Thursday, July 9, 2015

Location Decisions - Where to Live

Almost there....stay on target...we are at the penultimate week for GIS4048. Well, of course, then there's the final project...but we won't discuss that right now.

For this Module we are working on how to use the Weighted Overlay Tool and conduct a thorough analysis for a couple that is moving to Alachua County.  But this is not just any couple; more on this later.

Our goal was clear; Find the perfect location for this couple's new home. So. here is where the challenge comes in. The criteria is:

The new home location must be close to North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC)
The new home location must be close to UF
The new home location must be a neighborhood with a high percentage of people 40 to 49 years old and
The new home location must be a neighborhood with high home values

So, where to begin?

I put together my map beginning with a Base Map of Alachua County. After this I learned how to use the  Euclidean Distance tool and applied it to NFRMC and UF. I had to Reclassify the layers (Reclassify Tool) to make it possible to interpret and compare the results later. I also calculated the Percentage of Population Aged 40 - 49, and Homeownership, since these were also my "clients" criteria. I summarized the data and presented my map to them:

The above map could be used to discuss the four criteria with my "clients", but we are not done with this hypothetical scenario, It seems my "clients" discovered traffic in Alachua County and want to be very close to work to shorten their commute (they should see the traffic in Los Angeles- I learned to drive their). She is a doctor and he is a professor. They are smart and determined. It will be hard to please them, but I am going to try.

So, the next phase of this map creation was to add Weighted Overlays. This was really interesting to me. The Weighted Overlay Tool was very cool. This tool allows you to take layers and give more "influence" to certain data or criteria. I sat down and had a deep discussion with my "clients":

          The couple is very concerned about the commute to work. For Prof. UF, he knows he will have a set schedule that will only vary with the classes he is teaching. In fact, he expressed that when not in class, he could work from home. Mrs. Doctor, may have to go to the hospital at various times of the daydepending on medical emergencies and patient obligations. Therefore, living very close to NFRMC is the most important factor followed by homeownership. The age group was not a concern and in fact, younger or older neighbors made no difference to them by this point. Taking into consideration these factors, my weighting for my final map was:


I also used Model Builder to crunch the data with the tool.

In the end, I believe my "clients" will find this map very useful in determining where they will live, work and play.

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