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Spatial Decision Support Systems

Ali Sharifi, Marjan van Herwijnen and Willem van den Toorn

March 2004


Advances in information technology and remote sensing have provided extensive information from the processes that are taking place in earth surface, many of which are organized in computer systems, some are freely available and others are accessible in affordable price. Research in disciplinary sciences has also produced significant insight in to many physical and socio-economic processes. Development in management and decision sciences has provided opportunities to build decision aids and provide platforms for flows and exchange of different information and knowledge. Yet many of the existing information and knowledge are not used to support better management of our resources. Geo-information technology through various remote sensing techniques has offered appropriate technology for data collection from Earth-surface, information extraction, data management, routine manipulation and visualization, but they lack well-developed, analytical capabilities to support decision-making processes. If agreement is going to be based on consensual rules, then understanding, argumentation, reasoning and dialogue are the ways to arrive at inclusive solution considering the entire set of stakeholders objectives. In this context, there is a need for a decision aid to make use of development in various related fields and provide facility to: - Understand the cause-effect relationships between various socio-economic deriving forces and their impacts; - Support the analysis of the effects and impacts of alternative policy-decision on allocation of resource and services; - Further more and most importantly to provide a forum for debates facilitate dialogues, negotiation and deliberation of various issues affecting stakeholders and construct a common language for discussion and deliberation over allocation of resources. Such facility, which integrates, all the relevant information and knowledge from different sectors and disciplines to support individuals and group collaboration process for more effective and transparent planning and decision-making process is called Integrated Planning and Decision Support System (IPDSS). This concept adheres more to the view that more informed planner and policy makers are better equipped to make better plans and policies. Given the fact that IPDSS seeks to improve planning and decision-making processes and outcome, the provision of IPDSS need to be thought of more broadly than the development of the system. Knowing that the developed plan or the selected option decision is highly influenced by the system, using such type of system is not consequence-free academic exercise. It is an initiative with a significant responsibility. Bad IPDSS that produces misleading information is worse than none at all. Therefore development and application of IPDSS should be done with care. The heart of an IPDSS as defined by is the model base management, which includes quantitative and qualitative models that support resource analysis, assessment of potential and capacities of resources at different levels of management. This is the most important component of the system, which forms the foundation of model-based planning support. It includes three classes of models, which make use of the existing data, information and knowledge for identification of problem, formulation, evaluation and selection of a proper solution. These models are:

A process/behavioural model describing the existing functional and structural relationships among elements of the planning environment to help analysing and assessing the actual state of the system and identify the existing problems or opportunities. These will also supports resource analysis, which clarifies the fundamental characteristics of land/resources and helps understanding of the process through which they are allocated and utilized . A planning model, which integrates potential and capacity of the resources (biophysical), socio-economic information, goals, objectives, and concerns of the different stakeholders to simulate behaviour of the system. Conducting experimentation with such a model helps to understand the behaviour of the system and allows generation of alternative options/solutions to address the existing problems. An evaluation model, which allows evaluation of impacts of various options/solutions and supports selection of the most acceptable solution, which is acceptable to all stakeholders, and improves the management and operation of the system Multiple Criteria Evaluation MCE and Spatial Multiple Criteria Evaluation SMCE can play a very important role in the development and application of the above models. Originally, Multiple Criteria Evaluation methods were developed to select the best alternative from a set of competing options. Over the years, these methods have evolved into Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis MCDA tools and techniques which includes diverse range of decision analysis techniques that can be used in many different decision making processes, e.g. choice of alternative option, policy formulation, impact assessment, site selection, product and process evaluation, negotiation and collaborative decision making processes. On these bases this book is focusing on the understanding and modeling of the planning and decision making-process, and the basic principles and application of MCE and SMCE in these processes. Ali Sharifi March 2004


Chapter 1 - Decision Making Processes and Decision Support Systems

1.1 1.1.1 1.1.2 1.1.3 1.1.4 1.1.5 1.1.6 Decision making process Introduction Different types of problem Major decision-making Paradigms Models of decision-making Hierarchy of decisions Problem solving style

1.2 Decision support systems

1.2.1 1.2.2 1.2.3 1.2.4 1.2.6 1.2.7 1.2.8 1.2.9 1.2.10 1.2.11 1.2.12 Introduction Background Definition and components Fundamental Phases Characteristics and Capabilities GIS and Decision Support Systems Spatial Decision Support Systems Integration of GIS and DSS Issues and constraints related to development and adoption of IPDSS Problem related to development and adoption of DSS Framework for assessing usefulness and success of DSS

1.3 Framework for Planning and Decision Making

1.3.1 1.3.2 1.3.3 1.3.4 1.3.5 1.3.6 1.3.7 1.3.8 Introduction Maps and Spatial decision-making Concepts of space and decision-making A systematic approach for solving spatial problems Methods and techniques to support spatial decisions Problem identification and formulation Solution generation Multicriteria Evaluation and choice

Chapter 2 Multiple Criteria Decision analysis

2.1 2.2

MCE overviews and objectives Performance modeling and types of criteria


2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10

Measurement Scales Utility and value functions (utility, probability, possibility theory) Priority information Aggregation methods Sensitivity analysis and Uncertainty in decision making process UTA analysis Application of MCE Multicriteria Decision Support Systems

Chapter 3 Spatial Multiple Criteria Decision analysis

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Spatial MCDA Spatial objectives, alternatives and effects Decision making under certainty and uncertainty (probability & possibility theory) Framework for spatial multiple criteria decision analysis Spatial MCE 3.5.1 Evaluation criteria and partial valuation 3.5.2 Priority assessment (spatial and thematic ..) 3.5.3 Aggregation methods 3.5.4 Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis Application of Spatial MCE Spatial decision support systems Examples and assignments

