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Thread: Creating realistic buffers in GIS

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Creating realistic buffers in GIS

    Hello,

    I'm trying to better illustrate 1/4, 1/2 and 1 mile radii from commuter rail stations, yet I'd like portray real distances rather than basic circles. The rail stations I'm trying to highlight are strung along a rail line that runs through an the eastern section of my city, which is mostly 1950's-1960's-era suburbs. These areas generally have large and irregularly-shaped blocks, with limited street connectivity.

    Thus, even though decent numbers of houses, etc. fall within the 1/4 and 1/2 mile buffers, I'm interested in illustrating true walking/biking distances as reflected by on-the-ground street connections, etc.

    I know ArcMap has Cost Distance tool, but is this what I would ultimately want to use? I'm sure other planners have run into this issue, so thanks for considering my questions.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    Since you're dealing with street connections and cost/time routing, TransPlan might be a better program to do this type of mapping. I remember producing a map like the one you're talking about in our CE travel demand class. I would see if your department could get you a copy of TransPlan. I believe I still have my lesson sheets if you need copies.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I agree it sounds like a modeling exercise.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    ESRI's Network Analyst extension for ArcGIS will do what you need quickly and simply. Caliper's TransCAD or other travel model will do that and more, as stated, also.

    You could also develop a grid-based process with ESRI's Spatial Analyst, depending on what you have access to.

    If the area you need is small, you could make your own by running a series of routing choices through Google Maps or similar to develop travel times, input them into your GIS, and process buffers based on the values.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BikePlanIt View post
    ESRI's Network Analyst extension for ArcGIS will do what you need quickly and simply. Caliper's TransCAD or other travel model will do that and more, as stated, also.

    You could also develop a grid-based process with ESRI's Spatial Analyst, depending on what you have access to.

    If the area you need is small, you could make your own by running a series of routing choices through Google Maps or similar to develop travel times, input them into your GIS, and process buffers based on the values.
    Echo... Network Analyst is probably the best if you don't do a ton of transportation modeling, but need something accurate. TransCAD is overkill unless you do a lot of transportation modelling. It's easier to justify purchasing an extension rather than an entirely new program (though TransCAD is an awesome program).

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    Third vote for the Network Analyst extension.
    "I don't suffer from insanity... I enjoy every single minute of it!"

  7. #7
          jhboyle's avatar
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    make that 3 for network analyst

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