Tourism on small tropical islands in the Global South is a balancing act between development to improve local livelihoods and the conservation of fragile coastal and coral ecosystems. The objective of our study is to develop a series of new spatial metrics to support sustainable development through assessing the direction and magnitude of tourism development support and conflict between groups. We surveyed 317 individuals out of an estimated total population of 3300 using public participation GIS (PPGIS) on Tioman Island, Malaysia. Here we present a first example of how nuances in conflict can be articulated spatially across different levels of attitude toward tourism development within and between different segments of the population. Our results suggest that treating a population as homogeneous risks missing place specific development conflicts between segments of the population and locations of agreement where development can be managed sustainably with the support of the community.