3.6 3.7 3.8


1.1 1.1.1

Decision Making Process and Decision Support Systems

Decision Making Process Introduction

Decisions can be made in a variety of ways. Some people operate on their best guesses, with little outside input. Others gamble by flipping a coin or using some such a device to help them select an action over another. Some people rely on an extensive information gathering before making a decision. They try to read everything ever written on the subject, talk to friends and experts make complex graphs and assess alternative actions. Some people like to be rational. Every one knows that rational decisions are better than those that are not rational. But what is rational. The dictionary defines it as, based on or derived from reasoning. It implies the ability to reason logically. We define it as selection of a choice that best meets the objectives. The fundamental concepts of various models of individual or organizational decision making behaviour is rationality, which affirms the superiority of intellect over empirical experience. A rational or effective decision can be made through a systematic approach to the method and practice of decision-making. In this context, we define decision making as a process of generating and evaluating alternatives and choosing a course of action in order to solve a decision-problem. Since decision-making is only relevant when we are faced with a problem we should know what is meant by problem. A plethora of definitions of the word problem has been given in the literature. We define a decision-problem in the same way as Ackoff (1981) does. In the domain of decision-making, a decision-problem (choice problem) is said to exist where an individual or group perceives a difference between a present state and a desired state, and where: The individual or group has alternative courses of action available The choice of action can have a significant effect on the perceived difference (between the current and desired situation) The individual or group is uncertain a priori as to which alternative should be selected This is an action-oriented definition of problem, meaning that if no alternative options are available, an undesired state is not defined as decision-problem. In this context, Mintzberg et al.(1976), define a decision process as a set of actions and dynamic factors that can begins with identification of stimulus for action and ends with specific commitments of action. Therefore, decision-making is a process (not event), which involves a number of

actions, evolving over time and almost always involves iterations. The Decision-Makers DM are individuals or groups of individuals who directly or indirectly provide value judgments or opinions on the decision process necessary to define and choose between alternative courses of action (Chankong and Haimes 1983). Generally speaking, a decision maker does decision-making. But who is this decision maker? In practice, every person takes decisions every day. Some decisions are easy and can be done in a second. Other decisions are more complicated and involve time and effort. In most professional decision-making environments decisions are not taken by just one decision maker. Decision making is a group process where the interaction between the group members is also important. Besides, before a decision can be made a lot of preparatory work must have already been done, such as structuring the problem, gathering information, inventorying priorities, analyzing the effects, etc. Although these activities are part of the decision process they are not always carried out by the people who have to take the final decision. Preparation of the material can be done, for example, by technical advisors and experts of various research fields. These people - here called support staff - also have, implicitly, an important role in the decision procedure. The decision makers, together with their support staff, form a decision-unit. The total decision-unit is responsible for the evaluation of the problem. So the people in the decision-unit are the people who need support with the evaluation of the effects of alternatives for the solution of environmental problems. To keep things simple, a decision maker in the remainder of this book is assumed to be a member of a decision-unit (Herwijnen, 1999). 1.1.2 Different types of problem

There are different types of problem. According to Simon the type of problem determines which phase of decision-making should be more emphasized. Several taxonomies of problem have been developed. The most widely quoted taxonomy is the one that categorizes problems as well-structured, ill-structured, and unstructured. These categories were first developed by Simon, but not under the same names, he called them programmed, semi-programmed and non-programmed problems. The former terms have become better known, because they imply less dependence to computer programs, and relate more to basic nature of problem solving decision making. Sol (1982) defines a problem as well-structured if the following conditions are met: The set of alternative courses of actions or solutions is finite and limited The solutions are consistently derived from an empirical model that shows a good correspondence The outcome of the courses of action can be numerically evaluated We define problem well-structured, when all phases of the decision making- process can be formalized, and it is possible to prepare a decision rule or decision procedure such as a set of steps, a flowchart, a formula, or a procedure to collect and apply data to derive the best solution (at least a good enough solution). Since structured, programmable decisions can be pre-specified, many of these decisions can be delegated to lower-level staff, or even can be automated.

If none of the phases of the decision making process could be formalized, we define the problem as unstructured or non-programmable. Such problems have no pre-established procedures, either because the decision is too infrequent to qualify for preparing a decision procedure, or because the decision procedure is not understood well enough, or is too changeable to allow a stable pre-established procedure. If the situation is in intermediate, meaning that only some of the phases of the decision making process can be formalized (have structure), then we call the problem, ill-structured or semi-programmable. Totally structured problems usually do not require much DMs analysis. In fact they are usually well served by standard operating procedures for straightforward problems, and Expert Systems for complex problem environment. Totally unstructured problems are difficult to support with computer and models, which by nature require some structure. Keen and Scott Morton (1978) envisage DSS applications to apply most often to semi-structured problems. According to Simon (1960), ill-structured problems require more emphasis on the intelligence and design phases of the decision-making process, whereas well-structured problems require more emphasis on the choice phase. Many authors believe that not enough attention is paid to the first two phases of decision making. Much research efforts have been put on the choice phase and on well-structured problem. In practice however, identifying, defining and structuring a problem is much more important. If intelligence is not given enough attention the wrong problem may be identified and solved. If the design is given insufficient attention, a choice may be made from a set of alternative solutions that are too limited or may not even correspond to the problem. It should be understood that a problem is not structured or ill-structured per se: it all depends on the person and on the point on time, this is a subjective phenomenon. A problem may be ill-structured to some one at one point in time, and may be structured to him or some one else at later point in time. The challenge here is to find structure in problems that they seem to have no structure. Structuring a problem means breaking down the problem into a number of sub-problems that better fulfil the conditions set for well structured problems (Bosman, 1986). Romero and Rehman (1989 ), distinguish between the economic and technological decision problems. When decisions are characterized by a single choice criterion, they are referred as technological problems, and when they involve several criteria, each reflecting an objective (many times conflicting), is called economic decision problem. Technological problems only consist of the processes of search and measurement. The process can be undertaken by a simple tools or very sophisticated method. That means in technological problems there is only searching, measuring and comparing the alternative options (selection of most suitable land for a land use considering only bio-physical property). Whereas in economic problems, where several conflicting objectives are involved, to find a compromise solution among the conflicting objectives, it is necessary to drive and consider the preferences of the DMs (selection of most suitable land for a land use considering biophysical and socio-economic properties).


