Cost Path Analysis
Cost Path is one of a series of algorithms and tools that analyze such costs, collectively known as Cost Distance Analysis. Its most common application is for planning corridors for constructing linear infrastructure such as roads and utilities.
Determining an optimal cost path typically requires three steps, which in most GIS software is implemented in separate tools (because they can be used in other procedures).
1. Cost Surfacefield), then modeled in GIS (typically with an Index model procedure) to create a raster grid known as a cost surface.
2. Cost Distance
Given a source location, a new raster grid called a cost distance raster is created that calculates the accumulated cost to travel to each cell from the source. This is created by radiating out from the source, determining the cost of each cell by identifying the neighbor with the lowest accumulated cost and adding its cost to the total. Simultaneously, a separate grid, called a backlink raster encoding the direction from each cell to its lowest cost neighbor.
3. Least-cost Path
Given a destination location, this algorithm finds the corresponding cell in the backlink raster, then traces a path from the destination back to the source by following the direction of each cell to the lowest cost neighbor. The corresponding cell in the cost distance raster gives the total cost accumulated by following this optimal route.
- de Smith, Michael J., Michael Goodchild, and Paul Longley, "Cost Distance", Geospatial Analysis, 3rd Edition. Accessed 29 December 2016.>
- Pipeline Route Selection: A GIS Jumpstart for International GrowthPrice, Geoff. Geoplace.com. Accessed 08 Novmeber 2012
- Mitchell, Andy, The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis, 1999, ESRI Press