Create a project

Where can the city of San Francisco build new housing through infill development? To answer this question, you'll use GeoPlanner, a web-based planning tool for regional and local scales. With GeoPlanner, you create scenarios, or plans, based on geographic data layers to explore solutions to complex problems, like the question of housing. Before you start designing scenarios, you'll create a new GeoPlanner project, customize the project's settings, and add relevant data layers. You'll also limit the data to a study area to reduce analysis time.

Create a project from a template

To work in GeoPlanner, you must create a project. There are several default templates available for projects, each with default layers, settings, and symbols. You'll use a template specifically configured for this tutorial, which you'll later customize to more precisely suit your project's needs.

  1. Sign in to ArcGIS GeoPlanner using your ArcGIS organizational account.

    If you don't have an organizational account, see options for software access.

    After you sign in, a gallery of your recent projects is displayed. If this is your first time using GeoPlanner, you won't have any recent projects. You can also explore existing GeoPlanner projects in your organization or on ArcGIS Online. You'll create a new project.

  2. Click Create New.

    Create new project button

    The Create Project - Select a Template window appears. Many of the available templates are named based on what they're designed to be used for, such as economic development planning or green infrastructure planning.

  3. If necessary, click the Curated tab. For GeoPlanner Template for, click Select.

    Learn GeoPlanner template

    The Create Project window appears.

  4. For Title, type San Francisco Infill Development. To make the title unique within your organization, add your name or initials to the end.
  5. Fill out the remaining fields with the following information:
    • For Summary, type This project identifies potential areas for infill development in San Francisco.
    • For Description, type To build new housing in the densely-populated city of San Francisco, the scenarios in this project explore possible solutions involving infill development, or the development of unused land parcels.
    • For Tags, type San Francisco, Infill Development, GeoPlanner.

    Title, Summary, Description, and Tags parameters for the new project

  6. Click Create.

    After a few moments, a new project is created.

    Scenario A map

    The template specifies the default extent of the project to focus on San Francisco, so you don't need to navigate the map to the study area. The template has a default active scenario called Scenario A.

Customize the project

Planning is a broad discipline practiced across many industries, so there are many settings for a project's design environment. You'll adjust a few of those settings to add design types appropriate for urban planning. Design types contain symbols and labels and can be applied to features on the map.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Contents button.

    Contents button

    The Contents pane appears. The active scenario contains a layer named Potential Sites. (This layer was added by default as part of the template.) The layer currently doesn't have any features on the map. You'll add features later, but before you do, you'll create design types that specify land-use types for each feature.

  2. For Potential Sites, click the Options button and choose Design Types.

    Design Types option

    The Potential Sites window appears. The template started with three design types for this layer: Office, Open Space, and Retail/Ent (entertainment). These are frequent land-use types suitable for infill development. However, if you added more design types for other land-use categories, your project could more accurately depict potential sites on the map. You'll add three more design types: Mixed Residential, Residential, and Vacant.

  3. Click Add. In the Add Type window, for Polygon (the field name), type MixedRes. For Label (the field alias), type Mixed Res.

    Mixed res type

  4. Click Add.

    Mixed Res type added

    Mixed Res is added to the list of design types. You'll use this design type to display infill developments that can be used for residential and commercial purposes. Next, you'll change the design type's default color.

  5. On the Symbol tab, in the text box below the Fill color picker, type #E69800.

    Fill color for Mixed Res design type

    You'll create two more design types to represent residential and vacant parcels.

  6. Add another design type with the following parameters:
    • Polygon: Residential
    • Label: Residential
    • Color: #FFF000
  7. Add another design type with the following parameters:
    • Polygon: Vacant
    • Label: Vacant
    • Color: #ADADAD

    You now have six design types in total.

