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Least-cost paths between n=1471 populations

Question asked by data.officer on Mar 3, 2017
Latest reply on Apr 3, 2017 by data.officer

I am trying to calculate and map least-cost paths connecting every single population of great crested newt that has been observed in a study area in North East Wales across a cost-weighted distance surface.


I have been trying to do this using Linkage Mapper 1.1.0, a set of Python scripts that automates the mapping of wildlife corridors (Linkage Mapper - CIRCUITSCAPE.ORG ). Unfortunately, I keep getting error messages that I am unable to make sense of, and the program's developer has informed me these are likely to be bugs that cannot currently be fixed. 


With that in mind, I am trying to find an alternative approach. I am aware of the suite of Distance tools that are part of the Spatial Analyst extension in ArcGIS 10.3. What I don't know is how to use the Cost Path tool to automatically construct least-cost paths between a large number of data points (1471 species records in my case), rather than a single source and destination point. Ultimately, I want to end up with a map like the attached image. What is the best way to go about this? I have never used ModelBuilder but have a feeling this might be the solution? Is anyone aware of any other tools for wildlife corridor mapping that are freely available?


Thank you all!