I am quite new at GIS but I have some experience of the basic concepts involved in a workflow of them.
What I currently want to do is to calculate the cost of expanding an existing district heating network to the houses of a village. More specifically:
I have a village of 310 buildings. In the village there is already a network that some houses are connected to. So, basically I have 310 points in one shapefile and another shapefile that represents the existing district heating network.
What I want to achieve is that I want to expand the existing network so that all nodes are connected with the minimum distance to it. That can mean that they can either connect to the existing part or new pipes have to be drawn towards areas and houses can connect to those pipes via sub-pipes (i.e. smaller pipes).
I know that overall this is not a very realistic representation of such a design since no constraints are taken into account, but it would be a good starting point for my analysis.
Thanks a lot!
edit 1: I am capable of using both ArcGIS and QGIS and I do have some programming experience with both Matlab and Python.
edit 2: So far I have looked at Geometric Networks and the distance tools of the Spatial Analyst toolbox for ArcGIS. Could either of those be the solution?