    Final list of design types

    Last, you'll add default dwelling unit density values for each design type. These values represent the number of dwelling units within a feature. For Mixed Res, which tends to have more dwelling units, you'll use 24 as the default value. For Residential, you'll use 18. Vacant parcels have no dwelling units, so you'll leave the default value of 0 unchanged.

  8. In the list of design types, click Mixed Res to select it. Click the Default Values tab.

    Default Values tab

  9. For Dwelling Unit Density, type 24.
  10. Select the Residential design type and set its Dwelling Unit Density to 18.

    Your design types are finished. Later, you'll use these design types to identify features on the map.

  11. Click Save.

Add data

Next, you'll add data layers from ArcGIS Online that are relevant to your study area and project goals. In particular, you'll add data for public transportation, neighborhoods, and the boundary of current infill development in San Francisco, as well as some other layers. These data layers will later help you locate appropriate sites for new development.

  1. On the ribbon, if necessary, click Explore and click Add Data.

    Add Data

    The Search for Data window appears. You want to search for feature layer data across ArcGIS Online.

  2. Click the All tab. Check the Features check box.

    All tab and Features box

  3. In the search bar, type Vacant Land Use owner:Learn_ArcGIS. You added the owner to limit the results to those owned by the Learn_ArcGIS account. Press Enter.

    Search for feature layer

  4. For the Vacant Land Use layer, click Add.

    Add button

    A layer of all vacant parcels in San Francisco is added to the map.

  5. Search for and add the following layers owned by Learn_ArcGIS.

    To simplify this process, keep owner:Learn_ArcGIS in the search box and replace the name of the layer with the names listed below using copy and paste.

    • Neighborhoods
    • Zoning Districts - Public Use
    • Parks and Open Space
    • Muni Rapid Network
    • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations
    • Infill Development Boundary
  6. Close the Search for Data window.

    The Contents pane is updated to list the added layers.

    Data Layers list in Contents pane

    The data also appears on the map.

    Map with default data layers

    You added many data layers, and it's not clear which features on the map correspond to which layers. You'll familiarize yourself with the data. First, you'll look at the Infill Development Boundary, which will serve as the study area of your project.

  7. In the Contents pane, uncheck the boxes next to all data layers except Infill Development Boundary and Neighborhoods.

    Map with neighborhoods and infill development boundaries

    The Infill Development Boundary is the transparent blue polygon in the northeast corner of the city, while the other features are the boundaries for San Francisco neighborhoods. Your study area comprises nine neighborhoods total.


    You have many options for navigating the map. Zoom with the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons or with the mouse scroll wheel. Drag the map to pan.

  8. Turn on each of the other layers one by one to familiarize yourself with their data.

    The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations layer contains rail stations throughout San Francisco and surrounding cities, while the Muni Rapid Network layer shows San Francisco bus routes. Affordable housing should be within walking distance of public transportation, so these layers will be useful later in the project. The Parks and Open Space and Zoning Districts - Public Use layers show areas of the city set aside for public recreation or open space (the layers sometimes overlap one another). Lastly, Vacant Land Use shows vacant parcels that could potentially be used for infill development.

  9. When finished, turn off all data layers except the Infill Development Boundary layer.

Limit data to the study area

The data you added to the map covers San Francisco, but the Infill Development Boundary only contains a few of the city's neighborhoods. You'll create a study area layer using the infill development boundary and mask features that occur outside the study area. Doing so will focus your analysis on the area of interest.

  1. On the map, click the Infill Development Boundary feature.

    Infill feature boundary

    The feature's pop-up appears.

  2. On the pop-up, click Import.

    Import option

    The Import window appears. Using this window, you can create a new layer based on the selected feature. Your layer will become the study area of your project.

  3. For Layer, confirm that StudyArea is chosen. For Name, type Infill Development Boundary Study Area.

    Parameters for the Import window

  4. Click Import.

    A layer is added to the Contents pane under Study Areas.

    Infill boundary layer in Contents pane

    The study area layer is not yet active on the map, however.

