Land Suitability Analysis for Homestays/ Hotels

Introduction

Land Suitability Analysis is a GIS based process applied to determine the suitability of a specific area for considered or defined use, i.e. it reveals the suitability of an area regarding its intrinsic characteristics (suitable or unsuitable). The main objective of the land evaluation is the prediction of the inherent capacity of a land unit to support a specific land use for a long period of time without deterioration, in order to minimize other related socio-economic and environmental costs. It is an interdisciplinary approach as it includes the information from different domains which is measures in different scales. GIS is the tool for input, storage, analysis and output of spatial data and it plays a major role in spatial decision-making. In multi-criteria evaluation many data layers are to be handles in order to arrive at the suitability, which cane be conveniently achieved using GIS. This article is a step by step guide for conducting Land Suitability Analysis for Homestays/ Hotels using GIS. For the purpose of demonstration, the state of Meghalaya has been considered. It gives a basic framework of the analysis which can be further altered as per the needs of the user.

Objective: Identify a minimum of 5 major tourists places in the selected State (here, Meghalaya). Identify suitable criteria for locating homestays/ hotels. Based on research study, identify the significance (importance) of each criterion and create a suitability mapping for homestays/hotels.

Meghalaya

Task 1: Identify major nodes or centers which will act as a tourist transit point. It can be cities/towns/villages located near tourist sites.

Shillong, the capital city of Meghalaya, which is also the state headquarter has been chosen as the node around which five tourist sites have been selected as mentioned below:

  • Shillong Peak
  • Umiam Lake
  • Sacred Grove
  • Don Bosco Museum
  • Elephant Falls

Here, land suitability analysis for the location of homestays/ hotels has been done for the state of Meghalaya considering Shillong as the node and five tourist spots around it.

Task 2: Identify criterions for locating homestays/hotels. Choose minimum of 5 criterions of your choice. It should be based on rational thinking.

For all the aspects, three classes have been considered for easy understanding and analysis and to maintain uniformity amongst all the aspects. Three classes would clearly and simply imply good, moderate and poor location.

An important point that has been kept in mind while choosing the five criterions was that Meghalaya is a hilly region which makes slope an important aspect to be considered. As per the norms, no construction is feasible on the land with slope greater than 30 degrees. So, three classes have been made as less than 15 degree (good location), 15-30 degree (moderate location) and more than 30 degrees (poor location). A maximum of 30 percent of weightage has been given to this aspect as it seems to be the most important parameter as an environment planner. Safety is the priority and construction on land which is unfit for development is really dangerous.

Next aspect is distance from road. 25 percent of weightage has been given to this parameter. It is really important to have proper connectivity of the homestay/ hotel with other parts of the state or city. Absence of roads would simply mean that the particular property is inaccessible. From a tourist point of view, such property would not be preferred as travelling within the city/state or nearby areas would become really challenging in terms of money, time and comfort. Considering all these points, the three classes are taken as less than 1 km, 1-3 km, more than 3 km.

Third parameter is distance from the node/city (Shillong) with a weightage of 20 percent. Nearness to the city has many advantages as the city would consist of market, health services and other important facilities. So, this single parameter indirectly covers a lot of other aspects. The three class intervals considered for this aspect are less than 1 km, 1-3 km, more than 3 km. The reason behind taking these class intervals is that in order to avail the facilities (as mentioned above), it is important to be located near the node/ city. Also in the hilly areas, distance seems larger compared to flat land. Thus, the class intervals have been kept low.

Distance from the tourist site is the fourth aspect with 15 percent weightage. As a tourist, looking out for a hotel near the tourist locations would be a real advantage. Since the tourist locations are not always closely located, three class intervals taken for this aspect are less than 5 km, 5-10 km, more than 10 km.

Last aspect is distance from airport. Since there is no railway station located near the selected node (Shillong), only airport has been considered. Due to absence of railway station, airport is an important transport node that provides connectivity to the different parts of the country with the state of Meghalaya and Shillong city particularly. Since visit to airport is not frequent as a tourist, three class intervals are taken as less than 5 km, 5-10 km, more than 10 km.

