Using GIS to Illustrate Locational Suitability For Future Library Services

Using GeoMedia Professional and GeoMedia Grid, the City of Hamilton used their GIS to determine and illustrate locational suitability for future library services. The results have been illustrated in this article which is based on a recent entry in the Raster Innovation contest held at Geospatial World 2004 in Miami Beach, FL. The Hamilton Library Study took first place overall in the Innovative Raster Analysis Competition sponsored by Intergraph and Keigan Systems.

The City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is situated on the southwest shore of Lake Ontario directly across from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The City covers approximately 1200 square kilometers and serves 490,000 residents.

On January 1, 2001, the Towns Ancaster, Dundas, and Flamborough, the Township of Glanbrook and the Cities of Hamilton and Stoney Creek were amalgamated and became the new City of Hamilton. Each community within Hamilton is unique and rich in history.

The Hamilton Public Library is a new library system, established by provincial legislation that took effect on January 1, 2001. Our new library was born mature. It has 26 library branches that range in size from a 160,000 square foot Central Library to several rural locations that occupy less than 1,000 square feet. We serve 490,000 people. Some of our patrons live in a densely populated city core. Others live in suburban or rural settings.

A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) study was envisioned as a way to effectively illustrate locational suitability for future library services. GIS raster technology would be used to understand and illustrate suitable locations throughout the City based on the spatial analysis of a variety of geographic and business criteria. Factors such as distance buffers, proximities to other amenities such as existing library services, recreation centres and arenas, roads, population densities and projections, bus routes, natural geographic barriers, etc. all combine to form a mathematical model that can greatly assist planners and decision-makers. This map illustrates some of the individual criteria analyzed as well as the final composite map product indicating locational suitability.

Features used in the GeoMedia Grid raster analysis process.

Library Usage Areas

Library Central

Library District

Library Community

Library – Neighborhood > 50000

Library – Neighborhood < 50000

Public Usage Areas

Ontario Early Years Centres

Municipal Service Centres

Recreation Community Centres


Colleges Universities

Childcare Facilities

Population Density by sqkm (EA 1996)

Population (census Canada 1996)

Population Density by sqkm (DA 2001)

Population (census Canada 2001)



Residential Care


Major streets

Minor streets

Transit HSR

Social Housing

Ontario Housing

Hamilton Housing

Natural Barriers


Environment Sensitive Area (ESA)

Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC)

Area of Natural and Scientific Importance (ANSI)

MNR Wetlands

MNR Woodlands



Major Lakes








Open space


Proposed Future Residential Development

Business Improvement Area (BIA)


Red areas are highly suitable, blue denotes low suitability

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Congratulations to the GIS staff at The City of Hamilton for this fine, innovative example of the use of GeoMedia Professional and GeoMedia Grid for raster data analysis… kudos!