A GIS model for mapping spatial patterns and distribution of wild land in Scotland

Steve Carver*, Alexis Comber, Rob McMorran, Steve Nutter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a robust and repeatable method for mapping wildness in support of decisions about planning, policy and management in protected landscapes. This is based around the application of high resolution data and GIS models to map four attributes of wildness: perceived naturalness of land cover, absence of modern human artefacts in the landscape, rugged and challenging nature of the terrain, and remoteness from mechanised access. These are combined using multi-criteria evaluation and fuzzy methods to determine spatial patterns and variability in wild land quality. The approach is demonstrated and tested for the two national parks in Scotland: the Cairngorms National Park and the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This is presented within a wider debate on the ability of such models to accurately depict and spatially define the concept of wildness within both the Scottish setting and the wider global context. Conclusions are drawn as to scalability and transferability, together with potential future applications including local and national level mapping, and support for landscape character assessment, planning policy and development control. Maps of the wild land core, buffer and periphery areas of the two parks are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-409
Number of pages15
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPrint publication - 15 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • Landscape character
  • Protected areas
  • Scotland
  • Wildness


Dive into the research topics of 'A GIS model for mapping spatial patterns and distribution of wild land in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this