Major decision-making Paradigms

The immediate vision of DM is that he behaves in an objectively rational way, in which he tries to find optimal course of action and has all the relevant information for his decision ready available. In this vision the DM is pictured as homo economicus. Many authors have criticized this vision. Bosman (1986) summarizes the critique. He states that DMs usually do not have all relevant information when making decisions. Collecting and checking information both cost money and time. The DM normally stops looking for information as soon as he feels comfortable with the information that he has. Since human being has a limited cognitive capacity, even if more information can be provided he would be in most cases unable to process them. Because of this limitation, the DM is not always able to apply so-called analytic procedure, i.e., procedure that can guarantee an optimal solution. He has to resort to so-called heuristic procedures, leading to a solution which may not be necessary optimal. The homo economicus vision was an implicit assumption of any theory on improving decision-making until Herbert Simon (1960) wrote his famous book on The New Science of Management Decisions. Simon distinguishes the following two paradigms for decisionmaking: Objective rationality: assumes a rational DM who knows exactly the goal of decision making and how its outcome can be measured. More over, he has access to all information that he requires (all alternative options and their outcomes) and therefore can find the decision, which leads to the best possible solution. This is how one should (expected) to make a decision and is aiming at maximizing goal achievement level. The rational model is supported by normative models and optimization techniques. Procedural rationality or bounded rationality: assumes that DM is looking for a course of action which is good enough. This is because in real life people usually make decisions that are based on attempt to attain only satisfactory level of goal attainment. According to this principle, DMs follows satisficing (good enough) decision-making behaviour, and search for an option that meets certain aspiration levels rather than optimizing behaviour that aims at finding the best possible decision. This approach, which tries to simulate how in reality one makes a decision, is the most valuable contribution of Simon to the study of decision-making. The bounded rationality is more supported by descriptive models and simulation techniques Decision-making for every complex, crucial decision takes place under constraints of human information-processing limitations. What do people do when confronted with these limitations? Simon has suggested several strategies that people use to reduce the cognitive demands of decision-making in order to make ' reasonable' decisions. First, people delimit the scope of the decision problem by imposing constraints, that, conceptually at least, can be thought of as eliminating whole regions of the payoff matrix. In other words, people consider only part of the total decision problem space. Second, people simplify the evaluation of outcomes by, in essence, seeking to characterize whether outcomes are or are not acceptable. The key concept is that of an aspiration level. That is, prior to learning of the levels of outcomes that can be reached by taking different actions, the decision-maker is assumed to fix a level to which he or she aspires and which is acceptable. It is important to

note that adopting aspiration levels reduces the need to search for information to evaluate alternatives and possible states of the world. This strategy therefore considerably reduces the need for and processing of information, and for the same reasons is seen as an approach of reducing complexities. The use of aspiration levels is thus the primary mechanism by which people can reduce the costs of information processing and yet still act in a purposeful manner. However, the use of aspiration levels is not without its costs. In Simon' s model, the aspiration level is a device used to simplify choice. Its use suggests a willingness to balance the quality of a decision against the cost, and frequently impossibility, of being able to engage in more extensive analysis. The use of aspiration levels, or what Simon referred to as satisficing, is a non-compensatory decision-making approach because an alternative that does not meet one of the aspiration levels cannot compensate with superior performance with respect to other objectives. According to the theory of bounded rationality, the DM has to construct rather simplified model of reality, following satisfying strategy and directed by the value good enough. In another word, DM is expected to select the first alternative that meets the minimum standards of satisfaction. Bounded rationality approach is based on the following principles: Sequential attention to alternative solutions. People examine possible solution to a problem - one at a time. If the first solution fails to meet the standards, the next one will be examined, and so on. Use of heuristics. A heuristic1 is a rule that guides the search for alternatives. It has a high probability for producing satisfactory solutions. Problem solvers use heuristics to reduce large number of possible solutions by showing the most likely solution paths. Satisficing. An alternative is satisfactory if it satisfies a set of criteria that describes minimally satisfactory conditions. Assuming these basic mechanisms, bounded rationality model of problem solving consists of the following guidelines: - Set the goal or define the problem to be solved. - Establish an appropriate level of aspiration, or criteria level. - Employ heuristics to narrow problem space to a single promising alternative. - If no feasible alternative is identified, lower the level of aspiration and begin the search for a new alternative solution. - After identifying a feasible alternative, evaluate it to determine its acceptability. - If this alternative is not acceptable, initiate search for a new alternative solution. - If the alternative is acceptable, implement the solution. - Following implementation, evaluate the effort with which the goal was (was not) attained and raise or lower the level of aspiration accordingly for a future use. Emerging paradigm: The problem solving strategies analyzed so far are purposed to simplify the solving process. The main concern is reducing complex problem spaces and selection of appropriate heuristics for this purpose. The heuristics of simplification are developed under the theoretical background of bounded rationality theory. These techniques are legitimate in

