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Find actual distance of lowest-cost path using 'cost distance' tool

Question asked by will_zappa on Jun 8, 2017
Latest reply on Jun 8, 2017 by Dan_Patterson


Does anyone know how to find the actual distance of the lowest-cost path produced using the 'cost distance' tool (or another tool), rather than the calculated 'cost distance'?


For example I'm looking at Italy, and I want to find shortest land distance from each raster cell to the center of the country, only crossing water if it is absolutely necessary (e.g. from islands). So, I defined a base cost raster with land cells given a low value (1) and offshore cells given a higher value (5). Then, I used the 'cost distance' tool to calculate the least accumulative cost distance from each cell to the center (source). As a result, values of the cost distance raster on island cells are much higher than on the mainland as they include the additional cost of having to go across the water - but I want the actual (horizontal) distance. I don't want to set the offshore cost as 1, as then it would cause short-cutting through water in other areas (e.g. the boot). I also don't want to use the Euclidean distance tool and set offshore cells as NA, as then I can't include islands. (Note the approach should be scalable as I want to apply it to multiple countries, not just Italy).