Visual Resource Stewardship Conference

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-27-2019


Numerous viewshed analyses have been developed over the past few decades, but the uptake of these within industry has largely remained stagnant. This project involves ground-truthing one of the more recent viewshed analysis variants (Chamberlain and Meitner 2012, 2015) to assess reliability and application. This viewshed analysis was developed as a plug-in for the ESRI ArcGIS Pro software, making it readily accessible by anyone with an ArcGIS license. The validation of this software was recently conducted using an empirical approach to measure the accuracy of the analysis in the GIS versus real- world. Results demonstrate extremely high validity in controlled conditions, this degree of validity decreased substantially in highly variable terrain. This variability likely stems from measurement controls that are difficult to produce in real-world contexts. In this paper, the analysis, procedures and lessons learned are provided, as well as a call for additional empirical testing of viewshed analyses more broadly.