Environmental Management

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 11–17 | Cite as

Problems with using overlay mapping for planning and their implications for geographic information systems

  • Robert G. Bailey


As part of the planning process, maps of natural factors are often superimposed in order to identify areas which are suitable or unsuitable for a particular type of resource management. Overlay maps may also be used to identify analysis areas for predictive modeling of resource productivity and ecological response to management. Current interest in applying computer-assisted mapping technology to making overlay maps is drawing attention to geographic information systems for this purpose. The resultant maps, however, may be so inaccurate or unable to capture significant units of productivity and ecological response that they could lead to imperfect or false conclusions. Recommendations are made on how to proceed in light of these problems.

Key words

Land suitability Geographic information systems Landscape ecology Resource planning model 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert G. Bailey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.USDA Forest ServiceWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Land Management Planning Systems, USDA Forest ServiceFort CollinsUSA

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