Written by Jeff Hatzel
One of the new additions featured in Global Mapper v22 is the ‘Spatial Operations’ tool. Part of the ‘Analysis Menu’, this tool allows users to conduct overlay operations based on loaded vector data. This tool further expands the application’s spatial analysis functionality, allowing users to identify regions where analyzed layers meet specific criteria.
The initial release of this tool includes the ‘Intersect’ operation. This operation analyzes two unique vector area feature layers. The result extracts new area features delineating where the source data overlaps.
One of the most common uses of intersect operations is suitability analysis, finding acceptable locations based on various input variables. Let’s look at a workflow highlighting how this tool may be used to find specific areas of interest.
In this example, we are working with two different source data layers. As you can see in the image below, one layer contains municipal information: roads (black lines) and the municipality boundaries (yellow areas). The green area features represent sensitive ecological regions.
The goal of this process is to analyze the source data to highlight all ecologically sensitive regions within one of the many municipalities. It’s possible that some of these regions extend beyond the boundary of the municipality, which would be beyond our area of interest. We can account for this in our analysis as well.
Setting Up the Spatial Operations Tool:
This tool currently functions on area features, so line features are not included as part of the analysis. In this scenario, we are only interested in one of the two municipalities so we do not need to run this analysis for both regions. Before opening the tool, I selected the municipality of interest using the ‘Digitizer’ tool. After opening the tool, I’m able to specify that I only want to work with my selected feature.
Located in the ‘Analysis Menu’, the Spatial Operations tool has a few options that need to be set. Use the ‘Layer’ option to enter a name for the output layer. The ‘Intersection’ operation is currently the only one available within the tool. Next, choose which of the loaded layers you want to analyze using the ‘First Layer’ and ‘Second Layer’ options. When selecting the municipalities layer, enable the option ‘Only Selected Features’ to ensure that the analysis is only conducted within that region. The text box on the bottom of the tool’s window will provide a message once all of the settings are properly selected, and the tool is ready to run.
Results and Output:
Once this process completes, a new layer will be created. This new layer delineates the intersecting regions of the two source layers loaded into the tool, represented in red below. These regions highlight all the ecologically sensitive areas within the municipality. Since the criteria for this analysis required the intersection of both layers, the output layer may not necessarily cover the full extent of the source layer. For example, on the eastern and northern sides of the dataset, there are ecologically sensitive areas (green) that expand beyond the output regions (red). This is expected as there is no overlap with the municipality in that location.
This output data can be used for a variety of further analysis. These areas features can be used as the basis of selection of subsequent features, have attribute analysis performed on them, and be utilized in many other workflows.
If you would like to explore this functionality in more detail, or familiarize yourself with any other new features in Global Mapper, request a two-week free trial today. If you would like to speak with a representative about how the software can address your unique geospatial challenges, request a demo!