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Publication Date

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Gary Pereira


GIS-based land use suitability tools, land use suitability, multi-criteria decision making, planning support systems

Subject Areas

Geographic information science and geodesy; Urban planning


The goal of this thesis is to compare the utility of two GIS-based systems to perform suitability analysis for strategic land use planning in Coyote Valley, the largest piece of undeveloped land in San Jose. This area is mostly undeveloped agricultural land with inadequate infrastructure. Two GIS-based planning support systems are used to explore alternative community development scenarios to plan future land use patterns for Coyote Valley. The existing conditions data for Coyote Valley area analyzed in this study by using two GIS-based modeling tools: What If? Planning Support Systems and ESRI Spatial Analyst extension. These two systems employ different forms of multi-criteria decision making. The former takes a vector-based approach, and the latter takes a raster-based approach. What If?, being a vector-based tool, presents results that show clear suitability for any polygon-shaped area. On the other hand the Spatial Analyst results are raster-based, they do not provide clear results on any polygon-shaped area. While the results are fairly comparable, What If? seems to offer a more practical option for this sort of work.