Black Hills Suitability Risk Model
Using GIS to assess risk and guide development planning decisions.
RESPEC conducted a GIS-based risk analysis to guide development planning decisions for Pennington County in western South Dakota. Specific concerns related to development suitability included slope stability, response by soils, and potential impacts to groundwater and surface-water resources. A geodatabase was developed to store all of the features identified as potential risks for development. The resulting Black Hills Development Suitability Risk model uses multivariate analysis (observing and analyzing more than one variable at a time) to evaluate these development concerns and provide Pennington County officials with a tool to aid in making informed decisions. The analysis was developed by using ESRI’s ModelBuilder and custom Python scripts, which document the process involved and allow for easy customization and reuse in other areas.