Heuristics are typically rule-of thumb, or shortcuts that allow problem solvers to arrive at a solution efficiently


well-structured or semi-structured situations where the ends and means are known but they are irrelevant in ill-structured situation where real creative solutions are needed (Schon , 1996). According to Schon , Bounded rationality theory of Simon (1993) does not have the necessary means to deal with real-life problem situations characterized by complexity, uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflict. Bounded rationality theory assumes that problems are given and the ends and means are clear. Schon claims that the issue is problem setting and real challenge is constructing problem out of problem situation, defining ends and finding appropriate means for achieving them. In most of the ill-structured problems there is a pluralism of conflicting approaches. The task of problem solver is to design the right combination of their components. The real concern in ill-structured situation is that solutions are blocked by searching in too narrow problem space. Problem solver has to enlarge the space and see and explore new possibilities in order to get satisfactory solution. There is a tendency to stick too closely to established pattern of procedures when the problem requires developing new patterns. The problem is rather of constructing new problem solving space and to search for new alternatives. Schon proposes a practice called `reflection-in-action' that is supposed to explain how high profile experts deal with ill-structured situation. Reflection-in-Action means "we can think about doing something while doing it" (Schon , 1997, p. 54). When experts reflect in action they see the problem situation as something in their catalogue. They catch either similarities or differences with what they have experienced earlier. It is merit of Schon to show the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of traditional problem solving approaches to manage the complexity of ill-structured situations. Bounded rationality paradigm of Simons, which was operationalized through searching for satisficing option has been the great contribution to decision science. However it should be realize that, the procedure was introduced on early 60s, which was rather a poor information era. Since then much development has taken place especially in the field of information technology, which has strongly influenced all aspects of life, and society. Now we are no longer living in a poor information environment, but in a rich information era. The problem in most cases is the proper selection/screening of data /information/knowledge and the way that it should be used to improve the quality of decision making process. Naturally this environment calls for different model and procedure, which can make good use of the existing power of information technology, knowledge and information. The information technology has strongly improved the possibility of implementation of objective rationality, through provision of data, processing algorithms and processing power. It also provides possibilities to extend the bounded rationality. However this extension requires modification of the principles as follows: - Definition of problem space, - Development of (few) feasible options, - Considering objectives and concerns, musts and wants, assess the impacts of solutions, - Analyse the impacts and choose proper solution and present the results - Consider the problem solving as a learning process



Models of decision-making

Many models of decision-making process have been proposed in the literature. Witte (1972) addressed the issue of whether phases do exist and whether they follow a simple sequence as suggested in most of the literature. He investigated 222 decision making processes and found that decision-making processes can be delineated in distinct phases, but also he found out that there is no simple sequential relationship between them. We here examine three models, representing the three schools of thought. The oldest and simplest model which represent the classical economic model of DM (rational model) is the one developed by Dewey (1910). This regards decision-making process as answering the following three consecutive questions: What is the problem? What are the existing solutions? Which alternative is the best? The well-known model of Herbert A. Simon (1960), which represents bounded or procedural rationality, distinguishes the following phases: The intelligence or problem formulation phase. This involves scanning of the environment for situations (problem or opportunities) demanding a decision. Here data are obtained, processed, and examined for clues that may identify problems or opportunities The design phase; This involves inventing, developing analyzing possible courses of action, which includes process of understanding the problem, generating solutions and test solutions for feasibility The Choice Phase; Involving selection of an alternative or course of action from those available (selection of the first alternative that satisfies the aspiration levels) Extended Simon Model: Although, Simons work has proved to be a powerful explanatory approach to decision making in the context of hard system thinking. Many authors think it is a simplistic approach that is well suited for simple decision situations, but not for complex problem in an environment that conflict and struggle for authority and power is least to be considered. Because it gives too little account of the political and social conflicts and complexities of organizations (for further information see Lewis 1994). As was mentioned earlier, it also does not also considers the potential contribution of IT as it has developed by now, as well as the developed knowledge on social and different physical science that can make significant contribution in the decision making process. Recent attempts to aid decision-making has emphasized the importance of the internally generated, mental model of organization and its objectives which managers use in decision making. Although, Simons model implicitly recognize the effects of such constructs but fails to address their nature. The importance of such mental constructs is recognized by Sir Geoffrey Vickers, (1965, 1968, 1983), and explained through the concepts of appreciation. In Vickerss view, management is concerned not with the organization of things but rather with maintenance of relationships over time, both within the organization and with outside world. To maintain the relationship the organization is constantly required to adapt in 12

