GeoDesign Knowledge Portal

Suitability Analysis

Suitability analysis is a GIS-based process used to determine the appropriateness of a given area for a particular use. The basic premise of suitability analysis is that each aspect of the landscape has intrinsic characteristics that are in some degree either suitable or unsuitable for the activities being planned. Suitability is determined through systematic, multi-factor analysis of the different aspect of the terrain Model inputs include a variety of physical, cultural, and economic factors. The results are often displayed on a map that is used to highlight areas from high to low suitability.

A suitability model typically answers the question, "Where is the best location?" -- whether it involves finding the best location for a new road or pipeline, a new housing development, or a retail store. For instance, a commercial developer building a new retail store may take into consideration distance to major highways and any competitors' stores, then combine the results with land use, population density, and consumer spending data to decide on the best location for that store.

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