Buffer Types: Setback, Bidirectional, Variable, Arbitrary, Causative, Measurable, and Mandated Buffer (Especially for GATE-Geospatial 2022)

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One of the most useful spatial analysis techniques in GIS that involves the creation of zones of interest, called buffers or dilations, within a specified distance from objects (e. g. points, lines, or polygons) depending on the type of feature that they represent.

Different types of buffers are:

Diagram Shows Different Types of Buffers

Variable Buffer

By using the GIS variable buffer function; you can select the size of the barrier for each portion of a line or polygon feature, instead of being forced to use the same-sized buffer for the entire feature.

Image Shows Variable Buffer

Setback Buffer

You can determine whether a buffer will be the same size on either side of a feature. In some cases, this difference is extreme – the buffer exists on only one side of a feature. This type of buffer is called setback buffer because it՚s “set back” in only one direction. For polygon feature, the setback buffer is usually established from the perimeter to some distance inside the feature.

Image Shows Setbacks Buffer

Bidirectional Buffer

Most buffers measure distance outward. Setback buffers can measure distance inward. one advantage of doing a buffer around an area feature is that you can have a buffer going both directions at once. Most GIS software allows you to select this option so if you want to measure a buffer distance both inward and outward from the outside perimeter of an area feature.

Image Shows Bi-Directional Buffer

Arbitrary Buffer

When the buffer area (danger zones) puts based on guesses, are known as arbitrary buffer. The guesses are based on put feelings or unreliable information of unknown source. Arbitrary buffers are larger than they need to be.

Causative Buffer

Buffer distance is based on some measure and reclassification procedures. When the buffer is produced based on a prior knowledge about the area, such buffer is known as causative buffer.

Measurable Buffer

When buffer is produced based on some definable, measurable value – it is known as measurable buffer.

Mandated Buffer

A buffering is employed legal or based on mandated measures exist – is known as mandated buffer.


  • Buffers are useful methods of reclassifying the landscape and common features in GIS analysis.
  • The fundamental problem with buffers is that they frequently require us to know more about the interactions of our landscape՚s element.
  • You should always attempt to overcome this obstacle by seeking out the best available knowledge about each situation before proceeding.

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