response to changing circumstances. Central to this is the appreciative system of organization which at any moment in time has an appreciative setting, defined as a readiness to see and value things. These appreciating setting, born from the past experiences, organizational history and mythology, consist of standards, norms, and values which lead the organization to recognize as important only certain features of the situation in which they exist. Appreciation is a framework consisting of making reality judgement, making value judgement and making instrumental judgements to understand a social process, which occurs at the individual as well as the organizational level (Checkland & Casar, 1986). The reality judgment is the understanding of the present situation considering the norms of an organization. Norms in Vickerss term, represent ideas, which allow organization or individuals to understand facts and give meaning to raw data. Norms are not necessarily written or described in detail but they guide what organization sees and what it considers as relevant. The result of this process is compared to the standards and norms to make value judgements about whether the present situation is satisfactory. The next process is concerned with making instrumental judgements about what should be done in the light of value judgments. Organizational adaptation therefore occurs through managers making reality judgements and establishing facts about their situation, attributing meanings to these facts through value judgment, comparing the resultant view of organizations position with some normative standard and finally taking some action to minimize the disparity between the two. Judgment might be based on standards of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, but these standards themselves are part of the flux and are changed through use and time. Integrating the notion of appreciation, and considering the potential contribution of Information Technology IT as well as the development in social and physical sciences with Simons model enriches the model of decision-making, mainly through providing a framework determining the way in which each phase of decision making should be carried out. An important feature of any appreciative understanding of decision-making is that it leads us to regard decision-making not as a once-only linear process (as does Simons model) but as a continuous and ongoing learning process in which the process of making decision is inseparable from the process of deciding that a decision is required. In our view decision-making is a process of solving a choice problem and includes a number of phases that are graphically presented in Figure 1.1. This concept, which is a modification of the Simons model, referred as a frame work for planning and decision making process is further elaborated in section 1.3. Much confusion exists between the terms decision making and problem solving. One school of thought (like Sprague and Carlson) includes the implementation of decision into the decision making process and do not distinguish difference between the two, while others consider implementation as a fourth phase, and only when that is included, they call it problem solving process. Strictly speaking, decision-making is not the same as problem-solving. Since DM stops when decision for action is taken. In fact, problem solving puts the decision into effect and monitors the consequences, which includes other


phases such as, preparation of plan, implementation, monitoring and control. Simon regarded the implementation as a whole new decision, consisting of all the three phases. Here we define a decision making process as a set of activities which begins with identification of dissatisfaction with the present state and ends with a decision leading to the solution. This is in line with the definition, which we have accepted for the decisionproblem.

Intelligence Phase REALITY

Simplification Define system Search and scanning environment Understand system behavior Identify problem Set objectives


Design Phase
Verification and Validation of models Formulate proper model Calibrate/validate model Generate feasible alternatives


Choice Phase
Success Verification, testing of final solution Set criteria for choice Predict and measure impacts Evaluate and select an alternative Decide and explain the choice


Figure 1.1: Decision-Making Process 1.1.5 Hierarchy of decisions

Managerial functions are composed of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. To carry out these functions, mangers are engaged in continuous process of making decisions. Organizations are normally filled with decision-makers at various levels. Anthony (1965) defines the following three broad categories that encompass all managerial activities: Strategic planning: definition of organizational objectives and the long term goals and policies for resource allocation Management control which involves the acquisition, efficient and effective utilization of resources in the accomplishment of organizational goals Operational control: which involves the effective and efficient use of resources and execution of a specific tasks. Gorry and Scott Morton (1971) combined the work of Simon (1977) and Anthony s work 14

(1965) and have provided a framework to define several concepts and evolution of computer systems. This framework which is given on Figure 1.2. Consists of nine cells. The right hand column and bottom row indicates the technology needed to support various decisions. This suggests that for semi-structured and unstructured problems the conventional management information systems MIS1 are insufficient and require Decision Support Systems(DSS) and Expert Systems (ES). The more structured and operational control oriented tasks (cells 1, 2. and 4) are performed by low level managers, whereas the tasks in cells 6, 8 and 9 are the responsibility of top executives requiring DSS and Executive Information System EIS supports. For more information see Turban (1995). Many technical decision problems include the selection of proper tools, techniques and methods (cells 1, 4 and 7). Whereas most of the planning problems which has to consider many conflicting objectives and scare resources, they become economical problem and fall into cells 2, 5, and 8.
Type of Control Type of Decision Operational Control Survey implementation Managerial Control Plans for resource inventory Strategic Planning Identification of long term resources and supply of resources 3 Land use plans, policy for land use plans 6 R&D planning, new technology development, social responsibility planning 9 EIS, ES, neural networks DSS, ES, neural networks Support Needed MIS, operational research models, transaction processing DSS


! Semi Structured Upgrading existing methods and techniques of surveying 4 Introducing, applying new techniques and methods 7 Support Needed MIS, management, science

2 Planning for applying new techniques and technology 5 Planning for introduction of new technology


8 Management, science, DSS, ES, EIS

Figure 1.2: Decision support Framework (after Gorry and Scott)

Executive information systems are being developed primarily to serve the information needs of executives, providing extremely user friendly interface, meeting individual decision styles, providing timely and effective tracking control, drill-down capability, filter, compress, and track critical data and information and identify problems (Turban, 1995).