  5. Close the pop-up.
  6. In the Contents pane, under Data Layers, turn off the Infill Development Boundary layer.
  7. Under Study Areas, point to the Infill Development Boundary Study Area layer and click Make Active.

    Make Active option

    The map zooms to the study area. Everything outside the study area is covered with a mask.

    Study area on map

    Next, you'll save your project.

  8. On the ribbon, click the Open Menu button.

    Open Menu button

  9. Click Save.

    The Save Map window appears. You can change the title and other parameters of the web map that stores the project data (not the details of the project itself), but you'll keep them the same for now.

  10. In the Save Map window, click Save.

You've created a new project in GeoPlanner to determine appropriate places for infill development in San Francisco. You also created new design types for different types of land use and added San Francisco data relevant to your project. Next, you'll create a planning scenario for potential development based on your project's data.

Create a scenario

Previously, you created a new project from a GeoPlanner template and added data. Next, you'll create a scenario for potential infill development. In GeoPlanner, a scenario is a single, unique alternative plan for consideration in the planning process. A project can contain multiple scenarios that use the same or similar data.

For your scenario, you'll perform analysis to determine areas most appropriate for housing. In particular, you'll create a new layer that shows how long it takes to walk to public transportation from certain areas of the map. Then, you'll compare this layer to vacant parcels. You won't propose which parcels to develop into housing just yet. This scenario will instead demonstrate the current conditions in San Francisco.

Determine walking distance from public transportation

There are empty parcels all over the study area, but not all of those parcels would make good affordable housing. One of the ways you can evaluate vacant parcels is by their distance from public transportation. You'll perform analysis on the BART stations layer to determine the time it takes to walk to each station. But first, you'll rename the default scenario to a more meaningful name.

  1. If necessary, open your San Francisco Infill Development project in GeoPlanner.

    You may also need to make the Infill Development Boundary Study Area active again.

  2. On the ribbon, click Scenario A and click the Scenario Properties button.

    Scenario Properties button

    The Scenario Properties window appears.

  3. Click Edit.
  4. For Title, replace the default text with Current Conditions.

    This name indicates that the scenario will show the infill development boundary as it currently exists, without proposing changes. You'll use this scenario to display key data that you can use to make an informed decision.

  5. Click Save.

    The scenario's name changes. Next, you'll perform analysis on the BART stations. GeoPlanner includes several analytical tools. One of those tools is Create Travel-Time Areas, which takes an existing layer and creates a new layer that shows the areas that can travel to the original layer within a specified time. Good affordable housing should be within a few minutes' walk from public transportation, so you'll perform your analysis with that in mind.

  6. In the Contents pane, turn on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations layer.

    BART is a railway system that travels throughout San Francisco and the nearby cities. There are four BART stations in your study area.

  7. If necessary, on the ribbon, click Explore. Click Analysis, click Use Proximity, and choose Create Travel-Time Areas.

    Create Travel-Time Areas tool

    The Create Travel-Time Areas pane appears. To run the tool, you must specify a few parameters.

  8. For Select Feature Layer, choose Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations.

    You can measure travel time by driving or walking. Because the key is for housing to be affordable, you'll measure by walking.

  9. For Measure, choose Walking Time.

    Next, you'll determine the time required to walk to a station. You can specify multiple times to create multiple travel-time area features. You'll create walking time layers for 5-minute intervals up to 20 minutes, as most people would not want to walk longer than that to reach public transportation.

  10. Below Walking Time, type 5 10 15 20 and make sure that Minutes is chosen.

    Measure parameters

    Because there are multiple BART stations, each one will generate a walk-time area. You'll dissolve these areas into a single layer to streamline the results.

  11. For Areas from different points, choose Dissolve.

    Areas from different points parameters

  12. For Result layer name, replace the existing text with BART Stations 5 10 15 20 Minutes Walk Area and add your name or initials to the end to make it unique.

