HABITAT is a free-to-use software and facilitates spatial environmental impact modelling for coastalriverlakerural and urban applications. You can request a download of HABITAT here and find tutorials here. This page focusses on the HABITAT software and scientific publications. For general information on HABITAT modelling go here.  

HABITAT is developed by WL Delft Hydraulics, Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and Delft Cluster. HABITATs current developer is Deltares. HABITAT has been built around PCRaster, a software package responsible for making the map-calculations and incorporated in the user interface of DelftShell. HABITAT is distributed as free-ware and the knowledge gained with HABITAT and developed in projects is shared as Dare-to-Share. HABITATs user group consists of univeristies, NGOs, consultancies and governments. HABITAT is/has been used in up to 34 different countries.

We encourage you to make your gained knowledge available as well, either through the Ecological knowledge base WIKI or directly as in the Knowledge Rules GitHub. You can always share your use by email with us.


HABITAT combines the input from multiple raster maps and related knowledge rules into a resulting Habitat Suitability Index map. 


The HABITAT model has been described in Haasnoot, Verkade & Bruijn (2009).




Types of cause-effect relationships (knowledge rules) available in HABITAT


HABITAT provided the option to combine and stack 4 different types of knowledge rules to model cause-effect relationships of species to their environment:


Broken linear reclassification

Example broken linear reclassification



Formula based calculation

This function also allows for use of spatial functions in the equation (through PCRaster).

Example formula based calculation



Table reclassification 

This can be a reclassification based on univariate or multivariate criteria.

Example univariate table reclassification
Example multivariate table reclassification



Spatial statistics

The resulting output of calculations can be postprocessed using spatial statistics.

Example spatial statistics


For a more indepth view on how these functions can be used please see the user manual or view the instruction videos.


Scientific publications:

Choi, Byungwoong, Byungik Kim, Jonghwan Park, Tae-Woo Kang, Dong-Seok Shin, Eun H. Na, and Jiyeon Choi. (2022) "An Integrated Modelling Study on the Effects of Weir Operation Scenarios on Aquatic Habitat Changes in the Yeongsan River" Sustainability 14, no. 10: 6090.

Haasnoot, M. J.S. Verkade, K.M. Bruijn. (2009) HABITAT a spatial analysis tool for environmental impact and damage assessment. Hydroinformatics Conference. Chili 12-16 January 2009

Haasnoot, M., Van de Wolfshaar, K.E. (2010) Combining a conceptual framework and a spatial analysis tool, HABITAT, to support the implementation of river basin management plans. Interntional. Journal. of River Basin management

Van de Wolfshaar, K.E., Ruizeveld de Winter, A.C., Straatma, M.W., Van den Brink, N.G.M., De Leeuw, J.J. (2010) Estimating spawning habitat availability in flooded areas of the river Waal, the Netherlands. River Research and Applications.