Published Oct 4, 2023
Tatiana Merino-Benítez
Victor Hernández Luis Antonio Bojórquez-Tapia


This article presents an approach to land suitability assessment (LSA) that accounts for the opposing interests and viewpoints of multiple stakeholders. LSA is a widely used geospatial technique for locating optimal sites for infrastructure investment. The approach described in this paper uses the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to elicit relative importance weights of a set of geographical attributes, the evaluation of the state of each attribute in spatial units using value functions on a geographic information system (GIS), and the implementation of the Ordered Weighted Average (OWA) as an aggregation operator. The approach is illustrated through the location of potential sites for swine plant investments, taking into consideration environmental conflicts in Yucatán, Mexico. This approach provides a systematic and transparent procedure for analyzing infrastructure projects’ land suitability and developing investment recommendations that promote sustainable development.

How to Cite

Merino-Benítez, T., Hernández, V., & Bojórquez-Tapia, L. A. (2023). IMPLEMENTATION OF GIS-AHP-OWA FOR LAND SUITABILITY ASSESSMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT PROJECTS: A CASE STUDY IN YUCATÁN, MEXICO. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, 15(2).


Download data is not yet available.
Abstract 336 | PDF Downloads 267



land suitability scenarios, risk attitudes, environmental conflicts, sustainable development

AbdelRahman, M.A.E., Natarajan, A., & Hegde, R. (2016). Assessment of land suitability and capability by integrating remote sensing and GIS for agriculture in Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka, India. The Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, 19, 125–141. Doi:

Al-Yahyai, S., Charabi, Y., Gastli, A., & Al-Badi, A. (2012). Wind farm land suitability indexing using multi-criteria analysis, Renewable Energy, 44, 80-87. Doi:

Bandyopadhyay, S., Jaiswal, R.K., Hegde, V.S., & Jayaraman, J. (2009). Assessment of land suitability potentials for agriculture using a remote sensing and GIS based approach, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 30(4), 879–895. Doi:

Bausch, J.C., Bojórquez-Tapia, L., & Eakin, H. (2014). Agro-environmental sustainability assessment using multicriteria decision analysis and system analysis, Sustainability Science. 9(2014), 303–319. Doi:

Beinat, E. (1997). Value functions for environmental management. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., Díaz-Mondragón, S., & Ezcurra, E. (2001). GIS-based approach for participatory decision making and land suitability assessment. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 15(2), 129-151. Doi:

Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., Brower, P.L., Castilleja, G., Sánchez-Colón, S., Hernández, M., Calvert, W., Díaz, S., Gómez-Priego, P., Alcantar, G., Melgarejo, E.D., Solares, M.J., Gutiérrez, L., & Juárez, M.L. (2003). Mapping expert knowledge: Redesigning the monarch butterfly biosphere reserve. Conservation Practice, 17(2), 367-379.

Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., Ongay-Delhumeau, E., & Ezcurra, E. (1994). Multivariate approach for suitability assessment and environmental conflict resolution. Journal of Environmental Management, 41, 187-198.

Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., Pedroza, D., Ponce-Díaz, G., Días de León, A.J., & Lluch-Belda, D. (2016). A continual engagement framework to tackle wicked problems: curtailing loggerhead sea turtle fishing bycatch in Gulf of Ulloa, Mexico. Sustainability Science. 12(4), 535-548. Doi:

Bydekerke, L., Van Ranst, E., Vanmechelen, L., & Groenemans, R. (1998). Land suitability assessment for cherimoya in southern Ecuador using expert knowledge and GIS, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 69, 89-98.

Calderón, C.G., Vigueros, M.C., Escalante, V.E., Ramírez, M.E., & Tomasini, A.C. (2021). Las aguas residuales porcícolas en Yucatán y su tratamiento. Secretaría Nacional de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Perspectivas Imta, 31, 1-5. Doi:

Céspedes-Flores, S., & Moreno-Sánchez, E. (2010). Estimación del valor de la pérdida de recurso forestal y su relación con la reforestación en las entidades federativas de México. Investigación Ambiental, 2(2), 5-13.

Chen, J., Zhang, X., & Zhu, Q. (2011). Multi-objective decision making for land use planning with Ordered Weighted Averaging method. Systems Engineering Procedia, 2, 434 – 440. Doi:

Cook, W.D. (2006). Distance-based and ad hoc consensus models in ordinal preference ranking. European Journal of Operational Research, 172, 369–385. Doi:

Creative Decisions Foundation (CDF). (2023, August 2). Super Decisions CDF, available at:

Crowfoot, J.E., & Wondolleck, J.M. (1990). Environmental disputes, community involvement in conflict resolution. Island Press.