    Result layer name parameters

  13. Click Run Analysis.

    The analysis pane closes and, after some time, the resulting analysis layer appears in the map.


    To check the status of the process, you can click the Jobs tab.

    Walk-time layer on map

    The walk-time layer has four shades of purple, from light to dark. Each shade represents a different time interval you specified when you ran the tool. For instance, the lightest shade of purple represents the area in which it takes five or fewer minutes to walk to a station. The darkest shade represents the area in which it takes between 15 and 20 minutes to walk to a station.

Classify the walk-time layer

The four walk-time zones in the layer are divided by the time it takes to walk to a station. It's better for housing to be 5 or 10 minutes from a station than 15 or 20. To indicate the higher suitability of these walk-time zones over the others, you'll classify the layer using a scale of 0 to 9, with 9 being most suitable.

  1. Turn off the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations layer.
  2. In the Contents pane, for the BART Stations 5 10 15 20 Minutes Walk Area layer, click the Options button and choose Classify.

    Classify option

    The Classify (0-9 scale) window appears for the layer. You can classify with unique values in the layer or by numeric ranges. The walk-time zones are a numeric range of 5 to 20 minutes.

  3. Click Using numeric ranges.
  4. For Field, choose Travel Time End (Minutes). For Classes, choose 4.

    Field and Classes parameters

    The window displays four scales, one for each walk-time minute interval (5, 5 - 10, 10 - 15, and 15 - 20). For each scale, you'll choose a value that indicates how suitable that walk-time interval is for affordable housing. The exact values you choose are up to your judgment, and using different values can alter your decision-making process. For this classification, you'll indicate that walk times up to 10 minutes are highly suitable, while 10- to 20-minute walk-times have low suitability.

  5. Configure the following scales:
    • For the first class, type 9.
    • For the second class, type 7.
    • For the third class, type 3.
    • For the last class, type 1.

    Classification scales

  6. Click Save As.

    Classifying the layer will create a layer, so you'll add a title and other information.

  7. Copy and paste the following parameters:
    • Title: Classified Walk Areas
    • Summary: Walk-time areas from BART stations in San Francisco classified by suitability for affordable housing.
    • Description: This layer shows walk-time areas in five-minute intervals from the San Francisco BART station. The layer has been classified so that 5- to 10-minute walk times are shown as having high suitability and 15- to 20-minute walk times are shown as having low suitability.
    • Tags: San Francisco, housing, BART

    Classify layer properties

  8. Click Save.
  9. Turn off the BART Stations 5 10 15 20 Minutes Walk Area layer.

    The new layer is added to the map and the Contents pane. It shows the same walk-time areas as the original layer, but now classified on a red-green scale that more strongly conveys the suitability of each area.

    Classify result layer on map

    You now have a layer that can help you make decisions about which vacant parcels to turn into affordable housing.

Import vacant parcels into the scenario

Next, you'll add vacant parcels to the scenario. Among your data layers is a layer named Vacant Land Use, which shows all the vacant parcels in the study area. While you could turn on this layer and compare it visually to the walk-times layer, it'd be more useful for planning purposes if you could change individual vacant parcels to new types of land use. In the previous tutorial, you added design types to the Potential Sites layer for land-use types. You'll import the vacant parcels into that layer so you can make use of the design types you added earlier.

  1. On the ribbon, click Current Conditions and choose Import.

    Import option

    The Import Features to Scenario window appears. You'll choose the source, or the layer you want to import, and the target, or the layer you want to import into.

  2. For Source, choose Vacant Land Use.
  3. For Target, choose Potential Sites.

    Import window parameters

  4. Click Next.

    The next set of parameters involves feature type mapping. You can choose which of the six design types in the Potential Sites layer you apply to the imported features. You can either choose a single type for all features or determine types by attribute information. Because all the imported parcels are vacant, you'll import them with the Vacant type.

