introduction to GIS - Spatial Analysis with ArcView II & Spatial
Modelling [Internet] Spatial Analysis II. Available from:
<> [Accessed 27 November

Smith G.R. (2006), Terrain Analysis with DEMs. [Internet] Unigis UK. Available from:
AA2_Ex3.pdf> [Accessed 19 November 2006].

Assignment 2 Part 3a 4

The identification of suitable sites for communications masts is important for the
provision of the best service available and the elimination of transmission redundancy,
which in turn reduces overall costs. This is further complicated when other issues have to
be considered, such as the aesthetics of an area where communication masts may be
highly visible. In this exercise the location of a new radio mast, in the southern portion
of the Isle of Skye, will be determined taking into account its visibility from the adjacent
Cullin recreational area.


The first activity to be conducted was the creation and reclassification of a viewshed for
the Cullin Observation points, as per the Tutor assignment guideline located at
A2_Ex3.pdf. The same procedure was used for the creation of a viewshed for the two
existing radio masts, and it represents the current area of coverage for communications.
The area identified as not visible and no coverage is where we concentrated our efforts
during the exercise and it can be seen in Figure 1. The area selected for the new mast
was in the northwest sector of the image.

Figure 1: Observation Viewshed (purple) and Combined Radio Mast Coverage Area

We now needed to identify a site within the zone of no coverage that:

Tutor Assignment 2, Part 3b 1

1. Provided adequate coverage with a minimum of overlap with the existing
coverage area.
2. Is not visible form the Cullin observation points.

To identify suitable locations we converted the raster to a tin which provided us with a
3D graphical display that made it easier to identify points of high elevation within the no
service area that could be considered for a new radio mast. It was found that the use of a
tin is often more effective and efficient for this type of analysis (Kim et al 2004). A new
point shapefile was created in arcCatalog and used to store the point selected and this
point was then used to create a viewshed representing the coverage area of the new radio
mast. The selection of a suitable point was completed by using the identify tool to
determine the highest point in the not visible/no coverage zone.


The results of this exercise can be seen in Figure 2. This image is a composite of the three
viewsheds created in this exercise and the location of the points used to create them.
From the map one can see that there is a minimum of overlap with existing coverage and
if the observation points were plotted correctly the new tower should not be visible from
these points.


The creation of a viewshed by ray-casting creates inherent problems for the analysis
(Chrisman 2002 p197). The occurrence of a recorded higher elevation in the path
followed will terminate the ray. The method used for this type of analysis using a raster
is similar; but, instead of a projected ray, movement is from cell to cell until one with a
recorded higher elevation is reached (Demers 2000 pp283-284). The use of these
analysis techniques raises the need to ensure that adequate steps are taken to plot
observation points in the correct location, ensure grids are of an adequate resolution, both
horizontal and vertical, to allow for terrain variability, and ensure the accurate
measurement of the vertical displacement of observation points.

Two major problems were identified during the completion of this exercise: the creation
of a viewshed is extremely sensitive to the placement of the observation point and DEM
resolution can have a major impact on the results of any intervisibility analysis done.
DEM’s are available in a variety of types which is categorized by there differences in
resolution (CIS 2006, VTP 2006, Worldsat International Inc. 2006). The issue of DEM
resolution has been an area of concern, especially as it relates to the fine scale projection
of surface features (Thompson et al 2001,Land Trust GIS 2006, Wood 1999, Gallant and
Hutchinson 1996, Haile and Rientjes 2005). One of the reasons for such a variety of
available resolution can be linked to the technology used in there creation (i.e. camera
resolution) but more importantly it is the quadratic increase in the number of grid cells
with each doubling of resolution (Garbrecht and Martz 2000). This puts limits on the

Tutor Assignment 2, Part 3b 2

Figure 2: Location of New Radio Mast, Isle of Skye.

maximum resolution that can be accommodated by individual computer systems if

processing ability and time restrains are limiting factors.

Tutor Assignment 2, Part 3b 3

The above has consequences for the analysis completed in this exercise. Larger grid cell
size translates into lower resolution which then translates into lost of fine scale structure.
This is especially important when dealing with mountainous areas where large, small
scale, changes in elevation is more likely to occur. A grid size of 50x50 was used in this
exercise which would have led to the smoothing of these small scale changes and thus
impacts the creation of representative viewsheds. If one of the observation points used
was actually located on a small peak that was not identified due to the resolution of the
grid used it would have greatly changed the size and shape of the corresponding
viewshed created.

The accuracy of the placement of observation points was found to have a large influence
on the size and shape of the viewshed created. A point for the new radio mast had to be
placed precisely on the vertices of the triangles making up the tin. Failure to do so had
dramatic and large scale impacts on the resulting viewshed layers created. In all cases the
size of the visible area was greatly reduced. For this exercise we had to assume that all
points used for the generation of viewsheds were accurate since there was no way to
verify their accuracy.


Through the completion of this exercise the importance of DEM resolution and the
accuracy of point location have been demonstrated. This has implications for the type of
analysis that can be done and validity of any results obtained form the analysis of data
obtained from existing data sources. Therefore, the first step in any task should be the
thorough evaluation of all data to be used and a determination of it suitability for any
analytical techniques that it may be subjected to.

Chrisman, N. R., 2002, Exploring Geographic Information Systems (2 Ed.). John
Wiley&Sons,Inc. 305 p.

CIS (2006), CIS:DEM Comparisons. [Internet] CIS. Available from: <>, [Accessed 7 December 2006].

Demers M. N. (2000) Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (2nd Ed.). John

Wiley and Sons, Inc. 498p.

Gallant, J. and Hutchinson, M.F. (1996), Towards an understanding of landscape scale

and structure. In Proceedings: Third International Workshop/Conference on Integrating
GIS and Environmental Modelling, Santa Fe, NM, 21–26 January. National Centre for
Geographic Information and Analysis, Santa Barbara, CA.

Garbrecht, J., Martz, L.W. (2000), Digital elevation model issues in water resources
modeling. In: Maidment, D., Djokic, D. (Eds.), Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling
Support with Geographic Information Systems. ESRI Press, Redlands, CA, pp. 1– 27.

Tutor Assignment 2, Part 3b 4

Haile, A.T. and Rientjes, T.H.M. (2005), Effects of Lidar DEM Resolution in Flood
Modelling: A Model Sentitivity Study fot the City of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In
Proceedings: ISPRS WG III/3, III/4, V/3 Workshop “Laser Scanning 2005”, Enschede,
the Netherlands, September 12-14, 2005.

Kim, Y., Rana, S. and Wise, S. (2004) Exploring multiple viewshed analysis using terrain
features and optimisation techniques. Computers and Geosciences, Vol. 30 No. 9-10. pp.

Land Trust GIS (2006), Making effective Use of Shaded Relief. [Internet] Land Trust GIS.
Available from: <>.
[Accessed 7 December 2006].

Thompson, J.A., Bell, J.C. and Butler, C.A. (2001), Digital Elevation Model Resolution:
Effects on Terrain Attribute Calculation and Quantitative Soil-Landscape Modeling.
Geoderma, Vol. 100, pp67-89.

VTP (2006), DEM (Digital Elevation Model) Files. [Internet] VTP. Available from: <>, [Accessed 7 December 2006].

Wood, J. (1999), Visualisation of Scale Dependence in Surface Models. In Proceedings:

International Cartographic Association Annual Conference, Ottawa, 1999.

Worldsat International Inc. (2006), Digital Data: Definitions and Overview. [Internet]
Worldsat International Inc.. Available from: <>, [Accessed 7 December 2007].

Tutor Assignment 2, Part 3b 5