Tool name * RAMAS GIS

RAMAS GIS is designed to link your GIS with a metapopulation model for population viability analysis and extinction risk assessment. Habitats used by most species are becoming increasingly fragmented, requiring a metapopulation modeling approach to risk analysis. Recognizing habitat patchiness from an endangered species' point of view requires spatial information on habitat suitability. RAMAS GIS meets both these requirements by linking metapopulation modeling with landscape data and GIS technology. It is a comprehensive extinction risk assessment system that operates in five steps:

  1. Spatial data
  2. Patch recognition
  3. Habitat dynamics
  4. Metapopulation model
  5. Ecological risk assessment


Category All, Decision Support, Mapping, Numerical Model, Spatial Analysis, Visualization
What step(s) in analysis framework 2a
What step(s) in Governance framework

GIS data

Data Quality Required


Modification Required

Your GIS data layers must have the following: the maps must be in raster format; (ii) all layers must be numerical; (iii) all must describe the landscape with the same precision (i.e., number of cells in both north-south and east-west directions should be the same); (iv) coverage of all maps must be identical (the corners of the rectangular area described by all maps should be the same); (v) the number of columns must be the same for each row; (vi) the 'cells' (i.e., locations given a value by the map) must be arranged in a square (not hexagonal) format; (vii) the maximum number of rows and columns depend on the available memory, but each cannot exceed 16000. You can export maps from ArcView into RAMAS GIS via IDRISI or Spatial Analyst.

Expertise Required

Knowledge of GIS

Spatial and Temporal

Not available


Spatial data (maps)

License cost issues

Yes: posted on the website at

Literature: References & Manuals *

The program is accompanied by a 200-page manual which includes discussions on basics of population and metapopulation dynamics, and descriptions of various menus and screens. One chapter contains a tutorial that illustrates the concepts of metapopulation dynamics with the use of several examples, and demonstrates the use of the software by guiding the user through step-by-step instructions. RAMAS GIS comes with sample files for about 60 species, including northern spotted owl, helmeted honeyeater, California gnatcatcher, California spotted owl, land snail, blue whale, jack-in-the-pulpit, speckled alder, teasel, loggerhead sea turtle, pool frog and other species. Go here for some of these examples: