Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Lab 5: Suitability Analysis
The GIS process of suitability analysis is a helpful tool used to examine whether or not a given area is the able to sustain new buildings such as housing complexes or stadiums or landfills. It is stated in Wikipedia that “the basic premise of suitability analysis is that each aspect of the landscape has intrinsic characteristics that are in some degree either suitable or unsuitable for the activities being planned.” The way in which suitable status is gained is by an analysis of many different factors possibly ranging from location of given site near water source, elevation of given area or proximity near possible caution areas or even the factor of different terrain types available. Not only would physical and material aspects be taken into account, but also societal, economic and cultural perspectives will influence whether or not a site will be able or suitable to be built on.
The Landfill Suitability map that was made as part of the exercise demonstrates how different factors will account for the suitability of the area. The proposed arithmetic model shows that if you add up the different factors: ground cover, distance from site, elevation, soil drain ability, and stream buffers, it will give you a total equation for whether or not certain areas in Gallatin County, Montana are deemed suitable or unsuitable. The lab illustrates how these factors play vital roles, what is not taken into account on this map is whether or not the population will find certain areas suitable. The people’s voice is important as well since it is the make-up of the social factor in site planning.
The article on Kettleman City, California talks about two senators calling for a stop on plans to expand the state's largest toxic waste landfill due to investigations into birth defect near the city. This expansion should be stopped if they even believe with the slightest notion that this may be harmful to the population in the vicinity. An immediate suitability analysis should be done to examine and evaluate the plans of the landfill expansion.
If it is shown that the existing landfill has caused harm on the population, then the social factor will definitely turn against the expansion. The existing site should be reevaluated to see whether or not there is a leakage into the possible water supply. The senators pledged to give $4 million to upgrade the city’s drinking water system, which contains unusually high levels of arsenic due to farming chemicals. Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has oversight over the 1,600-acre landfill will be presented with the information and hopefully she will perform a suitability analysis to see if the land is adequate for a landfill expansion. There may even be a possibility that the land is not suitable for the existing landfill that it is already on.
Through the Recovery Act, they are hoping to build a water treatment plant to make sure residents have safe drinking water to drink. Suitability analysis is concerned with identifying areas and locations most suitable for a given land use, such as a landfills and this research can be vital in saving lives. These techniques can be applied to other situations such as the proposed water facility site. It can also go through the process of suitability analysis to make sure that the water supply will no long be contaminated by anything. I feel that the GIS process of suitability analysis is a very important one that can help save lives in the present as well as the future.