A New Custom Home Range Toolbox For ArcGIS Users

12 Mar

As a result of discussions during a recent course run by GIS In Ecology, I finally sat down and put together a custom toolbox for ArcGIS users for automatically running home range analyses. These tools are based on the processes which I outline in An Introduction To Using GIS in Marine Biology: Supplementary Workbook Four – Investigating The Home Ranges Of Individual Animals, and include the ability to create kernel density estimates (KDE) in environments with barriers to movements. Currently, there are few other ways of doing this, and none that I know of which allow you to take into account complex barriers to movements (such as coastlines). These tools can be used with both marine and terrestrial data sets.

In addition, it provides tools for extracting percentage volume contours (PVCs) from KDEs using the approach I developed for Supplementary Workbook Four, as well as tools to allow you to generate multiple 95% PVCs from KDEs from the same data set each with a different h value (also known as the smoothing parameter, bandwidth or search radius) to help with selecting the optimal value for this using the ad hoc approach from Kie 2013 (Animal Telemetry 1: 13), which is the approach I recommend for doing this.

If you are interested in using this toolbox, you can download it from http://www.gisinecology.com/Home_Range_Tools.zip. There’s a Readme file in the compressed folder which provides information about how to install it on your computer and how to import it into your version of ArcGIS. This toolbox is free to use, customise and distribute (although you will need the usual ArcGIS licences to use it), and is provided on an ‘as is’ basis. That means while it works for me, I can’t guarantee that it’ll work for you, or in every possible circumstance. Nor can I guarantee that it’s completely error free.

Any feed back you have is welcome, while any questions about using it should be directed to the GIS In Ecology Forum

Dr Colin D. MacLeod,
Founder, GIS In Ecology.

5 Responses to “A New Custom Home Range Toolbox For ArcGIS Users”

  1. Jessica 12/04/2017 at 12:53 #

    Does your home range tools file require a specific version of ArcGIS?

    • GIS In Ecology 13/04/2017 at 10:56 #

      Hi Jessica,

      The home range tools were built with ArcGIS 10.3. They should also work with newer versions, such as 10.4 and 10.5, and with older versions back to 10.2, but I haven’t tried or tested them with these versions. If you find you have problems getting the tools to open after you have downloaded them, email me at info[at]GISinEcology.com and I can email you a copy of the zip file that will definitely work.

      All the best,


  2. Sasha Hoffmann 04/06/2017 at 18:59 #

    Good Day. I am trying to download the toolbox but it won’t let me extract it? My zip program keeps saying the file is corrupt. Is there possibly an alternative link I could try? Thank you

  3. Isabelle 13/09/2017 at 15:07 #

    This sounds great, however I am also unable to open the zip file. Would it be possible for you to check the link? Thank you

    • GIS In Ecology 15/09/2017 at 16:42 #

      Hi Isabelle,

      Thanks for getting in touch. I’ll hopefully finally get round to putting up the new zip file over the weekend. In the meantime, if you email me at info(at)GISInEcology.com, I can email you the zip file directly to save you having to wait until I update thee one on the website.

      All the best,


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