Transect Analysis - Main Users / Purpose

files/images_static/user.jpg Private and public sector regional, urban or sectoral planners.
files/images_static/thinker.jpg

Mapping is a visual process in which people are given the chance to relate physical and/or social information in a simple and easily understood format. It is especially useful where spatial information is required. Even people who have had access to formal education often cannot read professionally drawn plans, but most people can understand simple diagrams and more so, if they develop the diagram using symbols and materials that have meaning and relevance for them.

For part of a region being analysed it may be appropriate to record data along ‘transects’ rather than along communication routes such as roads. As roads tend to follow contours a route-mapping exercise would not represent an area that includes wide variations in land height. A route-mapping exercise in such an area as this would not record potentially marked differences in land use that may be present at different land heights within the area not traversed by roads. In such situations ‘transect’ mapping can be employed where land-use is plotted at different land levels (on foot or by eye in rough terrain areas).

Generally, land use mapping and field observations are ‘time-frozen’ that is they show the land use at only one specific period in time. To gain a fuller understanding of local land use, particularly in respect of seasonal changes in land-use (rotations) and expected future crops, interviews with individuals from within the local community concerned are essential. Aerial photographs can be useful too. These are useful in the planning of field research, to identify settlements, for the evaluation of the availability of natural resources, crop-patterns, land-use and physical evidence of land-holding, and the assessment of the existence, distribution and conditions of roads within a defined area of interest.

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