is network analyst right tool for generating animal foraging ranges with restrictions

Discussion created by kkober on Jul 11, 2011
Latest reply on Jul 12, 2011 by kkober
Hi all,
I am currently trying to find a solution for an ecological question and wonder if the way forward would be to use the network analyst extension.

Here is my question: I am working with marine seabirds, which stay in general in their colony. When leaving the colony to forage they will need to return eventually, which means they have a restricted foraging range. The foraging range is known (e.g. they got a maximum of 200km from the colony, in a straight line). I now want to determine the area around their colony which can be used by them by using this maximum distance they might fly, but also to take into account that they do not fly over certain features (e.g. land), so their foraging range will not be a simple 200km buffer around their colony.

While the birds generally do not use particular networks to go to their foraging locations (I have to assume that they simply fan out from their colony), I feel that I might need to create a network  to adress the complication that they don't fly over land.

I never worked with the network analyst so far, so I wonder if the network analyst users can give me a feedback if  that tool might find an answer for my question.

Thanks a lot for your help!