Find the path of least resistance down a DEM

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Instructions provided describe how to find the path of least resistance down a DEM.


Before beginning, make sure that the elevation model used for the procedure is a DEM with a projection in feet or meters, and that it is not a floating-point raster. Also, ensure that there are no negative values in the DEM. If there are negative values, remove them before running the procedures.

  1. Create a point feature that will be used to determine the source of the path.
  2. Run the Flow Direction tool to create a flow direction raster from the DEM.
  3. Use the Cost Path tool to generate the path of least resistance.

    -Specify the point feature as the 'Input raster or feature destination data'.

    -Specify the DEM as the 'Input cost distance raster'.

    -Specify the flow direction raster created in step 2 as the 'Input cost backlink raster'.

    -Specify an output raster. This symbolizes the path.

    -Specify 'EACH_CELL' as the Path Type.

Article ID:000009935

  • ArcMap

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