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4. Prediction of Scenic Beauty Using Mapped Data and Geographic Information Systems

DescriptionThe authors argue that by using the computational capabilities of a geographic information system (GIS), together with prediction equations based on assessment of video panoramas of locations affected by landscape change, more objective and cost-effective visual assessment prediction procedures may be developed.
MethodologyThe experiment used a raster database for a 6km square section of Oregon, USA. This information was encoded into a computer and used to generate a number of variables based on 360-degree panoramas of selected sites. Students were used to test the response to different sites and variables, providing the information which gave rise to the predictor equations, which in turn, provided the equation-derived prediction of scenic beauty estimates. The study assessed the results against both public and expert-based landscape opinion.

The study demonstrates the potential for the use of GIS in evaluating landscape beauty.

It raises questions regarding future research:

  1. As the GIS databases become more sophisticated, will the potential for including seasonal and annual changes in GIS-based predictions improve as well?
  2. Will the use of full-arc video sampling have a greater potential to capture the 'activity/form' context of a viewer's perception of beauty?
PublishedLandscape and Urban Planning, 30: 59-70

Bishop, I.D. and Hulse, D.W.



PublisherElsevier Science B V
Pricesubscription c. 613 p.a. (20)
Keywordsprediction of scenic beauty; landscape assessment/evaluation; geographic information systems;

The paper provides a good introduction to the use of GIS to predict scenic beauty. The techniques could also be of use in research into the aesthetic response to landscape.

See also Harvey, R (1995) for use of GIS in the study of landscape perception.

ReferencesHarvey, R. (1995) Eliciting and mapping the attributes of landscape perception: An integration of Personal Construct Theory (PCT) with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Unpublished PhD Thesis, School of Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh College of Art, Heriot-Watt University.