Metrics that quantitatively measure the various aspects of a feature's shape have applications in fields ranging from landscape ecology to geography. Hundreds of metrcis exist for measuring characteristics of shapes but the relevance of these metrics to a particular analysis is often unclear.
The Shape Metrics Tool calculates more than a dozen metrics that quantify specific characteristics of a patch's shape. Descriptions of these metrics as well as a rationale for their use can be found in the Shape Metrics PowerPoint. The appropriate metric to use depends on what the patch represents and on the issue being studied - the selected metric(s) should make logical sense for the analysis.
The tool is a Python script that runs out of ArcToolbox in ArcGIS 9.3. No extensions are required. The tool requires a polygon feature class as the input.
Jason R. Parent
Laboratory for Earth Resources Information Systems
Center for Land use Education and Research
Dept. of Natural Resources Management and Engineering
University of Connecticut