Background: running a least cost path analysis across mountains in middle east for archaeology project. Ideally, pick several points across an arbitrary interval distance (e.g. 1 km apart) and same for destination on other side of mountains.

Not sure which software to use. ArcGIS doesn't seem like it would do well with this kind of thing. I ruled out ArcGIS mainly due to favoring the r.walk module in GRASS and the ability to employ K-moves. The accumulated cost surface isn't all that relevant in this project because the scope is the Middle/Late Bronze Age and things like land use and vegetative cover (NDVI) just don't apply.

Considering the scope involves several origin/destination points in the foothills of a mountain range on either side, the cost surface involves slope and aspect purely (would've involved hydrology features but the data isn't there).

Moving forward, the project is broadly established as an LCA involving a set of paths that minimizes time, and another set that minimizes energy. The time/cost function seems ideally suited in GRASS r.walk; however I'm lost as to the specific workflow. The energy/cost seems like it could involve one of two processes. 1) manage a workflow with r.walk; or (since I'm much more familiar with ArcGIS) reclassify a slope raster with energy consumption data (i.e. Minetti 2002) and run the cost path tool while maintaining the aspect raster as backlink.


closed as too broad by Martin F, PolyGeo Dec 2 '14 at 21:29

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • possible duplicate of Road-construction (alignment) tools – Martin F Dec 2 '14 at 20:59
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    What is the reason why you've ruled out ArcGIS? – phloem Dec 2 '14 at 21:01
  • As it stands I think your question is too broad for our focussed Q&A format. To bring it on topic, I think, will require you editing it to provide more details of your requirements as background and the research that seems to have led you to discount one GIS platform as being able to meet them. – PolyGeo Dec 2 '14 at 21:35
  • Hello Alex, I think you want r.walk and r.drain of GRASS GIS. I'm also archaeologist and I think are the the best for this kind of analysis. – Luismi Dec 2 '14 at 22:12
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    As an archaeologist I feel pretty comfortable saying that ArcGIS is well suited for that kind of work. There's even a built in tool called "Cost Path". – Kevin Dec 2 '14 at 22:14