Alberta Recreation/Tourism Opportunity Spectrum (RTOS) Model


Government of Alberta, Parks Department


O2 Planning and Design


Alberta, Canada


2011, 2012, 2014


Parks + Open Space Planning, GIS, Software Development and Testing

Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation (ATPR) retained O2 to develop a methodology to assist ATPR staff in their understanding of the supply of outdoor recreation and tourism settings throughout Alberta. The objective was to create a consistent and repeatable mapping process based on the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) concept, which maps and classifies the supply of recreation and tourism settings.

As part of a mulch-disciplinary project team at O2, I researched and reviewed applications of similar mapping concepts to develop a methodology for Alberta that could be translated to a spatially-explicit mapping process in a GIS. O2 and ATPR convened an expert panel, including academics and practitioners from Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, to review and provide feedback on the modeling methodology and assumptions.

From the methodology, I adopted cartographic modeling techniques described by C. Dana Tomlin and developed a scripted tool in ArcGIS (at first using the ArcGIS 9.3 python geoprocessor package, which I later updated to a ArcPy-based ArcToolbox toolset). Using this tool, we generated provincial and regional inventories illustrating the supply of recreation and tourism settings across Alberta. The inventory and tool enables planners and land managers to understand the spatial distribution of recreation settings, assess gaps in current recreation opportunities, and to model the implications of land use decisions on the supply of recreation settings.