Kernel Density Estimator for ArcMap
Please find the latest version of ABODE below. It should work with ArcGis 8x and 9x (last tested on 9.3.1), however you must ensure that you are evaluating Spatial Analyst and 3D Analyst and that these extensions are checked (go to Tools... Extensions...)


ABODE is a kernel density estimation (KDE) tool for ArcGIS. It was designed with animal home range calculation in mind, but it can be used for almost any application for which a density estimator is required. This tool can also perform minimum convex polygon (MCP) calculation. Unique features of this tool are an asymptote analysis (for both MCP and KDE), a statistical core range analysis (for KDE), a weighting option (for KDE), batch functions (for both MCP and KDE), and a function for developing perfectly overlapping grids of utilization distributions for static interaction analyses. There are many options for the parameters required for conducting KDE. Included amongst these are unique automated methods of determining the kernel smoothing factor. Please refer to the extensive user manual for more information.


If you need help: petelaver(at)

free downloads

Download Map Document Download a zip file containing an ArcMap file (.mxd) with ABODE beta version 5 (1.317 MB).
Download User Manual Download a pdf file containing an ABODE user manual (3.232 MB).

getting started

Save the .mxd file somewhere safe. Keep it as a clean version. Copy it to a new folder every time you start a new set of analyses (i.e. new dataset etc). Get your data into the mxd as a shapefile (a layer file will not do). Make sure it is projected in UTM and that the file has two attribute fields for the x and y coordinates (also in UTM). Check the naming protocols for shapefiles (below).


Here are some issues that have arisen with other users over the last few years:

1. The shapefile and the table of contents or project are not in the same projection … i.e. the TOC projection is UTM, but the shapefile is not, even though ArcGIS has projected it “on-the-fly”
2. The shapefile must contain fields for the UTM coordinates of the points – these must match the actual coordinates.
3. Discretization errors: if you are using LSCV smoothing, then the function can break down if you have multiple locations with the same coordinates. You can try the discretization option in ABODE or you can try to solve this manually by removing offending observations. Another option is to use another smoothing function or manually set the smoothing parameter.
4. Shapefile name: note this is the name of the actual file (as would be seen in ArcCatalog … sometimes users change the name in the Table of Contents which only affects its display name and not the actual shapefile name). Names must be shorter than 8 characters. Go as short as possible while maintaining some level of shapefile identification. Names cannot begin with a number. Characters can only be alpha-numeric, with no underscores, hyphens etc.
5. ‘Scale the grid’ must be checked.
6. File corruption: sometimes the Abode.mxd gets corrupted. Save the mxd in location where you can find it again, then copy the clean/blank mxd every time you start a new set of analyses (i.e. if you begin with a new dataset or feel that the old mxd is corrupted). Put it in a new folder with the shapefiles for analysis and output to that folder (or subfolders thereof). Sometimes when an analysis crashes, ArcMap leaves remnants of the files in the folder and prevents you from repeating the analysis because the files it is trying to create already exist there.