I am new to GIS.

I am currently working on a problem which involves two vector datasets about habitat and land use ("now" and "future"). I need to generate metrics like "number of patches", "mean patch size", "edge density", etc, to complete the analysis of landscape change. I see people using Fragstats a lot but I have vector rather than raster data.

Is there any tool or plug-in available to generate these from vector data?

I am using ArcGIS Pro 2.6.0.

I found one paper from four years ago talking about Arc_LIND, but I cannot find this plug-in anywhere.

  • 1
    Hi Mashant. I actually read a bit on Fragstats but never used it - classifying forest shapes. In this case you can convert the vector to raster for use in Fragstats easily. Apologies in advance if you already know this, but raster data are basically just pixels or cells. If you have a 10 meter by 10 meter square polygon (vector) and you want to convert it to 1 meter pixels, you can simply create a 10x10 grid of cells, which is your raster data. To do this in ArcMap requires an advanced licence. QGIS however is open source and capable. Or GDAL package in Python or other languages. Jan 19, 2021 at 15:05
  • Thanks, yes, I know I could convert it (though only theoretically so far...), I just thought maybe there is a way to avoid unnecessary conversions.
    – mashant
    Jan 19, 2021 at 15:18
  • To my knowledge there is nothing comparable to Fragstats, in ESRI. Your best bet would most likely be R because it's used by so many ecologists, biologists, etc. for statistics. If this is part of a thesis or long-scale project, it may be worth the time investment to learn some R. Quick Google found me this: [landscapemetrics] (cran.r-project.org/web/packages/landscapemetrics/index.html). But if you have Fragstats, want to use it and prefer to retain the vector, see if Fragstags itself has data model conversion function. Jan 19, 2021 at 16:46
  • It's just a short assignment, so I'm not that keen to dive into the R blackhole for this :D. I'm just trying to learn how to do this type of work properly. I downloaded Fragstats now and converted the shapefiles to raster. We'll see what works. Thanks!
    – mashant
    Jan 19, 2021 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


I hate to be the bearer of bad news but FRAGSTATS is functionally dead. Kevin has retired and it is no longer being maintained. Neither version tends to work under Windows 10 (but you may get lucky). Kim WIth's lab has taken it over and moved functionality into the landscapemetrics R package. Among many, one distinct advantage of using R is that there are packages that support the generation of null landscapes. Testing against a null is an essential process in evaluating the significance of your findings.

You can try Patch Analysit (vector plugin for ArcGIS) but, I am not sure about current version support for later ArcGIS releases or ArcGIS Pro. It fell out of development for some time but, I think that somebody picked it back up, at least up to ArcGIS 10. This is the only option that I am aware of that operates on vector (polygon) data. I would point out that if you are wanting to evaluate change in patch dynamics, the vector model is a horrible choice for your analysis. The raster data model would be much easier (eg., y - x) and remove the inherent boundary uncertainty in comparing vector data.

If you would like to stay in the GUI world I would recommend looking at the plugins for QGIS. The LecoS plugin has been around for some time and should be fairly mature. I believe that there is also a plugin called LandMet but know little about it. The GRASS GIS software also has a landscape metrics module.

  • 1
    Thank you, that's really informative.
    – mashant
    Jan 20, 2021 at 22:08

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