This forum is shutting down! Please post new discussions at

Welcome NCP102 Learners!

HenryBHenryB Member, Administrator, NatCap Staff
For those of you who are coming to the NatCap Forums for the first time, after following a link from NCP-102, our second MOOC with Stanford Online, welcome! Please feel free to use this space to ask questions, start discussions, or submit suggestions about NCP102. I look forward to hearing from you!


  • Hi! I'm glad to say hi to you all. I started doing the MOOC NCP-101 But I've just realised that there is this new one, but I see they are similar right? The point is that I don't really get how to run InVest in my computer (I downloaded 3.2 and the folders mentioned in the videos are not the same I have in my computer :/
    The thing is that I need to get familiar with this tool and RIOS for my job, apart from the fact that I think that from the theory, is a highly interesting and useful tool. Can you give me please some guidance?

    And I ask you another question. I've read that now no GIS software is required. However, the user guide explains how to run it in ArcGIS. I haven't got ArcGIS. I usually work with QGIS and I can't find how to run it with QGIS. Maybe I'm a little clumsy, but I'm finding it a little bit difficult to get started with practice!

    Thanks in advance, looking forwar to hearing from you, and congratulations for the great work
  • swolnyswolny Member, NatCap Staff
    Hello @aferpo83 -

    Once you've installed InVEST and/or RIOS, you can run the tools through your Windows Start Menu. Go to All Programs -> InVEST 3.2 and within this folder you'll see a list of the models, click one and it should run. Similarly for RIOS.

    No GIS software is required to run the InVEST models themselves, except for the RIOS preprocessor, which currently does require ArcGIS specifically. What you do need a GIS for is preparing the input data and working with the output data, and this can be done with either QGIS or Arc. So if you're comfortable with QGIS, you can definitely use it.

    ~ Stacie
  • HenryBHenryB Member, Administrator, NatCap Staff

    You are correct that NCP101 and NCP102 are similar. They cover about the same breadth of introductory materials. The main difference are the case studies used. NCP101 uses examples from Belize and Colombia, and NCP102 uses examples from three US Department of Defense installations. Once you have completed NCP101, it would be possible to go into NCP102 and just complete the optional assessments for additional practice with InVEST.

  • Hi both @swolny @HenryB thanks for your kind answers! I've been out for a week, so sorry for my delay in answering you.

    Tomorrow I'll start over to use the tool. According to my company needs, I'll especially need to use InVEST, the water yield model and the sediment retention. I need to start gathering data for the inputs for a certain region in Colombia, and there are many data used for the colombian case in NCP101 that is available for that location, but not nure how to get the data for other regions. Some data like precipitation, or PET, land use, watersheds, subwatersheds, could be easily found and downloadable through the internet, but others like soil depth or biophysical table in CVS, I find it a bit difficult to find.

    I was wondering if you know from any sources where I can find input data that could be used. However, I'll keep working, trying exercises and following the user manual.

    About the user manual, only one question (sorry, this is the last one!) I could see a toolbox can be installed for arcGis, but the manual hardly speaks on the use of InVest in QGIS. Just wanted to know if the toolbox can be also installed in QGIS and if you recommend to use ArcGis more than QGIS for the work in general.

    Many thanks, we'll keep in touch!
    Best regards,

  • adrianvogladrianvogl Member, NatCap Staff
    Hi Alex,
    We do not recommend that you use the InVEST toolbox in ArcGIS at all. The ArcGIS toolbox is an old, deprecated version of the models (like, several years old) and there is no toolbox at all for QGIS.  The newest InVEST models all run outside of GIS as stand-alone software.  

    The basic sequence for using any InVEST model is to
    1) Use any GIS program of your choice to prepare the input spatial data according to the guidance in the model's user manual.  For non-spatial data that are required for some models, you can use a GIS program, a text editor or Excel to prepare these tabular data.
    2) From your Windows Start Menu, go to All Programs -> InVEST 3.2 and within this folder you'll see a list of the models, click one and it should run.  Enter all the required data in the user interface and click "Run."
    3) The model will give you a message when it has executed successfully.  The model will produce several outputs and, depending on the model, these will be .shp (shapefiles), .tif (rasters), or .csv/.dbf tables.
    4) Use any GIS program of your choice to view the spatial outputs, make maps, and analyze the results.  Some models produce tabular outputs and these can be viewed and manipulated using a spreadsheet program like Excel.

    I hope that this helps to clarify the role of InVEST relative to your GIS program.

  • adrianvogladrianvogl Member, NatCap Staff
    I apologize, I made a mistake in saying that all the InVEST models run as stand-alone software.  The Coastal Protection model is still an ArcGIS-based toolbox.  But it sounds from your posts like you are mostly interested in the terrestrial and freshwater models so that should not be an issue for you. 
  • Yes Adrian, I am actually interested especially in the water yield and sediment retention models. Your answers really help! My main problem is related to the preparation of the inputs, some of them are quitre tricky to get.
    But I'm happy to get familiar with the tool. Congratulations!
Sign In or Register to comment.