  5. Click Select a feature type for all features. For Target, choose Vacant.

    Feature Type Mapping parameters

  6. Click Next.

    The next set of parameters involves field mapping, or matching the fields in the Vacant Land Use layer to those in the Potential Sites layer. The parameters automatically match fields with the same name, so you don't need to worry about these parameters.

  7. For Field Mapping, click Next.
  8. Click Import.

    The features are imported. Because the Potential Sites layer is already turned on, the vacant parcels appear on the map.

    Vacant parcels on map

Explore parcel metrics with the dashboard

You have vacant parcels and walk-time areas. But how many parcels are in each area? Visually exploring each parcel on the map would take a lot of time. To quickly review statistics about the parcels, you'll use the dashboard. The information you uncover will help you propose alternatives for housing development.

  1. On the map toolbar, click the Dashboard button.

    Dashboard button

    The Dashboard window appears.

    Default dashboard


    If your dashboard looks different, click the Dashboard drop-down arrow and choose Design Chart. If necessary, choose Potential Sites and Classified Walk Areas for each pie chart.

    The dashboard displays two pie charts, one for the potential sites and one for the walk-time areas. The charts display the percentage of potential sites within each area. One of the pie charts is a solid circle, as it shows the percentage of vacant sites within the Potential Sites layer (which is 100 percent).

  2. For the Potential Sites pie chart, click the Column button.

    Column button

    The pie chart turns into a bar chart.

  3. Point to the bar chart.

    Bar chart information

    The hover text indicates that there are about 340 acres (give or take a few acres) of vacant parcels in the study area, which is a significant number for a densely populated, highly developed city like San Francisco.


    Data is updated periodically. The exact numbers you obtain may differ.

    Your default area units might be something other than acres. To change the units of measurement, click the Settings button and change the Area Units parameter.

  4. Point to the orange wedge in the Classified Walk Areas pie chart.

    Orange wedge in pie chart

    According to the hover text, 19.04 percent of vacant parcels (about 64 acres) are in the orange walk-time area. This walk-time area reflects areas within 10 to 15 minutes of a BART station.

  5. Point to the other walk-time zones on the pie chart.

    About 4 percent of vacant parcels are within the highest suitability zone. You'll focus on these parcels when planning where to develop new housing.

  6. Save the project.

You've created a scenario for the current conditions of vacant parcels in the study area. You also performed analysis to help decide which areas are most appropriate for the development of affordable housing. Next, you'll create more scenarios that depict possible plans for development.

Propose alternatives

Previously, you imported vacant parcels to a scenario and analyzed the percentage and acreage of parcels within walking distance of public transportation. Overall, you created a scenario that showed the current conditions of vacant parcels in San Francisco. Now that you have a better understanding of those conditions, you can propose an alternative.

Next, you'll create two scenarios for proposed new housing. The first will show proposed housing throughout the study area, while the second will show only parcels within five minutes of a station. You'll change the status of these parcels from vacant to residential or mixed residential to reflect planning alternatives. Then, you'll assess the effectiveness of one of your scenarios using a scenario indicator. Last, you'll export your results to a web map to share with others.

Duplicate the scenario

Your first alternative will use your existing scenario as a base, because it has all of the data you need. You'll duplicate the scenario and change the symbology of certain parcels to indicate a proposal to develop them for specific types of land use.

  1. If necessary, open your San Francisco Infill Development project and make the Infill Development Boundary Study Area scenario active.
  2. On the ribbon, click Current Conditions and choose Duplicate.

    Duplicate option

    The Duplicate Scenario window appears.

  3. In the Duplicate Scenario window, enter the following parameters:
    • For Title, type Proposed Housing.
    • For Summary, type This scenario shows proposed housing throughout the infill development boundary.
    • For Description, type Some of the potential sites for new housing development in this scenario have been marked as possible sites for residential or mixed residential housing.
    • For Tags, type San Francisco, Housing, Parcels.
  4. Click Save.

