Once all suitability, constraint and proximity maps were developed, the MCE model was applied to the area of study, yielding a final land suitability layer. The MCE indicated the least suitable and best suitable land for the placement of the UAV port. Constraint maps displaying rivers, residential areas, roads and the digital elevation model were reclassified based on the determined weights. Criteria maps displaying land cover, distance from roads, distance from remote communities and distance from Thunder Bay were also reclassified based on the determined weights. This can be seen in (Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7). The result of combining these maps can be seen in (Figure 8), where the site best meeting the requirements of a UAV launch port is displayed. While majority of the study site was deemed appropriate to build on, only 27 areas met the size and distance requirement suitable for site placement.
The suitability layer displays the most suitable and the least suitable areas in which the LCP can run through. Applying the LCP analysis to the final land suitability layer, a pathway is generated to provide a least cost route from Thunder Bay to the newly determined UAV launch port site (Figure 9). The LCP was determined by the simplest and least costly route of travel to the UAV launch port considering land-use, topography, proximity to pre-existing infrastructure and other additional costs.
Figure 4. Map displaying the landcover suitability for North-Western Ontario.
Figure 5. Map displaying proximity to pre-existing transportation infrastructure in North-Western Ontario.
Figure 6. Map displaying suitable proximity of remote communities in North-Western Ontario.
Figure 7. Map displaying suitable area in proximity to Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Figure 8. Map displaying the best suitable areas for the placement of a UAV launch port in North-Western Ontario (results of the MCE model).
Figure 9. Map displaying the least cost routes from roads connecting Thunder Bay, Ontario to the newly determined UAV launch site (results of the LCP analysis) to determine which of the suitable sites had the lowest LCP so that the final site required lowest cost to construct an access road to.
Figure 10. Final map dispalying results of the MCE model and LCP analysis within the area of study.
Research Findings Conclusion
As displayed in the seven maps above, the constraint maps are evident in (Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7), showing most suitable areas for each individual constraint. Following these maps, (Figure 8) displays the most suitable location for the UAV launch port based off of the results from the MCE. (Figure 9) reveals the result of the LCP exhibiting the least cost paths from Thunder Bay to the most suitable areas that also meet the size requirement for the UAV launch port location. As well, (Figure 9) shows the best site for the UAV launch station based on it having the lowest cost LCP connecting it to Thunder Bay through preexisting roads. In the final map (Figure 10), an overview of the concluding results as well as key features such as nearby highways are displayed.