I was wandering, if out there somewhere are people that use GIS extensively in the field of landscape architecture (or closely related) and how do they use it?

May be some examples of work, maps, visualisations?

I am landscape architect, but at the time I am using GIS mainly in the field of hydrology.

In the past I did some visibility analyses with use of MapInfo and Vertical Mapper extension and also some landscape character analyses/mapping.

Today I am working mainly with ESRI and OpenSource and I do know that capabilities of GIS are much more than visibility analyses. In example in landscape ecology (which is not exactly landscape architecture but there is some remote relation) there are Fragstat and other software that help computing landscape indices also we can build 3D models expressing actual situation more accurate then ever before. There are some examples of use GIS in landscape architecture that I know, but how in general others landscape professionals do use it? What software do they use?

Landscape architecture is a broad and interdisciplinary field. In different countries understood in different way. I do have this idea, that in order to get better understanding of my own profession it would be great to hear about use GIS in landscape research/analysis/design/planning etc.

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    I would think that it would only be worth using GIS if the landscape were as big as a university campus, airport, or a city. I've seen people use CAD in a university campus setting. – CaptDragon Jan 3 '12 at 21:46
  • CAD (Computer Aided Design) is used in other fields as well but still for some purposes people also do use GIS. CAD in land. architecture is mostly used in the design. You can design also by hand on the paper, which does not mean that you can not design in GIS. In fact if not mistaken GeoMedia did evolved from CAD and do have a lot in common with it. I'd like to know how other professionals do use GIS in landscape architecture. I do not think that scale matters, moreover I think that GIS fits best for large scale projects. We do have landscape projects at different scales. Thanks. – Tomek Jan 4 '12 at 6:39

I think the work of Ian McHarg (a landscape architect) is still relevant. Design with Nature was a major influence on development of GIS.

Edit: Also, the GeoDesign Summit (which starts tomorrow in Redlands) might result in some on-line resources. Several of the presenters are Landscape Architects.

  • Why all the interesting stuff is happening in USA?! I hope there will be some resources available online. Kirk, I am realy glad that I asked this question. I did not expect to much of a feedback but answers like this are realy helpful. Its not actual respond I'd expect but it does point my attention in very interesting direction. – Tomek Jan 4 '12 at 20:03
  • I am not sure how to mark right answer yet but any way I would like to wait and see, if there are any more interesting stuff comming in. Is it ok with you? – Tomek Jan 4 '12 at 20:11

I have a good example of the use of GIS in Landscape Architecture, namely for urban green areas. If you colect, say by remote sensing, the locations of trees inside urban areas, also called ornamental trees, and you add alfanumerical information to each one, by field survey, all this inside a GIS environment, you have a powerfull tool to manage, project and mantain urban green areas. For example, you may find out that all the trees in a given street have grown to the point of interfering negatively with people's life and plan an intervention to prune then. I can think on a lot of other examples. :) regards

  • Its an interesting approch to the question. Very practical. In deed, the logic does open certain direction. – Tomek Jan 4 '12 at 20:09
  • I am not sure how to mark right answer yet but any way I would like to wait and see, if there are any more interesting stuff comming in. Is it ok with you? – Tomek Jan 4 '12 at 20:11
  • of course, no problem. :) – vascobnunes Jan 5 '12 at 11:09

A quick Google search turns up some interesting finds:

And as always, look through the references, as they can always lead to even better finds.


Many LA's still see GIS as a Planning tool versus a Landscape Architecture/Design tool. I have worked with quite a few that just have not found the traditional set of GIS tools to meet the same quality or capabilities as a large sheet of paper and pencils or markers.

Many will use a CAD system that supports not only the design but also creation of construction documents to build out large projects.

Now seperate of that, I have worked with companies that had a large campuses and use of GIS to create management plans for there large institutional sites. When you have locations that are very picturesque (often a corporate headquarters) you will see solid systems built to organize and maintain the facility.

I don't have a lot of web-resources for you to look at, versus just my first hand experience working for a number of design firms where we were tasked to do projects like that, as well as general facilites management systems.


I am a GIS analyst and work part of my time in a landscape architecture department, mostly on extreme event modeling (storms floods etc), but also statistical modeling for studies of landscape aesthetics. It really depends which branch of Landscape architecture you are concerned with. For examples google the work of Ian Bishop (Univ Melbourn), David Mark (Univ Buffalo), David Miller (James Hutton UK), Katy Appleton (Univ Norwich), Steve Carver (Univ. Leeds) to name but a few. Not all landscape architects but all working on aspects of visual landscape analysis or planning. And thats before you get into practice, e.g. wind turbine siting etc.

GIS and CAD are gradually merging, see the work of Turner et al. at UCL on isovists in urban areas, and research such as that from Gold and Boguslawski (Univ Glamorgan) are taking traditionally GIS type analytical capabilities (flow models etc.) inside buildings.

  • Since I'm here I will add an update : Digital Landscape Architecture conference, Europe based and some really innovative use of GIS, City Engine, Arduino, AR and related stuff. We run a GI Analytics course at SLU for our students also. – AnserGIS Mar 15 '18 at 13:27

I have used ArcGIS in my job as a landscape architect. Our practice has used the piece of software to draw figures and compile georeferenced data such as landscape character areas, landscape planning designations. The beauty of this is that you can store the layers and quickly switch them on and off and use them on multiple projects without having to redraw the spatial data. We have also used it as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process where we have asked different consultants to give us layers of field survey data, so we can manage it and produce constraint plans with various buffers. This has formed the basis for wind turbine design iterations.


Where I work, as a GIS analyst, one of the things my landscape architects colleges ask from me is to calculate soil volumes changes, to predict the input or output of soil in the project area. Something quite simple to do in GIS.


The Use of GIS and Remote Sensing is essential for Architecture too. It deals with many questions....How about the Geographical coordinates of your construction site given by the Client? Want a birds-eye view of your area of interest? How about a high-resolution image of your construction site? You can easily access this data: GIS and Satellite imagery has found a place in our everyday lives.

The GIS and Remote Sensing is more than just a curiosity. It’s easier than ever to use these technologies for many applications from construction to natural disaster recovery. Many industries, including federal, state and local agencies, and natural resources, architecture, engineering, planning and construction companies, use GIS and satellite imagery as an essential part of their jobs.

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