    The scenario is duplicated. On the ribbon, Proposed Housing is indicated as the active scenario. You can switch between scenarios by clicking the scenario name on the ribbon.

    Proposed Housing scenario active

    Next, you'll change the design of some of the vacant parcels to propose them for either residential or mixed residential development. The changes you make will only apply to the new scenario. You'll also be able to track your changes in the dashboard.

  5. If necessary, open the dashboard.
  6. Zoom closer to the walk-time areas.

    Map zoomed closer to walk-time areas

    As mentioned previously, this scenario is for proposing new housing throughout the study area, and not only within the highest-suitability walk-time area. For this scenario, you'll propose new housing based on the size of the parcel, prioritizing larger parcels.

  7. On the ribbon, click Design and click the Paint button.

    Paint button

    The Symbol Palette pane appears. This pane displays the six design types you specified for the Potential Sites layer. You'll start by proposing new mixed residential developments.

  8. If necessary, click the Mixed Res symbol.
  9. On the map, click a few of the larger vacant parcels, located on various walk-time areas.

    The parcels you click update to use the symbol for mixed residential land use. The dashboard updates to show the percentage of sites within each walk-time area.

  10. In the Symbol Palette pane, click the Residential symbol. Click a few other large vacant parcels.

    Map with parcels designed for land use types

    The bar chart on the left shows the total percentage of each parcel type, while the pie chart on the right shows the percentage of residential parcels per walk-time area. This information can help you decide how to plan development.

  11. Close the Symbol Palette pane and the dashboard. On the ribbon, click Explore to stop painting.
  12. Zoom back out to the full extent of the data.

Filter sites within the walk-time area

Although you've designed a possible plan for housing development, your decisions were mostly made based on your judgment of parcel size. For your next alternative proposal, you'll plan new housing only in parcels within five minutes of a BART station. To make sure only parcels that fit the criteria are displayed, you'll filter the layer using the Find Existing Locations analysis tool. This tool creates a layer of features based on an expression of your specification.

  1. On the ribbon, click Analysis. Click Find Locations and choose Find Existing Locations.

    Find Existing Locations tool

    The Find Existing Locations pane appears.

  2. For Select Feature Layer, choose Potential Sites.

    You'll build two expressions to achieve the desired result of finding features within a five-minute walk of a station. First, you'll create an expression that specifies that potential sites are completely within the walk-time area. Then, you'll create an expression that limits the walk-time areas only to those within 5 minutes of a station.

  3. For Build a query to find features, click Add Expression.

    Add Expression button

    The Add Expression window appears.

  4. Update where (attribute query) to completely within and change Study Area to Classified Walk Areas. The final expression should read Potential Sites completely within Classified Walk Areas.

    First expression

  5. Click Add.

    Next, you'll add the second expression, which will limit the walk areas to only those that are at most 5 minutes (this will select only the 5-minute walk areas).

  6. Click Add Expression.
  7. Create the expression Classified Walk Areas where (attribute query) Travel Time End (Minutes) is 5.

    To input the value 5, you can either type the value or choose it as a unique value.

    Second expression

  8. Click Add.
  9. Change Result layer name to Potential Sites within 5 Minutes. Add your name or initials to the end of the name.

    Result layer name

  10. Click Run Analysis.

    When the analysis finishes, the layer Potential Sites within 5 Minutes is added to the Contents pane. You can't see it on the map because it's under another layer.

  11. If necessary, open the Contents pane. In the Contents pane, turn off the Potential Sites layer.
  12. For Potential Sites within 5 Minutes, click the Options button and choose Zoom To.

    Result layer on map

    The layer displays only parcels within the highest-suitability walk-time area.

Propose housing close to stations

Now that you found the potential sites within five minutes of a BART station, you'll create a new scenario to showcase them. You'll import your result layer into the new scenario and automatically change all of its features from the vacant type to the desired housing type.

