GeoDesign Knowledge Portal

Zonae Cogito

Marxan users can now interact with the Marxan family of software via a user-friendly interface called Zonae Cognito. Featuring an integrated open-source GIS, users can now eliminate the need to purchase costly commercial GIS software to view Marxan outputs. It is a freely available software package that serves as a decision support system and database management system for Marxan software.

Information Source

Zonae Cogito is a decision support system to run Marxan and C-Plan analyses and view their results. It is freely available and incorporates open source GIS software components to eliminate the need for commercial GIS software. Some examples of these useful functions in Zonae Cogito include a Marxan dashboard that allows users to dissect the simulated annealing process and understand the concepts involved as it relates to their study region; assisted calibration routines for the calibration of key Marxan parameters; streamlining and simplifying the development and evaluation of alternative options; and a graphic user interface for visualizing, evaluating, and setting parameters.

Decision Problem Types Targeted

Ardron, J. and C.J. Klein (Eds.), 2008. Marxan good practices handbook. University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, and Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. pdf (3.69 MB) also available at

Game, E. T. and H. S. Grantham. (2008). Marxan User Manual: For Marxan version 1.8.10. University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia, and Pacific Marine Analysis and Research Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Hugh Possingham et al. 2000. Mathematical methods for identifying representative reserve networks. []

Accepts Data Of Process Types (No Longer Available)

Domain Knowledge Modeling Area

All (User Specified Application Domain)

Biodiversity Conservation

Estuarine, Coastal And Marine Management

Tools That This Tool Works With

Alternative Evaluation

Reserve System

Site Search Or Selection


All (User Specified Domain Knowledge Modeling Area)

Estuarine And Marine Ecosystem Modeling

Landscape Analysis And Modeling

Management Process Modeling

Socioeconomic System Modeling

Domain Knowledge Modeling Area

Alternative Generation

Rank Alternatives


Decision Process Activity Types Served

Simulated Annealing

Trade-Off Analysis

Technical Expertise Level Required


Tool Maker

Biophysical Process

Economic Process

Management Process

Social Process

User Defined Process

Glossary Display Property

Text File (.TXT)

Contact Email

Text File (.TXT)

Contact Person

All (User Defined Analysis Extent)

Regional Extent

Subregional Extent

Parent Categories



Forest Fragmentation

Forest Management Classes

Species Diversity



Accepts Data Of Process Types

Windows 2000

Windows 95/98

Windows NT

Windows XP

Planning And Decision Process Phases/Steps Served


Software Type



MARXAN With Zones

Decision Problem Types Targeted

Optimization: The engine, MARXAN.exe, primarily uses simulated annealing to find near-optimal solutions, but it also includes a variety of less sophisticated, but often faster, heuristic algorithms, such as "summed irreplaceability" (Leslie et al. in press; McDonnell et al. 2002).Other: A separate graphic user interface is provided for setting up input data and run options for the engine. MARXAN does not provide graphic display of design solutions, but its output data are easily imported into GIS applications such as ArcView 3.2 or ArcGIS 8.x


Some Scientific Background

Indicators Used

Some Computer/GIS Programming Skills

Methods And Techniques Implemented


Indicators Used




Accepts Data Of Process Types

Regularly Distributed

Scientific Expertise Level Required

The Ecology Centre, The University Of Queensland

Domain Knowledge Modeling Area

Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network


Hugh Possingham

Input Data Format

Accepts Data Of Process Types

Martin Wong

Analysis Extent

Software Tools And Models - All

Spatial Decision Support Systems



First Created


Software Required

Alternative Ranking, Decision Making

Decision Alternatives Generation, Scenario Simulation



Decision Model

Evaluative Models

Analysis Extent

Spatial Decision Support Systems

Graphical Ontology Browser

  • Click on a node to jump to the content of that node
  • Pan to see the rest of the graph
  • Scroll the mousewheel up and down to zoom in and out
  • Rearrange the nodes in the graph by dragging a node to a different position


IntroductionGeodesign Problem TypesPlanning/Decision ContextPlanning And Spatial Decision ProcessMethods And Techniques
methods and techniques; methodology
TechnologyData And Domain KnowledgePeople And ParticipationGeodesign Resources