Can geographic information systems (GIS) help in power line route selection in the ecologically sensitive and socially complex area of Kranskop in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa? Transforming data into digital
form and preparing layers for the GIS was time-consuming. Weights were assigned to layers using a pairwise comparison matrix, and combined into a single composite cost surface using the multi-criteria evaluation
module of the IDRISI GIS package, whose ‘automated’ route selector was unsuccessful, so computer-assisted methods were used. Cost indices, area analysis and impacts of routes were readily compared. Changing
weights had no major impact. The views of interested and affected parties influenced our results; how can this best be achieved in future? Positive attributes of GIS are its interactive nature and its overlaying
and displaying selected information at relevant times.