GIS Cookbook: Recipe - Buffering an Area  
Keywords: Buffers, impact, assessment
Category: Buffers
Software: ArcGIS 8.x

Problem: You want to an area of influence around an object at a given distance.

Description: A buffer refers to the area contained within a specified distance from an
in space. But why would we want to create one?

Objects in space frequently have some sort of impact on the objects and areas around them. For example, factories emit fumes that can affect people for miles around. Freeways create "noise pollution" that can be heard blocks away. Buffers can be used in these instances to depict a sphere of influence in which the people and places within this "sphere" are more significantly impacted by a given phenomenon than those on the outside.

Buffers can also be used to show the reverse -- that is places that are less significantly impacted by a given phenomenon because they are within a certain distance of an object. These sorts of buffers, known as zones of protection, are frequently drawn in relation to regulations attempting to provide protection for special places. Examples include areas around school where liquor stores are prohibited, or protected lands around which shopping malls and urban development are not permitted.

1) Open ArcMap.

2) Add your datasets. If you need assistance with adding your data, see Add Data.

3) Click to hightlight the that contains the
to be buffered.

To .

Enter the fields and unique values.
Note: Be sure the correct layer is being used and that Create a New Selection is set as the method.

Click Apply.

4) Return to the same layer in the display window and right click on this layer.

Scroll down to Selection, then to Create Layer From Selected Features.

5) Go to Tools and scroll down to Buffer Wizard.
Note: Be sure the newly created layer is being used

-Click Next.

6) The buffers are created according to one of three options: 1) at a specified distance; 2) based on a distance from an attribute; or 3) as multiple buffer rings.

7) Select a Buffer Distance.

8) Click Next.

9) Choose whether to between buffers.

10) Enter an output name under Specify output shapefile or

11) Click Finish.
University of British Columbia - Lecture on Buffers.
Geography Network - Data, services, and information
ESRI - Website of the leading GIS software producer.
Authored by: Carlin Wong Modified: 9/10/03

Copyright © 2002-2014 by Regents of University of California, Santa Barbara
Cookbook: Ben Sprague, Ethan Sundilson, Carlin Wong, Sam Ying