FAQs

Why was PAT developed?
The idea for the development of Protected Area Tools (PAT) to assist countries struggling with methods for conducting national protected area gap assessments was conceived at the Mesoamerica and Caribbean Geospatial Alliance meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad in May 2004. The design and development of the system was executed by The Nature Conservancy?s Mesoamerica & Caribbean Science Program and funded by The World Bank?s Development Grant Facility (DGF) Project. The DGF Project was designed to help the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) encourage the integration of biological and geospatial data. These tools permit countries to continue the protected area gap refinement process in a systematic and repeatable manner. It is hoped that PAT will continue to be developed and refined through external funding support.

Does PAT cost?
No PAT is in the public domain and free to use.

What software do I need to run PAT?
Users need to have ArcGIS Desktop installed. An ArcView Level is required to run most of the tools. An ArcInfo Level is required to run the Marxan Input Generator. Users must also have the Microsoft .NET Framework installed along with the ArcGIS .Net Support. (these are not installed by default in ArcGIS versions prior to 10 and Windows versions prior to 7

Why was ArcGIS chosen as the application for the tool instead of open source GIS?
ArcGIS 9.2 software was chosen as the application for the tool since ESRI has been a long time partner who supports the mission of TNC and provides a business mechanism in which conservation partners can freely obtain their software for conservation-related work.

What language is PAT written in?
Each of the three module applications were developed using Visual Basic.Net/ArcObjects and takes advantage of geoprocessing abilities in ArcGIS

Are there other versions of PAT?
The original program (version 1.0) was developed in September 2006 and worked with ArcGIS 9.1. The tool was subsequently updated a number of times. These version are no longer supported or updated. Please do not report any bugs. However they are all available for download on the downloads page.

Will there be future enhancements to PAT?<
While there are no organizations/institutions directly funding the support of PAT, the Caribbean Region of The Nature Conservancy will continue to support future enhancements through its internal science budget. We see PAT as a critical tool that is helping fulfill our mission of protecting Earth?s biodiversity and facilitating the work of our conservation partners. Efforts are underway to make many of the tools in PAT available as geoprocessing services in ArcGIS Server. We will continue to seek funding opportunities and build partner collaboration to further develop and enhance the abilities of PAT.

If I have a suggestion for an enhancement to PAT who do I send it to?
We welcome your suggestions for any way we can make PAT more user-friendly or add an additional functionality that you feel may be useful. If you have bugs to report or recommendation to make, please send your comments to the authors.

Can I use the ERS Module for something other than creating a cost surface for Marxan?
The ERS Module can be used to create a variety of suitability models. Examples of other uses include development suitability, mobility models for least-cost-path models, and habitat suitability. We would love to hear about how you are using ERS for your own unique purposes.

Why do I need RBI when I?m running Marxan?
Often people get confused about the difference between RBI and Marxan because they both use planning units. RBI is a powerful complementary analysis to Marxan. Although Marxan can identify an efficient portfolio that meets conservation goals for multiple conservation targets, in many cases, more target specific information is needed for management decisions. Marxan identifies the optimal solution, based on representation of multiple conservation targets. This optimal solution is often counter-intuitive and difficult to interpret and explain to managers and stakeholders. RBI, on the other hand, does not consider goals, but identifies the best remaining areas, in terms of target abundance, for each target or set of targets at the planning unit or the landscape scale. In other words, you are calculating the relative uniqueness or rareness of a habitat or species across the landscape.

Can I run the ERS module so it excludes land or uses a land mask? For example, the region that I want to apply the tool to has a complex coastline with long fjords and inlets. I can mask out land after I run the application, of course, but what I am hoping for is that the risk surface will not jump over land. In other words, if I have an activity in one inlet that has a 5km zone of influence, I do not want it to appear in the next inlet, which is only 2km away but not connected by water within the 5km.
You have a valid question, which I think TNC has struggled with answering before. To answer you question directly, presently there is no way to do exactly what you want in ERS. The authors have researched a number of ways to implement the use of other types of distance (rather than simple straight line Euclidean distance) to ERS, but have yet to implement those in ERS.

How do I cite PAT?
Please site PAT in the following way:

Schill, S. and G. Raber (2012) Protected Area Tools (PAT) for ArcGIS software http://www.gispatools.org. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA.