Plan A GIS-based spatial planning tool

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

The GIS-based Spatial Planning Tool (GIS-SPT) now goes further than VPT in functions and possibilities and offers analysis applications that are particularly suitable for the comparative evaluation of variants of a possible cycle path. The GIS-SPT thus appeals to planners and experts who can modify or update existing data sets or integrate new ones. In order to gain access to this tool and thus to the data, registration is necessary.

The GIS-SPT is enriched with a large number of data sets which are important for the planning of cycle highways. Here, we will illustrate how to use the GIS-SPT. The tool comprises two essential aspects: background maps and second layers.

Background maps

The tool provides a range of background maps with different information that can be switched between as needed. These maps display, for example, basic information such as topography, existing cycling infrastructure, aerial photographs, city maps and many more.

Second layers

On top of these background maps different layers can be switched on, depending on which information is to be represented. These include area representations such as settlement and workplace focal points (residential, commercial and industrial areas) and protected areas, but also point representations such as traffic stops and points of interest (schools, town halls, other public institutions, etc.) that are just as important for cycle path planning.

These data were compiled from various sources. A great deal of information could be gathered from the Open Street Map. Further data sets have been made available through cooperation with the CHIPS partners.

Note: As expected, each region has its own procedures and focus on attributes, presentation and level of detail of data sets. Therefore, summarizing, adapting and updating these data sets requires a considerable amount of time and programming. With the provision of uniform data sets as provided for in the INSPIRE Directive of the European Union, this step will be greatly simplified in the future.

Based on the two functions background maps and layers, first routes can be designed by means of the following steps:

  1. Routing

The routing feature can now be used to connect two destination points of a possible cycle highway track with each other. A route is created on the basis of existing route relationships. By changing different parameters (e.g. footpaths, cycle paths and roads or by speed) the route can be adjusted. In addition, marking a barrier/obstacle on an existing route automatically calculates a new route.

  1. Freehand drawing

Another possibility is the freehand drawing of a route. It is also possible to plan outside the network, independent of existing cycle path relationships.

Combinations of both variants are also possible. On the basis of a given route, alternative courses are drawn in order to design the most favourable course according to previously determined criteria. The next step is the analysis of the marked routes.

  1. Buffering

The drawn cycle route can now be buffered to determine how many people or points of interest are reached at a certain distance (distance in meters and accessibility in time) from the route. The potential catchment area for a cycle route variant can thus be displayed and compared with that of other variants. The evaluation depends on the quality of the existing data sets in the buffer zone.

The designed and analyzed route can then be exported as a shape-file for further processing in the corresponding GIS program. It is particularly helpful that both levels - the VPT and the GIS-SPT - can communicate with each other. I.e., the data that has been entered. Changes or additions, which the specialist planners (must) make in the GIS-SPT, are displayed updated in the VPT layer after saving.

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