Tracking Creatures of Bavarian Folklore Using a Least-Cost Path Model

Table of Contents

  1. Tracking Creatures of Bavarian Folklore Using a Least-Cost Path Model
  2. Setting up Your Workspace
  3. Preparing the Data
  4. Skill Drill: Geocoding an Address and Creating a CSV Table to Import As XY Data
  5. Skill Drill: Defining the Study Area
  6. Skill Drill: Acquire Elevation Data from the USGS National Map Viewer
  7. Skill Drill: Acquire Land Cover Data from the USGS National Map Viewer
  8. Skill Drill: Acquire Hydrography Data from the USGS National Map Viewer
  9. Changing Global Environment Settings for Raster Processing
  10. Creating Cost Surface Models Using a Relative Cost Scale
  11. Creating a Remap Table to Reclassify Elevation
  12. Skill Drill: Creating a Remap Table to Reclassify Slope
  13. Skill Drill: Creating a Remap Table to Reclassify Tree Canopy Density
  14. Converting the Hydrography Features to Cost Surface Models
  15. Creating a Total Cost Surface Model
  16. Creating a Cost-Distance Surface Model
  17. Creating a Migration Corridor
  18. Determining the Least-Cost Path
  19. Skill Drill: Creating a Map of the Results

Setting up Your Workspace

By now you should be familiar with file management protocols for GIS. In a workplace setting, having consistent file management rules is necessary to prevent errors and lost data. In this course, we will be using a particular folder structure. For each lab activity, you will start by creating your workspace folder on the local hard drive. If you are a registered student at Humboldt State University working in a computer lab, you will use the desktop as your local hard drive location. You may also use an external USB drive if you plan to work in multiple places.

Avoid using networked drives such as Google Drive. Networked drives can increase processing time and cause technical glitches.

The top-level folder should indicate the lab assignment. Within this folder, create the following three subfolders: original, working, and final. Your original folder will contain original unaltered data. Your working folder will contain data you create or alter through GIS analysis operations. The final folder contains any output, such as JPG, PDF maps, QAQC forms, or lab reports in the form of Microsoft Word documents. This organization represents the core folder structure you should maintain. You can create more detailed organizational structures within these folders if you wish.

An image of a basic folder structure used in this course.
A basic folder structure used in this course.

Disable Background Geoprocessing

In the ArcGIS software, the Background Geoprocessing setting is often turned on by default. This setting allows users to continue to work while a tool is running in the background. However, sometimes this setting will stop tools from running or cause other unforeseen problems. To reduce that chances of the ArcGIS software crashing during this exercise, I recommend turning this setting off. After launching ArcMap, open the Geoprocessing options from the Geoprocessing menu. Under Background Geoprocessing, uncheck the box next to the word Enable.

 Spatial Analyst Extension

The steps in this activity involve using the Spatial Analyst extension. After launching ArcMap, make sure this extension is activated.