1.1.6 Problem solving Styles Problem solving styles are the ways people prefer to apply their intellectual abilities and knowledge to a problem. Lubart (1994) classifies problem-solving styles according to global-local dimension. People with local problem solving style like to work on narrow, detailed aspects of a problem. Global problem solving style prefers to work on broad, general level of a problem. Creative solutions often involve seeing the big picture first, and hence a global style is hypothesized to be important. However in some of the later phases of creative work, attention to detail becomes necessary for completing the task. Two psychological functions that are involved in information gathering are identified (sensation and intuition) and two functions supporting evaluation are discovered thinking and feeling, (Hellriegel, Slocum, Wondman,1992). A person usually prefers one way of gathering data and one way of evaluating it. A person may use a secondary method for the fine-tuning basic approach. Individuals collect information either by sensation or intuition but never simultaneously. The same is valid for thinking and feeling in evaluation of information. Based on the functions described, four types of persons are identified: sensation-type, intuitive-type, feeling-type, and thinking-type. In terms of problem solving styles the sensation-type person tends to: - Dislike new problems, unless there are standard ways to solve them. - Enjoy using skills already acquired more than learning new ones. - Work steadily with a realistic idea of how long a task will take. - Work through a task or problem to a conclusion. - Be impatient when details get complicated. - Distrust creative inspiration. The intuitive-type of person tends to: - Keep the total picture or overall problem continually in mind as problem solving proceeds. - Show tendency, willingness and openness to continually explore possibilities. - Rely on hunches and non-verbal cues - Simultaneously consider a variety of alternatives and options and quickly discard those judged unworkable. - Jump around or back and forth among the usual sequence of steps in problem solving process and may suddenly want to reassess whether the `real' problem has even been identified. Feeling-type of person tends to: Enjoy pleasing people even in ways that other people consider as unimportant. Dislike dealing with problems that requires telling other people something unpleasant. Be responsive to other people' s problems. Emphasize the human aspect in dealing with problems and view causes of inefficiency and ineffectiveness as interpersonal human problems.


Thinking-type of person tends to: - Make a plan and look for a method to solve a problem. - Be extremely conscious of and concern with the approach to a problem. - Define carefully the specific constrains in a problem. - Proceed by increasingly refining an analysis. - Search for and obtain additional information in an orderly manner. As a result of this analysis four problem solving styles are defined: Sensation-Thinkers, Intuitive Thinkers, Sensation-Feelers and Intuitive-Feelers. Based also on the typology of Jung, Katherine Myers and Isabel Briggs (1993) have developed a theory and Type Indicator (MBTI) for identifying and measuring different personality types. The theory tries to explain personality differences as different pattern of behaviour. The theory is based on the assumption that people are born with preferences. Myers-Briggs identified four pair of opposite preferences. People tend to favour one pole over another and use it most of the time because it comes more easy and with less effort and energy. The four pairs of opposite preferences are as follows: - Extraverting (E) v/s Intraverting (1) - where we focus our attention and what energizes us. - Sensing (S) v/s iNtuiting (N) - how we prefer to take in information. - Thinking (T) v/s Feeling (F) - how we evaluate information and make decisions. - Judging (J) v/s Perceiving (P) - refers to one' s lifestyle orientation. People have preferences to one of the sides of the pairs making a combination. For example a person might have Introverting, Intuiting, Thinking and Judging preferences - thus ITTJ pattern. All together there are sixteen types of personality. Myers-Briggs personality classification is being referred as one the most popular classification of problem solving styles. However it is disputable whether the personal types might be considered as a problem solving styles.



Decision Support Systems



As our understanding of the natural resource base is improving, the decision-making in rural, natural and environmental resource management is becoming more complex process. Because, it has to consider many more information which, calls for an integrated approach. As the complexity of the decision-making task increases, resource managers (whether farmers, agri-business, Government Agency staff or other managers) are increasingly unlikely to have the necessary expertise, and, therefore, capacity to make resource management decisions that integrate the range of issues that demand consideration (Walker, 2000)1. This increasingly complex environment for resource use and management has necessitated the development of new skills, methods and tools to consider new information and apply new ways of thinking to consideration of that information. As a consequence, new tools are developed to improve the outcome of decision-making processes (Brooks bank, 2000). Such tools are so called Decision Support Systems, which are based on: Development of effective access to the broad range of technical data, knowledge and process information that might be germane to decision-making; The development of new ways of analyzing potential strategies for resource use and their implications; The development of tools or methods that package these new approaches to make them accessible to the resource manager; A role in building the capacity to bring these advances into existing and evolving decisionmaking processes. Decision Support Systems "DSS" are a class of sub-systems of the management information system which support analysts, planners, and managers in the decision making process. They can reflect different concept of decision making and different decision situations. Decision support systems are especially useful for semi-structured or unstructured problems where problem solving is enhanced by an interactive dialogue between the system and the user. Their primary feature is harnessing computer power to aid the decision-maker to explore the problem, and increase the level of understanding about decision environment through access to data and models appropriate to the decision. They are aimed at generating and evaluating alternative solutions in order to gain insight into the problems, trade-offs between various objectives and support decision making process. The primary intention of DSS is to assist specific decision-makers, individually or in groups, rather than the entire organisation. This allow custom design of the system, in which decision makers can use decision support systems interactively to build and more



