GIS 520 Spatial Problem Solving


Site Suitability Analysis



With this problem, the relocation of black bears within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park had to be performed in order to not only deter bear-human interaction, but also identify the ideal bear relocation sites based on vegetation, slope and proximity to streams, roads and trails. The solution should reflect 3 different kind of relocation sites: Most Favorable, Favorable, and Least Favorable.

Analysis Procedures

For analyses like this, creating a model is very practical, but difficult to construct because we had to really think about order of processes. In the end is wasn't as hard as it was daunting trying to come up with a viable model. The first approach involved getting the data in the correct raster format because we were dealing with slope. The slope tool was used to achieve slope values from the digital elevation of the data. Since distance from streams, roads and trails was also needed, the euclidean distance tool was used to delineate these variables.  Now that the data was available, I had to reclassify it so that a common range to correspond with 'Most favorable,' 'Favorable,' and 'Least Favorable.'



The model after it has been run. The blue ovals are the inputs, the yellow rectangles are the tools and the green ovals are the outputs.






















Map of ideal bear relocation areas

















Application and Reflection

Creating a model for site suitability and weighted overlay is ideal because the model can be used again by just changing the parameters, whether it's with a different weight for values or changing a variable. If you have a job where a lot of the same analyses are performed, then using a model will save a lot of time. Using site suitability with a weighted overlay is ideal when you want to assign more emphasis on one of the variables. It's especially useful when looking at physical characteristics such as slope, or certain kinds of vegetation.

Problem Description

One of the city's older neighborhoods would like to add sidewalks to traverse the neighborhood, but they want to avoid streets with steep slopes so that it's more walkable. They have 3 classification groups they would like to consider, 5-4, 4-3, and 3-0, with the last one being considered ideal.

Data Needed

A shapefile with streets of the neighborhood attainable from and a digital elevation model from

Analysis Procedures

First I would need to make sure the projection is the same for both data. I also want the elevation data to be usable, so the slope tool is used to get those values. Next the values need to be reclassified so that they fit into the three desired groups. Only the slopes meeting the requirements will be kept, or selected by attribute. The weighted overlay tool will assign a value of 50% to 3-0, 30% to 4-3 and 20% to 5-4.