Buffer analysis is used for identifying areas surrounding
geographic features. The process involves generating a buffer
around existing geographic features and then identifying or selecting features based on
whether they fall inside or outside the boundary of the buffer.
For example, the GIS was
used to identify the locations of hazardous chemical storage sites in relation to health
care facilities. The purpose of the project was to facilitate the evacuation of the health
care facilities in the event of a leak or spill of hazardous materials. The process
involved representing each hazardous material storage site on the map as a point. Each
point was coded with information that indicated the type of chemical stored, as well as
the rate of spread with low and high wind speeds. In the case of a spill, evacuation of
each health care facility would be initiated based on its location in relationship to the
spread of the chemical.