  1. On the ribbon, click Proposed Housing and choose Create.

    Create option

    The Create Scenario window appears.

  2. In the Create Scenario window, enter the following parameters:
    • For Title, type Proposed Housing 5 Minutes from Stations.
    • For Summary, type This scenario shows proposed housing within the five-minute walk-time area.
    • For Description, type Vacant lots within five minutes of BART stations have been marked as potential sites for housing development.
    • For Tags, type San Francisco, Housing, Parcels.
  3. Click Create.

    The final scenario is created. Next, you'll import the potential sites within five minutes to the Potential Sites layer so you can mark them as potential residential developments.

  4. On the ribbon, click Proposed Housing 5 Minutes from Stations and choose Import.

    Import button

  5. In the Import Features to Scenario window, for Source, choose Potential Sites within 5 Minutes. For Target, choose Potential Sites.
  6. Click Next.

    You'll make all of the imported features use the Residential type.

  7. Click Select a feature type for all features and choose Residential.
  8. Click Next two more times. Click Import.
  9. Turn on the Potential Sites layer and turn off the Potential Sites within 5 Minutes layer. Zoom in if necessary.

    Imported sites on map

    The scenario now displays only potential sites within the five-minute walk-time area. All of the potential sites are depicted as residential developments.

Create a scenario indicator

You've planned some scenarios for housing development in San Francisco. But how well do those scenarios reflect your planning objectives? To find out, you'll create a scenario indicator, which shows scenario performance in relation to a specific planning goal. Yours will calculate the total number of new housing units you can create with the planned residential lots in your scenario. In this tutorial, you'll create the indicator for the Proposed Housing 5 Minutes from Stations scenario. Optionally, you could also create one for your other scenario.

  1. Open the dashboard. Click the Dashboard Options button and choose Add a Scenario Indicator.

    Add a Scenario Indicator

    The Scenario Indicator window appears.

  2. For Caption, type Potential Housing Units.

    You'll choose options so that your indicator provides a numeric estimation of how many housing units can be built in the planned residential areas. You'll calculate the indicator with an equation that multiplies the acreage of residential areas by the density of housing units.

  3. For Type, choose Numeric. For Scenario Layer, verify that Potential Sites is selected.
  4. Click Equation Builder.

    Equation Builder option

    The Potential Sites window appears. You'll create your equation based on information fields contained in the data.

  5. For Fields, click [DU_Density].

    DU_Density field added to equation.

    The field is added to the equation. DU_Density stands for dwelling unit density. It indicates the typical density of housing units per acre.

  6. In the list of mathematical operators, click the multiplication operator (*).
    Multiplication operator
  7. For Measures, click Acres.

    Acres measure type

    The final equation reads [DU_Density]*[acres].

  8. Click OK.

    The equation is added to the Scenario Indicator window.

    Final equation

  9. Click Create.

    The dashboard displays the Potential Housing Units indicator value.

    Potential Housing Units indicator


    Data is updated periodically. Your results may differ.

    According to your indicator, if you followed through with your Proposed Housing 5 Minutes from Stations scenario, the city could create 162 additional housing units.

Create a constant

162 housing units might be enough, but how many people can that house? The average number of people per household is 1.8. By multiplying the number of additional housing units by that average, you come up with a total of 292 people housed. However, it's likely that after review, changes are made to the proposed plan. Rather than multiply your indicator value by 1.8 anytime you make a change, you'll create a constant (a value that is always the same) that defines persons per household as 1.8. Then, you'll create another scenario indicator to automatically calculate the number of people that can be housed by your scenario.

  1. In the dashboard, click Dashboard Options and choose Constants.

    Constants options

    The Constants window appears.

  2. Click Add.
  3. For Name, type Persons Per Household. For Value, type 1.8.

    Parameters for new constant

  4. Click Save.

    The constant is created. However, the dashboard still displays only the number of potential housing units. You'll create another scenario indicator that multiplies that number by the constant you created.