S. No. Aspect Significance Score (Percent) Class Intervals Significance Reason
1 Slope 30 Less than 5 km, 5-10 km, more than 10 km Slope is an important aspect in hilly regions for the purpose of construction and development.
2 Distance from the road 25 Less than 1 km, 1-3 km, more than 3 km Absence or more distance from the roads would simply mean that the particular property is inaccessible. From a tourist point of view, such property would not be preferred as travelling within the city/state or nearby areas would become really challenging in terms of money, time and comfort.
3 Distance from the node/city (Shillong) 20 Less than 1 km, 1-3 km, more than 3 km Nearness to the city has many advantages as the city would consist of market, health services and other important facilities. So, this single parameter indirectly covers a lot of other aspects.
4 Distance from the tourist site 15 Less than 5 km, 5-10 km, more than 10 km As a tourist, looking out for a hotel near the tourist locations would be a real advantage.
5 Distance from airport 10 Less than 5 km, 5-10 km, more than 10 km Due to absence of railway station, airport is an important transport node that provides connectivity to the different parts of the country with the state of Meghalaya and Shillong city particularly.
Total 100%

Steps undertaken for Land Suitability Analysis

Step 1: Georeferenced file from earlier Assignment with all features classes was considered for the analysis.

Step 2: Identified Shillong as the node for the purpose of the assignment

Step 3: Marked five tourist locations around Shillong and created feature class for Shillong airport.

Step 4: Created fishnet using ‘Create Fishnet’ from Data Management tool.

               For calculation of Cell size Width and Height

  • Right click on the state boundary/ tourist spots and click on Source.
  • From the extent, subtract Top and Bottom figures and Left and Right figures. Divide the two figures obtained by 250. Consider the lowest figure and take it as cell size width and height.

Step 5: Click on ‘Intersect’ in Analysis tool to clip the fishnet. Here input features would be fishnet and state boundary. This would make the fishnet boundary as same as state boundary (which was rectangular in earlier step). Also, this would help in limiting the analysis to the extent of state boundary only.

Step 6: Download ASTER DEM files for the corresponding state in dem.tif format.

Step 7: Insert all the DEM files in ArcMap. Go to raster – Raster dataset – Create Raster dataset and input all the DEM files. Layer gets added with low and high value as 0.

Step 8: Remove the layer added in above step, Go to raster – Raster dataset – Mosaic. Input all the downloaded dem.tif files and select thee .tif file generated in last step as target raster. Now a new layer gets added with proper and differential lower and upper value. This layer shows the slope.

Step 9: Now go to Arc Toolbox – Spatial Analyst tools – Distance – Euclidean distance. A dialog box appears. For each parameter except slope, select the input raster of feature source data from dropdown (that particular layer), output distance raster (folder where output will be saved) and output cell size as calculated in earlier steps.

Step 10: Go to Environments, at the bottom of the dialog box, choose the processing extent as state boundary and mask the analysis by selecting state boundary layer under raster analysis. This limits the extent of analysis to the particular chosen layer.

Step 11: A new layer gets created. Right click on the layer, Layer Properties dialog box appears. Go to Symbology, change the desired classes (3 in this case) and click on classify. Classifications dialog box appears, change the classes as desired by entering the values manually on right hand side of the dialog box under the heading Break values. Click Ok. A new layer appears with the desired class intervals.

Step 12: Repeat the same steps for other aspects as well. After all the desired layers get created, go to ArcToolbox, click on Spatial Analyst tool – Reclass – Reclassify. A new dialog box appears. In this, input the raster by selecting desired layer whose values need to be reclassified. Choose the field which needs to be reclassified and the table with values appear in the dialog box. Now enter the new values (1,2 and 3) in this case. Check the Output raster and click Ok.

Step 13: Reclassify other parameters in the similar manner and new reclassified layers get added.

Step 14: To reclassify the slope parameter layer, search for Slope (Spatial Analyst) (Tool) and click on it. Now input the layer created in step 8 under Input raster and choose the location of output under Output raster. Change the environment settings as mentioned in step 10 and click Ok.

Step 15: A new layer gets created. Repeat step 11 and step 12.

Step 16: Now we have reclassified layers of all the parameters considered. Now go to ArcToolbox – Spatial Analyst tools – Overlay – Weighted overlay. Select all the reclassified layers of the parameters considered under input raster. When all the layers get added, enter %influence as decided under task 2 of the assignment. Sum of influence shall add up to 100%. Select the output raster and change the environment settings as mentioned earlier. Now click Ok.

Step 17: A layer with weighted values (considering all the parameters) gets created which is the final layer and shows land suitability.

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