PANDA (Protected Areas Network Design Application) is a stand-alone application developed using Visual Basic and ArcObjects. It was developed to provide a user friendly framework for systematic protected areas network design to ArcGIS users. Through the use of PANDA the designer can explore different hypothetical configurations of a system of protected areas in the planning area. Conservation achievements and associated costs of each scenario are based on the available data and knowledge. The designer can edit the scenario by interactively modifying the status of the planning units among 4 managed categories (Included, Protected, Available, Excluded). He can then explore the target table to see the resulting changes in conservation achievements of the new scenario and the associated costs. PANDA allows interacting with the software MARXAN by providing an easy way to run Marxan over the current scenario and display the results into ArcGIS format. ArcGIS data files are converted to and from Marxan data files in the background. The user can then use PANDA main interface to refine Marxan solutions. Conservation features distribution, cost and Marxan irreplaceability score can be easily mapped by pressing the corresponding buttons. Auxiliary tools involved in systematic conservation network design will be provided in next PANDA release, including a tool to generate a grid of management units of the desired shape and size and an easy interface to add new conservation features and targets.

PANDA User Interface

PANDA won the “Honorable Mention” award in the Best Software Integration category at the ESRI International Users Conference Map Gallery in San Diego, California, July 2005.

Your feedback is appreciated!
Feel free to report any enhancement request or consistent application failure you might experience. Please document as many details as possible. Support from the author is not guaranteed but the best is going to be done to improve PANDA. The author also invites users to give continuous feedback on any application, funding or publication that involves the use of PANDA. The author is willing to pursue opportunities for collaborating on projects that will involve the use or enhancement of PANDA. Please contact the author at this email address:
Survey: Please let us know about your experience in using PANDA! Fill in the survey (it only takes a few minutes)!

Related links
If you are an ArcView3.x user please visit the CLUZ website at:
For further information about the Marxan software visit the Marxan homepage at:

Reservation of Ownership and Grant of Rights. The author of PANDA, Francesca Riolo retains exclusive title and ownership of the copy of the PANDA executables and source code licensed under this Agreement and grants educational and research institutions and non-profit organizations a nonexclusive, nontransferable permission to use the application for non-commercial purposes. For commercial purposes or use of the application by private agencies (including third parties hired by the above royalty-free institutions) a new agreement needs to be formulated with the author. All other rights not specifically granted in this Agreement are reserved to the Author.
Copyright. The following Author attribution information must be given in any digital or hardcopy documentation relevant to the use of PANDA: PANDA was developed by Francesca Riolo and is used herein with permission. Copyright (C) 2005 Francesca Riolo. All rights reserved.

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Version History
Tutorial data updated in 24th March 2007 release.
An issue of Marxan algorithm related to using decimal numbers to express conservation features amount was discovered. Tutorial data do not make use of decimal numbers anymore. It is strongly recommended to use always integers for conservation features amounts.
Fixed Bugs and enhancements at 11th of January 2007.
1) PANDA sometime crashes when trying to change MU status. This bug was due to an exclusive locking on temporary files. PANDA crahsed when trying to delete temporary files on some PCs. This should be now solved. 2) A log file is now produced during each PANDA sessions. If you experience problems using PANDA please send the log file you will find in the installation directory (PANDA.log) and a description of the problem.
Fixed Bugs at 20th September 2006.
1) Installation instructions were in italian. Instructions are now again in English 2) After clicking on the map with the selection tool an error message would appear.
Fixed Bugs at 26th of May 2006.
1)The toolbars wrap over TOC or partly disappear on PCs with certain screen resolutions or different default font. 2)Message upon installation keeps asking to update system components. 3)Map document (optional parameter) resulted to be required 4)PANDA shuts down when pressing more than once the Map Target button for the same target or the Map Cost button