Using LUCI

LUCI is an evolving tool with new developments being added based on the needs of our users. It requires ESRI’s ArcGIS 10.4.1 or above to run. Help text is embedded within the LUCI software, along with information about suggested and default parameters. You can also download the latest version of the LUCI documentation.

The minimum data requirements to apply LUCI are:

  • Digital elevation model (DEM)
  • Land cover information
  • Soil information

The DEM is a gridded dataset that would ideally have ~5m to 10m resolution. Although coarser resolution data can be used, this would increase the uncertainty in LUCI predictions.

A number of national land cover and soil datasets from the United Kingdom and New Zealand are currently supported by LUCI. For other countries, it is necessary to the match their land cover and soil classifications to those classification systems. Support for a broader range of datasets will be added in the future.

Please also note LUCI has been best established in temperate regions with varied topography, and has been applied to tropical regions. Although we are beginning to bring in consideration of other geoclimatic regions, such as alpine or arid regions, it is likely to be a longer timeframe before we consider LUCI robust in such areas.

In addition to NZ and the UK, the team is exploring applications in Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Samoa and other Pacific Islands. Due to limited resources we are unlikely to be able to meet requests from outside these areas in the short term.

For more information about previously accomplished LUCI research, where LUCI has been applied, how it has been used, and what datasets have been supported within LUCI, please see the research page.

Obtaining LUCI

To obtain LUCI, email us your enquiry at with information about:

  • The problem you are seeking to solve or your research question
  • The country and region you wish to apply LUCI in
  • What data you have with as much detail as possible about the data sources
  • Your timeframe or deadlines

We are working hard to make LUCI available everywhere and for everyone, but due to limited resources our key focus at the moment is to make our core platform and documentation as robust as possible while delivering on already funded projects.

Our vision is for LUCI to be freely available for use by not-for-profit organisations (including university, other educational and government applications). At the moment, requests for using the model are assessed on a case-by-case basis, depending on data requirements and existing team commitments.

Running LUCI


General flowchart for running LUCI

There is one preprocessing step in LUCI before the ecosystem services models can be run: Generate Baseline. Using the information about topography and optional information such as climate and stream network, LUCI generates a hydrologically and topographically consistent DEM to correct for potential artefacts, allowing LUCI to more accurately simulate the flow of water through the landscape.

Afterwards, LUCI uses the land cover and soil datasets to produce files that feed into determining the spatial distribution, supply, and opportunities of the individual ecosystem services. The land cover information can be amended to explore potential scenarios where the land use or management have changed.

From there, the ecosystem services models can be run individually or in batch to produce maps that use a red-yellow-green colour scheme. These output maps can then be used for assessing trade-offs.


Sample LUCI output map for the flood interception classification

The image above shows a sample LUCI output map using the default colour scheme where the green areas are already providing good flood mitigation services, while the yellow and red areas are places for potential management interventions such as riparian planting.

Using LUCI results

LUCI is particularly useful if you are interested in the cumulative impact of many small features (or changes to these features) in the landscape on a variety of ecosystem services. For example, if you are a land manager you can explore how riparian planting might change river water flow and quality, or where you might be able to plant trees to improve drainage on your land. If you are managing a catchment, you could investigate where and how you could retain water in the upper catchment to improve flood protection downstream.

Note that LUCI is a model which explores landscape capabilities. It doesn't tell the user exactly what should be done where. LUCI is more of a negotiation tool to see where in a landscape change might be useful. So while LUCI might indicate areas with good potential for, say, food production, it doesn't make judgements on which methods might be appropriate to reach the land manager's goals. Methods to realise the potential of land could include land use change, but might also include (for example) new management or engineering initiatives.