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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

Identifying Wildlife Habitat Zone using Mapping Technology

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

This is my second post pertaining to 'Location Selection'. The first one - Selecting the Right Location for Businesses' involved analyzing geo-economic datasets predominantly. 2023 Update: Refer a comprehensive walkthrough on Site Selection Modelling here.

The unique aspect about the workflow covered in this article is that we analyze various geospatial datasets to address the requirement - 'Mapping potential habitat for Cougars in Oregon, USA.'

The approach we have used is called 'Suitability Analysis' - this involves the use of multiple parameters / criteria to qualify, compare and rank the attributes within geospatial datasets. While this may sound complicated to those who are not familiar with GIS, the video posted below will take you through the process involved in an easy-to-understand way.

Above all, I think you'd appreciate the value of doing such analysis for multiple important problem statements affecting our real lives every day.


Case Background

Wildlife Officials want to study the increase in Cougar (Large Wild Cat) population in National Forest in Oregon, USA. Adjacent to the National Forest is a State Park frequented by tourists for hiking purposes. Cougar sightings by these tourists have increased recently, although no untoward incidents have occurred, thankfully. The purpose of this study is therefore, two-fold - a) to determine the habitat (geographic extent) where the ever-increasing cougar population resides and b) to set up a tourist alarm / notification system so as to mitigate the risk of Cougar attacks at locations where the tourist hiking routes and potential cougar habitats collide.

(This 3 minute video is best viewed in YouTube's HD setting either on PC or on Landscape mode in Mobile Phone. You may reduce / increase the play speed as per your viewing preferences)

Video 1: Suitability Modeling Workflow to identify Cougar Habitat in National Forest, Oregon, USA


I hope you found the video to be informative and the application of the site suitability modeling technique to be useful. We can continue further spatial analysis on the final output. For example, if the parameters of the two models used differed from each other, we could have used spatial analysis to answer questions such as -

- What are the common areas and uncommon regions shortlisted by the two models?

- Which areas have a greater likelihood of it being a potential cougar habitat (basis previous sighting reports recorded)?

You can actually see and compare the two results from a StoryMap accessible from this URL.

Suitability Analysis output using Model 2: DFW's parameters - Locating Cougar Habitat in a National Forest in Oregon, USA
Figure 1: Suitability Analysis output using Model 2: DFW's parameters - Locating Cougar Habitat in a National Forest in Oregon, USA

A key aspect to note is that the quality of geodata is of supreme importance. Without suitable datasets, the output would not hold any significant value and perhaps, maybe even difficult to generate. The powerful location analytics platform is only a means to an end - geodata is the fuel which drives quality location intelligence.


Update 19th October, 2020: Wondering why is it important to map wildlife habitat? This just happened a few days ago on a hiking route within Utah -

Video 2: Menacing Cougar Encounter in Utah

Scary! isn't it?


Update: 1st March 2022

Below is a video prepared by an Intern at my firm - Tanisha Jain - which demonstrates how Geographic Information System is useful to Site the Location of a New Hospital. Have a look!

Video 3: Siting a New Hospital using GIS. Made by Tanisha Jain



Intelloc Mapping Services | Mapmyops is engaged in providing mapping solutions to organizations which facilitate operations improvement, planning & monitoring workflows. These include but are not limited to Supply Chain Design Consulting, Drone Solutions, Location Analytics & GIS Applications, Site Characterization, Remote Sensing, Security & Intelligence Infrastructure, & Polluted Water Treatment. Projects can be conducted pan-India and overseas.

Several demonstrations for these workflows are documented on our website. For your business requirements, reach out to us via email - or book a paid consultation (video meet) from the hyperlink placed at the footer of the website's landing page.


(The case has been analyzed using Esri's ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS StoryMap module. Much thanks to LearnArcGIS. For informative purposes only)


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