importantly, to change analytic models of the decision problem. Customisation is based on the direct involvement of the end user in system design and development. It is his view of the problem and his experiences in many aspects of management and decision making process. Interactive use allows immediate changes in assumed parameters with rapid feedback, encouraging the learning process that is impossible when the decision maker has to wait extended period of time for output. Therefore, interaction is a central feature of any effective man-machine-system. A real time dialogue allows the user to define and explore a problem incrementally in response to immediate answers from the system. Fast and powerful systems with modern processor technology can offer the possibility to simulate the dynamic processes with animated output and provide high degree of responsiveness that is essential to maintain a successful dialogue and direct control over the software. Decision support paradigms may include predictive models, which gives unique answers but with limited accuracy and validity. Scenario analysis relaxes the initial assumptions by making them more conditionals, but at the same time more dubious. Normative models prescribe how things should happen, based on some theory, and generally involve optimisation or game theory. Alternatively, descriptive or behavioural models supposedly describe things as they are, often with the exploitation of statistical techniques. Prescriptive analysis of decisions emphasises the development, evaluation and application of techniques to facilitate decision-making. These studies rely upon logic of mathematics and statistics and utilise the concepts of utility and probability to analyse decision problems. The concept of utility relates to the expression of preferences among alternative options, while probability serves to evaluate the likelihood of these preferences being utilised. Traditionally, prescriptive decision analysis has taken the form of either an objective or subjective evaluation of decision criteria. In objective analysis, attempts are made to provide a functional appraisal of decision event by identifying all the potential effects and the magnitude of such impacts based on the market value of events and criteria involved. The net value of the benefits of possible alternative choices are then compared with the costs associated with the decision to help make a choice (cost benefit analysis). Subjective analysis of decision events on the other hand, comprises various approaches, which share the common purpose of helping decision-makers to express consistent judgement and choose rationally. The techniques adopted in the various approaches incorporate explicit statements of preferences of decision-makers. Such preferences are represented by various quantities, weighting scheme, constraints, goal, utilities, and other parameters. They analyse and support decision through formal analysis of alternative options, their attributes vis--vis evaluation criteria, goals or objectives, and constraints. DSS functions ranges from information retrieval and display, filtering and pattern recognition, extrapolation, multiattribute utility theory, optimisation techniques, inference and logical comparison to complex modelling.


Group decision support systems focus on expediting the exchange of ideas among participants (brainstorming), stimulating quieter members to participate, and organising collective thought into a workable consensus. In this context a set of participatory multiple criteria and multiple objective evaluation techniques are needed that aim to place the GIS analyst as a mediator between the computer technology package and the decision-maker. GIS here can be seen as a possible vehicle for problem solving and decision making while accommodating the multiplicity of stakeholders in the decision making process. Research and development in this line has led to the development of Collaborative Spatial Decision Support Systems (CSDSS). Such types of system enables group to work together and participate in decision making concerning spatial issues by providing a set of generic tools, e.g., exchange of numerical, textual, graphical information, generation of solutions, group evaluation, consensus building and voting. This types of systems enable the stake-holders to collaborate in decision making process with no limitation of space and time, they can contribute to the group decision at any time and from any location. Examples of possible application may be environmental restorations, conservation planning, multiple resource use, and land use planning. 1.2.2 Origin

The concept of decision support systems has developed as a consequence of two factors: first, the failure of the information systems (existed in 1970s & 80s) to assist management in many higher level tasks despite their automating power; second , the advancement in the computing technology(hardware and software) had made it possible. The term decision support systems emerged as a discipline in the early 70s and developed through the 1980s and 1990s. Probably , the first definition of decision support systems had came from Little' s article "Models and Managers - the Concept of a Decision Calculus". He described the concept of Decision Calculus as: model-based set of procedures for processing data and judgment to assist a manager in his decision-making( Little , 1970 ). Another initiative in the early 70s , came from the Gorry and Scott Morton . They defined the term DSS in the article , "A framework for Management Information Systems "This article has been widely recognized as the foundation paper for the field. Gorry and Scott Morton were motivated by the failure of management information systems . They argued that ; a greater proportion of MIS resources should be devoted to the development of systems to support decisions processes in organization . (Gorry and Scott , 1971) . For the time being , there was a good possibility for such efforts because the technology was sufficient and the process how human beings solve problems was enough understood to capture aspects of the human decisions process in models. Gorry and Scott Morton came up with a potential computer support framework for management activities on two dimensions (Fig.1.2.1) . The horizontal axis consist of Anthony' s levels of managerial activities . Three levels of managerial activities are; operational control, management control and strategic planning (Anthony, 1965). This classification is widely accepted in the management discipline . The vertical axis contains three classes of decision situations.


Opperational Control

Management Control

Strategic Control

Structured Control

Expert Systems

Semistructured Control

Fig.1.2.1-DSS Framework (after Gorry and Scott) i ) Structured: corresponds roughly to programmed decisions. ii) Semistructured: the case in which one or more of the three phases of decision making are unstructured. iii) Unstructured: correspond roughly to unprogrammed decisions. Gorry and Scott Morton define the Semistructured case as one in which one or more of the the three phases of decision making were unstructured .The idea was based upon Simons work . He recognized the phases of decision making as: The three phases of decision making are; intelligence-scanning environment, design- develop alternative courses, and choice stage-selection of alternative ( Simon, 1960) The efforts mentioned above(by Little & Gorry and Scott) mark the begning of the early 70s era of the decision support systems , commonly known as the era of decision support systems concept ,because this is the period when the concept of decision support was introduced. According to Schenck in the early seventies attention was directed towards the decision support system concept. In the late seventies the decision support movement originated. This movement developed into the decision support system bandwagon during the early eighties. In the latest phase there is a call for a major re-orientation of the decision support system efforts.( Schenck , 1987). In early 80s , the advancement in the computing technology offered the possibilities of new means of computer-assisted decision making . Many software labelled as decision support systems came to the market. Several disciplines like management science , computer science , cognitive psychology , behavioural decision theory , information economics and political science adopted such software as a support to their decision making processes. A number of disciplines provided the substantive foundations for DSS development and research. Data processing has contributed tools and research on managing data. Management Science has developed mathematical models for use in DSS and provided evidence on the advantages of modelling in problem solving. Cognitive Science, especially Behavioural Decision Making research has provided descriptive information that has assisted in DSS design and has generated hypotheses for DSS research. In the late 80s & early 90s , the two fields , computer science and management science has contributed a lot 21

