Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Tools: Geospatial Modelling Environment

Hawth's Tools was created by Hawthorne Beyer of SpatialEcology.com in 2004 to provide a group of tools that would efficiently and conveniently execute spatial analysis functions in ArcGIS. Hawth's Tools featured three main types of tools: simple tools that automate tasks for the everyday ArcGIS user, tools designed for analysis workflow, and tools for ecology related analysis. In December 2009, the tool set was formally discontinued and Geospatial Modelling Environment (GME) was introduced as an upgrade. Some of the ways GME improves upon Hawth's Tools is by incorporating a greater range of analysis and modeling tools, adding new graphing functionality, and supporting new geodatabases.

Here, we will highlight some of the new, useful tools that GME has to offer. First, GME has a variety of conversion tools that aren't readily available in ArcGIS. With GME, you have the ability to convert lines to points, points to lines, polygons to lines, and polygons to points. These tools can be used if you have a collection of GPS points that you want to use to generate a line feature class, or if you want to deconstruct a line or polygon into independent vertices.

Another interesting tool within GME is one that generates random points. (Hawth's Tools also has a tool for generating regular points.) This is useful if you have a raster and you want to know the value of the raster at a regular interval. For example, the tool can generate a point at every mile and you may use sampling to determine the value of the raster at each of those points.

Finally, the rsample tool in GME creates a randomly generated sample of records in a selected attribute table. This can be extremely useful for randomly selecting parcels in an area for polling or surveying or randomly selecting sites for field work.

In future blog entries, we will demonstrate exactly how some of these tools can be used in the ArcGIS environment, and how they help improve upon the standard tools found in ArcGIS toolbox.