Finding a New Landfill Site

11-05-2014 06:04 AM
New Contributor

Good day


I'm new to GIS and I'm busy doing some work in ArcGIS Desktop but I've hit a wall. I have to find a new land fill site for the town that I live in. I have to select the landfill site according to specific criteria. The site must:


  1. be within 10 km from the center of town.
  2. be within 1 km from major roads.
  3. not be within urban ares or permanently cultivated areas.
  4. be at least 15 ha in size, but larger is better.
  5. Not be within 500 m of a dam.
  6. not be within conservation areas
  7. not be near rivers especially on steep slopes (see table 1)


Table 1: Distance from rivers specifications

SlopeMin Distance (m) from Non Perennial Rivers
Min Distance (m) from perennial rivers


These are the data sets that I have available.

File name
LandsatLandsat image of study areaIMG
DEMA DEM of the study areaGRID
RoadsAll roads digitized form 1:50 000 topo mapShape
RiversAll rivers digitized form 1:50 000 topo mapShape
Rivers_areaAll rivers digitized form 1:50 000 topo mapShape
DamsAll dams digitized form 1:50 000 topo mapShape
Ca_locAll local reserves areas digitized form 1:50 000 topo mapShape
Ca_cncAll nature reserves digitized form 1:50 000 topo mapShape


So this is what I've done already:


  1. I've given all the data sets the same projection;
  2. I've buffered the 10 km
  3. I've buffered the 1 km
  4. I've selected all non - urban areas and non-permanent cultivated areas which are 15 ha or bigger from the land cover shape file.
  5. I've exported that to a new output layer
  6. I've buffered the 500 m around all dams
  7. I've added the conservation area layers
  8. I used the intersect tool to over lay the layers and now I can see the portions of land (from land cover shape) that have the following criteria:
    1. are within 10 km of the town center
    2. are within 1 km of major roads
    3. are not in urban or permanent cultivated areas
    4. are not within a distance of 500 m of a dam
    5. are not within conservation areas


I'm not sure if I should have buffered the dams and of that was the best option.


But what I'm actually struggling with is step 7 of the first list. I'm not sure how to tackle this problem.


Could someone please help me? I would really appreciate any help.


Kind Regards

Francois Bekker


NB: if you need more info to help me feel free to contact me on then we can perhaps arrange a Skype call.

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Occasional Contributor III

You may be looking at a 3D buffer to find distances on a sloped surface.  You can only do this if you have access to 3D analyst.

Also, for landfills, you may want to bring in a soils layer. You don't want all that garbage leaking into your ground water supply so a low permeable area may be necessary.