Comparison Reports

A Comparison Report is perhaps one of the most useful types of reports available in Patchworks. All of the reports discussed in this chapter (up until this point!) summarize information and outputs for a single scenario, summarizing all information available for that particular scenario. A Scenario Comparison Report has the ability to search through a directory to pull out similar reports from each scenario to amalgamate information. This useful tool allows you to physically compare the important outcomes and values of each scenario, to ultimately aid in the decision making/planning process. Each scenario may have its own particular merits, however to really test the validity of a proposed solution all scenarios may need to be compared against each other.

The biggest asset of the Comparison Report Writer is its ability to find and compare any number of defined reports. Comparison Reports are user defined in the PIN file, and are not provided by default due to the custom nature of the output. For example, you may specify which scenarios and which reports are to be compared, even specifying which output column to compare, or the PIN file can be defined to included all scenarios in the Comparison Report Writer.

The Comparison Report Writer is a separate tool from the Report Writer, and can be accessed from the 'Comparisons' TAB in the main Patchworks control panel. The Comparison Report Writer also provides a well organized directory tree with folders and individual reports and can be defined similar to the Report Writer. Most comparisons will be made regarding the large overall objectives like Total Volume, Total Route Costs, Area or Species, however a Comparison Report can be created for any report which is saved by period (ie. rows are made up of each period in the planning process).

There are some restrictions to what reports can be compared, however most of these restrictions are common sense. For example, all scenarios must be saved in the same directory folder, they must have similar column and row structure and of course must contain the column you are requesting! A circumstance where the Comparison Report would have difficulty would be attempting to compare scenarios with different numbers of planning periods or ranges. If you have manually specified which reports are to be saved to a scenario instead of 'selecting all', the report may be missing from the folder and will therefore not be represented in the Comparison Report. All these simple problems can be avoided by simply examining the structure of the reports to be compared before defining the Comparison Report!