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Innovation Centre
University of Canberra
ACT 2601



CLASS Spatial Analyst is one of the seven eco-hydrological modelling tools included in the CLASS catchment-modelling framework. The tool generates a number of spatial layers that can be used for many practical applications. These include climate zoning, multi-resolution DEMs, topographic wetness index or compound topographic index (CTI), lateral multiple flow paths, accumulation and dispersion of water and solutes from hazard areas, estimation of soil depth, soil material/horizon distribution and soil moisture storage capacity in different parts of the landscape.

Target user group

The model is targeted at the following audience with interest in spatial modelling and environmental science: scientists, researchers, State and Federal NRM organisations, Catchment Management Authorities, Consultants and students.


CLASS Spatial Analyst is designed for use by hydrologists and catchment modellers with varying levels of expertise in spatial modelling. The main objective behind the development of Spatial Analyst is to provide modellers with a scientifically credible GIS tool which hides all the complexity of the computation algorithms behind a user friendly graphical user interface (GUI) and guides them step by step to build a problem for the catchment of interest.

Example applications

CLASS Spatial Analyst is used in a number of major studies across NSW. It has been implemented on more than 30 catchments across NSW ranging in size from 10 to 7500 km2.

  • Snowy Monaro Plantation Strategy

    Spatial Analyst has been implemented on Delegate, Bombala and McLachlan catchments. The total soil depth and depth for each soil horizon from this implementation was used to define the modelling domain for all the Pasture and Tree growth simulations. The soil moisture capacity estimated by Spatial Analyst for each of the three catchments was used to guide implementation of catchment scale lumped rainfall runoff model.

    The Snowy Monaro Plantation Strategy is being developed in partnership between the NSW Premiers Department and DNR and has been established to provide a balance between the agriculture and forest industries of the Southern Monaro Region. This work will provide policy input to the Plantations and Reafforestation Act.

  • Living Murray Initiative

    Spatial Analyst is currently been implemented on the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest (KPF) as part of the Living Murray Initiative that will explore and implement the structural works required to gravitate water from Torrumbarry Weir into the Koondrook-Perricoota Forest. The forest covers an area of approximately 32,000ha on the NSW side of the Murray River between Echuca-Moama and Barham-Koondrook.

  • GRDC Project

    It has also been implemented on Simmons Creek catchment, which is the focus catchment for a Grain Research and Development Corporation funded collaborative project (CSIRO Land and Water, NSW DPI, and NSW DNR). The soil depths estimated from Spatial Analyst will be used to define the soil domain for crop and pasture growth models.

  • MDBC Salinity Audit Update 2004-2005

    Class Spatial Analyst has been implemented on 8 focus catchments used in the MDBC Salinity Audit Update 2004 under the MDBMC Basin Salinity Management Strategy and Murray-Darling Basin Agreement, Schedule C. The outputs from the model are used to define 2 dimensional transects across these focus catchments for MODFLOW implementation.

Where possible, the outputs from CLASS Spatial Analyst are validated against available datasets. Field validation was done for soil depths estimated by Spatial Analyst in the Snowy catchments of Delegate, Bombala and McLachlan and it clearly indicates that Spatial Analyst was able to estimate the soil depth across all the catchments reasonably well (Murphy et al., 2005a, 2005b).

Overview of features, advantage and benefits

The main features of this product include:

  • A stand-alone GIS tool which can be used to generate multiply spatial layers for many other practical applications, such as delineating sub-catchments and stream network, estimating spatial distribution of soil depth across the catchment, estimating soil moisture storage capacity for a catchment, and delineating and targeting appropriate areas within a catchment for management interventions (eg. salinity, soil erosion, etc).
  • A user friendly graphical user interface (GUI) which hides all the complexity of the computation algorithms and guides the user step by step to build a problem for the catchment of interest.
  • A GIS tool that can be used without ARC licence as all the spatial functions are programmed in TIME environment.

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