  5. Click Dashboard Options and choose Add a Scenario Indicator.
  6. In the Scenario Indicator window, for Caption, type Estimated Population.

    Rather than depict the indicator as only a number, like you did with the previous one, you'll show the value within a range of other values to better visualize how the scenario performs against established goals. For instance, for the purposes of the exercise, assume that the city specifically hopes to create housing for up to 300 people. You'll choose ranges that reflect this value.

  7. For Range, type 0, 100, 200, and 300 in the four boxes.

    Range values

    Next, you'll create the equation.

  8. For Scenario Layer, verify that Potential Sites is selected. Click Equation Builder.

    Scenario Layer set to Potential Sites and Equation Builder link

  9. Using the operators, build the equation [DU_Density]*[acres].
  10. To the end of the equation, add another multiplication operator. Then, for constants, click [Persons Per Household].

    The final equation reads [DU_Density]*[acres]*[Persons Per Household].

  11. Click OK.
  12. Click Create.

    The dashboard now displays the Estimated Population.

    Estimated Population

    With this housing development scenario, an estimated 292 people could be housed, which is close to the city's goal.

  13. Close the Dashboard window.

Export results

Your analysis is complete. Your last step is to share your results as a web map on ArcGIS Online.

  1. Turn on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations layer.

    When you share the map with others, it may be useful for them to be able to see the station locations. The stations are currently under some of the other layers.

  2. For the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Stations layer, click the Options button and choose Move up. Move the layer to the top of the Data Layers section.
  3. Save your map.
  4. On the top ribbon, click the Open Menu button. In the menu, click Export and choose Export Web Map.

    Export Web Map option

    The Export Web Map window appears.

  5. In the Export Web Map window, enter the following parameters:
    • For Title, type Proposed Housing 5 Minutes from Stations.
    • For Summary, type A proposal to develop housing close to rail stations in San Francisco.
    • For Description, type This web map shows walk-time areas ranging from 5 to 20 minutes from rail stations in San Francisco. Vacant parcels within 5 minutes of rail stations have been proposed for residential development.
    • For Tags, type San Francisco, Housing, Parcels.
  6. Click Save.

    A window appears to confirm that the scenario has been exported as a web map. You can either return to the scenario or open the web map.

  7. Click Open Web Map.

    Depending on your organizational and user settings, you may have opened Map Viewer Classic. ArcGIS Online offers two map viewers for viewing, using, and creating maps. For more information on the map viewers available and which to use, please see this FAQ.

    This tutorial uses Map Viewer.

  8. If necessary, on the ribbon, click Open in Map Viewer.

    A message may appear asking you to save changes. You can proceed without saving any changes.

    The map appears containing all of your scenario's data layers and using the same symbols. You can share this web map with your organization to show other members of your planning committee.

  9. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Share map.

    Share map

    The Share window appears.

  10. In the Share window, choose Organization and click Save.

    If the Update Sharing window appears, click Update.

In this tutorial, you created a project in ArcGIS GeoPlanner to identify vacant parcels in San Francisco and plan housing units for middle- and low-income households. You added data to the project and adjusted the project's settings for your goals. Then, you analyzed walk-time areas from public transportation and used the result layer to determine the most appropriate vacant parcels for development. You assessed your scenario's effectiveness with a scenario indicator and exported your map to ArcGIS Online for sharing.

This is only one of many analyses possible, and you could have obtained very different results by taking into account different criteria. For instance, instead of using walk-time areas to determine where to develop housing, you could have decided based on existing housing costs by neighborhood. While the workflow in this tutorial was designed to show a streamlined process with a small number of variables, in real-life urban planning projects, multiple factors are usually taken into account before decisions are made. GeoPlanner has the ability to show many data layers at once, so it can also be effective for larger planning projects and has applicability to many different geographies.

You can find more tutorials in the tutorial gallery.