Dengiz, O. (2013). Land suitability assessment for rice cultivation based on GIS modeling. Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, 37, 326-334. Doi:

Ducker, A., Semerena, R., González, V., & Magaña, S. (2003). La industria porcina en Yucatán: Un análisis de la generación de aguas residuales. Problemas Del Desarrollo, 34(135), 105-124.

Eastman, J. R., Kyem, P. A. K., & Toledano, J. (1993). A procedure for multi-objective decision making in GIS under conditions of conflicting objectives. Proceedings of European Conference on Geographical Information Systems, 438–44.

El Baroudy, A.A. (2016). Mapping and evaluating land suitability using a GIS-based model. Catena, 140, 96-104. Doi:

Ellis, E.A., Hernández-Gómez, I.U., & Romero-Montero, J.A. (2017). Los procesos y causas del cambio en la cobertura forestal de la Península Yucatán, México. Ecosistemas, 26(1), 101-111.

Fernández, E., Pozo, M., & Puerto, J. (2014). Ordered weighted average combinatorial optimization: Formulations and their properties. Discrete Applied Mathematics, 169, 97-118. Doi:

Ferretti, V., & Pomarico, S. (2013). Ecological land suitability analysis through spatial indicators: An application of the Analytic Network Process technique and Ordered Weighted Average approach. Ecological Indicators, 34, 507-519. Doi:

Girard, L.F., Cerreta, M., & Toro, P. (2012). Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS): an integrated spatial assessment for planning strategic choices. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy, 4(1), 4-26. Doi:

Halder, J.C. (2013). Land suitability assessment for crop cultivation by using remote sensing and GIS. Journal of Geography and Geology, 5(3), 65-74. Doi:

Jafari, S., & Zaredar, N. (2010). Land suitability analysis using Multi Attribute Decision Making approach. International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, 1(5), 441-445. Doi:

Jiang, H., & Eastman, J.R. (2000). Application of fuzzy measures in multi-criteria evaluation in GIS. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 14(2), 173-184. Doi:

Jin, L., Yager, R.R., Spirkov, J., Mesiar, R., Paternain, D., & Bustince, H. (2021). OWA aggregation with dual preferences for basic uncertain information. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, 40, 4535–4544. Doi:

Joerin, F., Thériault, M., & Musy, A. (2001). Using GIS and outranking multicriteria analysis for land-use suitability assessment. International Journal of Geographical -Information Science, 15(2), 153-174. Doi:

Khalid, A., & Awais, M.M. (2015). Comparing distance to consensus of collective relations using OWA operators. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, 28, 1647–1657. Doi:

Karasan, A. (2019). A novel hesitant intuitionistic fuzzy linguistic AHP method and its application to prioritization of investment alternatives. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, 11(1), 127-142. Doi:

Keeney, R. (1992). Value focused thinking. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Kuhn, M., & Johnson, M. (2016). Applied predictive modeling (eBook). Springer Nature. Doi:

LaGro, J.A. (2008). Site analysis: A contextual approach to sustainable land planning and site design (2nd ed). John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Lami, I.M., Masala, E., & Pensa, S. (2011). Analytic Network Process (ANP) and visualization of spatial data: the use of dynamic maps in territorial transformation processes. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, 3(2), 92-106. Doi:

Latinopoulos, D., & Kechagia, K. (2015). A GIS-based multi-criteria evaluation for wind farm site selection. A regional scale application in Greece. Renewable Energy, 78, 550-560.

Luan, C., Liu, R., & Peng, S. (2021). Land-use suitability assessment for urban development using a GIS-based soft computing approach: A case study of Ili Valley, China. Ecological Indicators, 123(107333), 1-13. Doi:

Malczewski, J. (2006). Ordered weighted averaging with fuzzy quantifiers: GIS-based multicriteria evaluation for land-use suitability analysis. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 8(4), 270–277. Doi:
Malczewski, J. (2004). GIS-based land-use suitability analysis: a critical overview. Progress in Planning, 62, 3–65. Doi:
Malczewski, J., Moreno-Sanchez, R., Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., & OngayDelhumeau, E. (1997). Multicriteria Group Decision-Making model for environmental conflict analysis in the Cape region, Mexico. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 40(3), 349-374.
Mazahreh, S., Bsoul, M., & Hamoor, D.A. (2019). GIS approach for assessment of land suitability for different land use alternatives in semi-arid environment in Jordan: Case study (Al Gadeer Alabyad-Mafraq). Information Processing in Agriculture, 6, 91–108. Doi:
Merino-Benítez, T., Hernández, V., Grave, I., & Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A. (2022). Finding optimal infrastructure investment locations with GIS-MCDA. International Symposium of the Analytic Hierarchy Process 2022, Web Conference. Doi:

