Spatial Analysis

Using a GIS-based “Least Cost Path Analysis” we investigated the connectivity among find locations along South Africa’s coast that are classified as Middle Stone Age. The methodology identifies the “cheapest” way to get from one point to another using the least amount of effort. We defined Pinnacle Point as the starting point for this analysis because it represents one of the oldest MSA find locations in South Africa. From there, routes to other known MSA find locations showing similar industries were calculated, concentrating on the coastal areas of South Africa. The criteria defining landscape resistivity is based on topographic information. For the cost layer, we classified the slope into four categories: 0-5°, 5-10°, 10-15° and >15°. The map shows the least cost-intensive ways to get from Pinnacle Point to the other find locations. The resulting pathways are influenced by the main geological structures such as the South African coastal mountain ranges that act as barriers. However, corridors can also be identified that indicate preferential pathways across these barriers, for example, by means of mountain passes. This preliminary analysis gives a first idea about the connectivity of MSA find locations. Map: M. Märker.

Overview of Least Cost Path Analysis

This article presents a summary of least cost path analysis, an important tool in GIS. Least cost path analysis is a distance analysis tool within GIS that uses the least cost path (the path between two locations that costs the least to those travelling along it) to determine the most cost-effective route between a source and destination. This article provides an overview of that topic as well as the requirements and steps for creating a least cost path analysis.

Spatial Analysis

World touristiness map by Ahti Heinla.World touristiness map by Ahti Heinla.

Heat Maps in GIS

Heat mapping, from a  geographic perspective, is a method of showing the geographic clustering of a phenomenon.  Sometimes also referred as hot spot mapping, heat maps show locations of higher densities of geographic entities (although hot spot analysis tends to be used to show statistically significant patterns: more about the difference between heat […]