Picture by: Malone & Co. Photography.

Utilization of GIS to Display & Analyze

Parking Demands in the Old Market

By Derek L. Miller

Geography 4050


Introduction/ Objectives:


This final project was designed to use GIS applications for a useful purpose that relates information that is beneficial to our area of study. With this task I used various data, to complete this project, from a previous internship with the city of Omaha planning department. This data was constructed from a parking study of the overall downtown Omaha area. Parking lots, parking garages, as well as metered parking was included within this study for various planning uses. So in combination with this data and the use of GIS tools this project is to analyze what impact the growth of the Old Market will have on parking in the area and the surrounding areas. Numerous maps are made to illustrate the parking and what parking will be needed to accommodate this growth in the area. This first map is of the area in question and to which is studied. The aerial also shows the same area, upper right hand corner.

Old Market Development:


In the past ten years the Old Market has underwent considerable growth and continues to grow in size and density. In the years to come the Old Market will see an explosion in density which will affect the area in many ways. The density growth in the Old Market area can be attributed to the increase in population. This population is caused by the increase in housing in the area. All of the housing consists of rehabilitated vacant warehouses, which have been converted into apartments or condominiums. On the horizon more rehabilitation is considered of countless other warehouses, this further impacting the area. Some developments that are planned consist of the old Ford Storage building at tenth and Leavenworth and the upper floors of the old Ames Block or more widely known as the Spaghetti works building at eleventh and Howard.

Ford Warehouse building.

The Ames Block (Spaghetti Works) and a artist's view of new retail space within the building.


The Ford Storage building could be expected to accept 150 or more units and the Ames Block is expected to house 50 units plus additional retail space on the lower floors. When this type of development is established it will cause continuous density growth problems for the area in contrast to spikes of density growth caused by other developments in the area. One certain project that is in the planning stages the possibly might be placed in the old market area is a new arena and convention center.

(As seen Below)

An Architect's rendering of the arena and convention center planned for the old market.

As said before this type of project would not be a continuous density growth problem but an uneven density problem due to the nature of the use required by this project. The arena and convention center would not be in use 100 percent of the time such as housing but only at certain times. This causing a dramatic shift in the needs that would be drawn from the area. What does all this mean to the Old Market area? It means countless growth problems that must be addressed. The one problem that this study focuses on is the issue of parking. The housing growth poses a constant parking gap with the available parking that exists at the present time, whereas the arena and convention center will put a tremendous strain on parking during peak times of use. These two issues will be analyzed and displayed by the use of GIL tools.

GIS Implementation:


As stated above GIS tools were utilized to analyze and display parking data, that showed existing parking, needed parking, and the gap between the two. These three maps were created from spreadsheet information of parking in the area. After this data was put into table form it was then manipulated using Surface III software to construct a grid, which then could be made into a DEM file or Digital Elevation Model file. This DEM was then taken into software, Map Factory, were in which it could be analyzed for further use. Map Factory then took the existing parking DEM and the need parking DEM and took the difference of the two represent the parking gap which was created by the new development in the area.

Digital Elevation Models/Analysis:

This first map represents parking in the area of the old market that consists at the present time prior to the new development. The lighter areas of the map show greater parking density in that particular area. The Darker areas represent lower density of parking in that part of the area. The holes that can be seen are areas of the DEM had trouble going from low values to high values in parking numbers.(Existing parking DEM)


This map display the parking needed after the development in this area has taken place. Again the lighter areas show greater need of parking at that particular point in the Old Market and the darker shades represent parking that is less need at that point on the map. As you can see the lighter areas are around the new development. In the lower right portion of the DEM there is an abundance of white shades due to the Ford Warehouse and Ames Block Rehabilitations. Also in the lower right portion of the DEM there is some lighter shades due to the arena and convention center development.(Needed parking DEM)

This final map displays the difference of the previous maps to show the parking gap that must be filled in the Old Market area when the development takes place for the needs of the people in this area. Most of this DEM is lighter because there are large amounts of parking needed for the area. In the middle of the DEM is a flat white area represented and even needed parking. Peaks can also been seen around the edges relating to a great demand in parking caused by new developments, rehabilitations, and the growing pains of the Old Market area.


With any project there are bound to be problems that come along with constructing it. The few problems I had, some were able to fix and others I was not so fortunate. The first problem I had was associated with the Map Factory program and trying to overlay my DEM's onto my baseman. The problem occurred when the colors in the DEM's were to dark to let the baseman to show through, this problem was un-repairable. The second and final problem occurred when I was importing graphics into PageMill to display them onto my page. This problem was an easy fix by giving each object file a GIF or JPEG format so that PageMill would read them. Other than that everything else went smoothly.



Growth of an area of a city is a very valuable for many reasons, but it should not take away from the true character of the area and overall benefits that area might receive. All development is not good development, it must be controlled. To maintain and sustain growth, a city must meet all the problems the come along with new development, not to foresee the future in away of controlling growth is disastrous. On the issue of parking, there should be a plan set aside now to actually have an overabundance of parking later. This project showed were parking is and were it needs to be in the sight of the development that is and might be taking place in this area. The maps were constructed to give life to the data for the use of easier analysis. As far as GIS as a tool it is extremely helpful in assisting to complete projects. The one draw back to GIS is not all the data is in the same format and easy to get to. If the GIS community could make data more uniform or standardized things could flow more easily and projects could be completed in a more timely fashion. As for the future of GIS, I believe it is a bright one that will ultimately make or lives and jobs easier. (That's what we said about computers????)


The first picture on this page was taken by Malone & Co. Photography for ConAgra.
The aerial photograph was taken by Steve Adams.
The pictures of the Ford Warehouse and the Ames Block were taken by Lynn Meyer.
The artists view of the retail space in the Ames Block was obtained through the Reader newspaper.
The architect's rendering was done by Ellerbe Beckett from Kansas City, Missouri and was obtained through the World Herald newspaper.

Submitted by: Derek L. Miller May 1, 1998.