Méndez-Novelo, R., Castillo-Borges, E., Vázquez-Borges, E., Briceño-Pérez, O., Coronado-Peraza, V., Pat-Canul, R., & Garrido-Vivas, P. (2009), Estimación del potencial contaminante de las granjas porcinas y avícolas del estado de Yucatán. Ingeniería, 13(2), 13-21.

Minhas, A.I. (2015). GIS based geo hazard assessment of Pakistan for future urban development using AHP. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, 7(3), 405-426. Doi:

Moreno-Jiménez, J.M., & Vargas, L.G. (2018). Cognitive Multiple Criteria Decision Making and the legacy of the Analytic Hierarchy Process. Estudios de Economía Aplicada, 36(1), 67-80. Doi:

Mokarram, M., & Mirsoleimani, A. (2018). Using Fuzzy-AHP and order weight average (OWA) methods for land suitability determination for citrus cultivation in ArcGIS (Case study: Fars province, Iran). Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 508, 506-518. Doi:

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2019). Exámenes de mercado en México: estudio de caso del mercado de la carne de cerdo.

Otay, I., & Kahraman, C. (2018). Solar PV power plant location selection using a z-fuzzy number based AHP. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, 10(3), 409-430. Doi:

Pedroza, D., Bojórquez-Tapia, L.A., Delgado, R.G.C., & Lazos, E.C. (2020). Understanding translation: Co-production of knowledge in marine spatial planning. Ocean and Coastal Management, 190(105163), 1-10. Doi:

Pereira, J.M.C., & Duckstein, L. (1993). A multiple criteria decision-making approach to CIS-based land suitability evaluation. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems, 7(5), 407-424. Doi:

Pilevar, A.R., Matinfar, H.R., Sohrabi, A., & Sarmadian, F. (2020). Integrated fuzzy, AHP and GIS techniques for land suitability assessment in semi-arid regions for wheat and maize farming. Ecological Indicators, 110(105887). Doi: Received

Quan, B., Zhu, H.J., Chen, S.L., Romkens, M.J.M., & Li, B.C. (2007). Land suitability assessment and land use change in Fujian Province, China. Pedosphere, 17(4), 493–504. Doi:

Rabia, A.H., Terribile, F. (2013). Introducing a new parametric concept for land suitability assessment. International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, 4(1), 15-19. Doi:

Saaty, R.W. (1980). The analytic hierarchy process—what it is and how it is used. Mathematical Modelling, 9(3-5), 161-176.

Shrestha, R.R, Acharya, A., Karmacharya, N., Sapkota, M., Paudyal, B., Basnet, P., Timilsina, T., & Shakya, H.D. (2022). Application of AHP and GIS for optimal solar site identification in Madhesh Province, Nepal. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, 14(3), 1-23. Doi:

Stoms, D.M., McDonald, J.M., & Davis, F.W. (2002). Fuzzy assessment of land suitability for scientific research reserves. Environmental Management, 29(4), 545–558. Doi:

Vasu, D., Srivastava, R., Patil, N.G., Tiwary, P., Chandran, P., & Singh, S.Q. (2018). A comparative assessment of land suitability evaluation methods for agricultural land use planning at village level. Land Use Policy, 79, 146-163. Doi:

Weber, B., Staub-Bisang, M., & Alfen, H.W. (2016). Infrastructure as an asset class: Investment strategy: Sustainability, project finance and PPP (2nd ed). Wiley Finance Series.

Yager, R.R. (2017). OWA aggregation of multi-criteria with mixed uncertain satisfactions. Information Sciences, 417, 88-95. Doi:

Zabihi, H., Alizadeh, M., Langat, P.K., Karami, M., Shahabi, H., Ahmad, A., Said, M.N., & Lee, S. (2019). GIS Multi-Criteria Analysis by Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA): Toward an integrated citrus management strategy. Sustainability, 11, 1009. Doi:

Zhang, J., Su, Y., Wu, J., & Liang, H. (2015). GIS based land suitability assessment for tobacco production using AHP and fuzzy set in Shandong province of China. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 114, 202-211. Doi: