INDEX Planning Support Software


INDEX is an integrated suite of interactive GIS planning support tools for:

  • Assessing community conditions.
  • Designing future scenarios in real time.
  • Measuring scenarios with performance indicators.Ranking scenarios by goal achievement.
  • Monitoring implementation of adopted plans.

Introduced in 1994, it is now supporting a wide variety of planning processes across the U.S., with over 150 organizations in 35 states equipped with the software. INDEX can be purchased in standard or custom versions by organizations that desire their own software, or modeling services can be provided by Criterion when analysis, but not software, is desired.

INDEX is designed to support the entire process of community planning and development. Applications often begin with benchmark measurements of existing conditions to identify problems and opportunities that merit attention in plans. INDEX can then be used to design and visualize alternative planning scenarios, analyze and score their performance, and compare and rank alternatives. Once plans are adopted, INDEX supports implementation by evaluating the consistency of development proposals against plan goals. Over time, achievements can be periodically measured with progress reports.

What Is It?

Modeling and analysis tool - Geographic Information System (GIS)

Decision support tools


  • Supports all stages of the planning process; integrated land-use/transportation analysis; resolution scalable from building footprint and parcel up to area such as census tract; interactive draw-on-screen functionality; stakeholder rating and weighting of indicator results; full-time tech support for users.

  • High-quality data required for accurate indicator calculations.

Expertise Needed

Varies based on organization objectives and jurisdiction size, e.g. 0.1-0.2 FTE for frequent regular use.  

General users need GIS familiarity, preferably with ESRI products. Also, each organization needs a "steward" with advanced GIS skills for certain installation and maintenance tasks.

Types of Data Needed

Equipment needs: Hardware: 450 MHz PC, 128 MB RAM, 17-inch 800x600 resolution 32-bit color monitor, and 1.5 GB hard disk space (direct draw-on-screen monitor recommended for Paint the Town tool).Software: varies depending on whether ArcView 3.2, ArcGIS 8x, or MapObjects platform is being used; usually requires AV Network Analyst or ArcEditor for land-use/transportation applications; Multi-Gen Paradigm SiteBuilder is preferred for 3D visualization.

Types of output data from tool: For each scenario: indicator scores; indicator maps; comparative ranking of multiple case results; documentation of inputs; optional visualizations.

How Do I Get It?


Tool cost: Standard versions (PlanBuilder, TransitNeighbor) $500-3900; custom versions based on client specifications.

Contact Information

Developer: Criterion Planners/Engineers, Inc.


Phone: 503-224-8606

Address: 725 NW Flanders Street, Suite 303, Portland, OR 97209-3539