Unstructured Control

Decision Support Systems

to development of DSS. It was the era , when this discipline has emerged as the interaction product of these two sciences and gained the capability to perform data retrieval functions together with adhoc analysis , including complex model building and execution . 1.2.3 Definition and components The distinguishing characteristics of a DSS includes interactive access to data and models that deals with a specific decision that can not be solved by the computer alone, and requires human interaction. The term includes three key words, each of which has an especial meaning. Decision emphasizing the primary focuses on decision-making in a problem situation rather than the subordinate activities of simple information retrieval, processing, reporting or matching. Support clarifying the computers role in aiding rather than replacing the decision- maker. System highlighting the integrated nature of the system approach, suggesting the wider context of user, machine and decision environment (van Schalk, 1988). Common to all definitions of DSS is a sense that these systems must support particular types of decision. This characteristic distinguishes DSS from general purpose Management Information Systems MIS. Such system should include the following main capabilities: Support for all or at least some of the phases of the decision making process Support resource analysis which helps understanding the characteristics of resources and the processes through which they are allocated and utilized Support for transferring the results of analysis to the decision-makers in a communicable, manageable, easy understandable and quick way. In the context of planning and decision making process as described in section 1.2, Decision and Planning Support Systems DSS, PSS are defined as a class of geoinformation systems composed of data/information, models, and visualization tools, which are primary developed to support different phases of the planning and decision making processes. PSS will emphasize more on the design phase which leads to the development of options and plans, whereas DSS is focusing more on the choice phase and rationalize the selection of options. Together they form Integrated Planning and Decision Support Systems IPDSS which tries to rationalize both planning and related decision-making processes by providing necessary support to structure and formulate the problem systematically, develop alternative plans or policy scenarios, assess and evaluate their impacts (considering objectives of the relevant stakeholders), and select a proper policy or plan. Underlying the development of DSS, PSS and IPDSS is the assumption that planning and decision making are dynamic processes, and therefore requires the relevant support for continuous updating of data, and the generation and evaluation of plans and policies based on the updated data and assumptions. Naturally, a greater degree of access to relevant knowledge and information will lead to the development and evaluation of a more effective number of alternative scenarios, which will result in a better informed planning and public debate. Main components of the system: IPDSS Widely accepted definitions of IPDSS have database, model-base and interface components. Turban (1995) further elaborates these components and designs a DSS


architect as shown in Figure 1.2.2. In this design DSS is composed of four sub-systems, which are briefly described as follows. a. A database management system: Which includes data bases designed to accommodate and organize the basic spatial and thematic data, provide facilities for selection and manipulation of data as well as interrelating data from various sources. It includes three types of databases, mainly, internal data as generated by the organization, the data from external sources, and private data which are specific to decision maker. b. A model base management system: Which includes quantitative and qualitative models that support resource analysis, assessment of potential and capacities of resources at different levels of management. This is the most important component of the system, which forms the foundation of model-based planning support (Sharifi, 2003). It includes three classes of models, which make use of the existing data, information and knowledge for identification of problem, formulation, evaluation and selection of proper solution. These models are:
External & internal databases Other computer-based systems

NRM data Socio-eco

Data base management Model base management Knowledge base management

Other data

Dialogue management

Planner/decision maker

Figure1.2.2. Main components of DSS/PSS (after Turban 1995)

A process/behavioral model describing the existing functional and structural relationships among elements of the planning environment to help analyzing and assessing the actual state of the system and identify the existing problems or opportunities. These will also supports resource analysis, which clarifies the fundamental characteristics of land/resources and helps understanding of the process through which they are allocated and utilized [Sharifi and van Keulen, 1994; Sharifi, 2003; Sharifi & Rodriguez 2002]. A planning model, which integrates potential and capacity of the resources (biophysical), socio-economic information, goals, objectives, and concerns of the different stakeholders to simulate behavior of the system. Conducting experimentation with such a model helps to understand the behavior of the system and allows generation of alternative options/solutions to address the existing problems. An evaluation model, which allows evaluation of impacts of various options/solutions and supports selection of the most acceptable solution, which is acceptable to all stakeholders, and improves the management and operation of the system 23

c. A knowledge base: which provides information on data and existing processing capacity and models which can be used to identify the problem, to generate solutions, test their feasibilities, evaluate and appraise their performances, and finally to communicate the results to the decision makers. d. A user-friendly interface, which allows smooth and easy communication with the system, visualization and communication of the results of the analysis to the decision makers in a manageable and understandable form. 1.2.6 - Characteristics and Capabilities As a IPDSS can be highly specialized due to its interactions with the end users and continuous updating in knowledge and components, it is difficult to specify its standard characteristics and capabilities. Turban (1995), has enumerated a set of ideal functionality to indicate the characteristics and capabilities. Ideally, they should support various faces and steps of planning and decision making processes. If agreement is going to be based on consensual rules, then understanding, argumentation, reasoning and dialogue are the ways to arrive at inclusive solution considering the entire set of stakeholders objectives. In this context, there is a need for a decision aid to make use of development in various related fields and provide facility to: Understand the relationships between various socio-economic deriving forces and their related pressure indicators which leads to changes in the state of environment, that on itself will have impact on the socio-economic, and natural environment; Support the analysis of the effects and impacts of alternative decision on allocation of resources and services and introduced changes on each or combination of Deriving force-Pressure-State indicators D-S-P (EEA, 2000); Further more and most importantly to provide a forum for debates facilitate dialogues, negotiation and deliberation of various issues affecting stakeholders and construct a common language for discussion and deliberation over allocation of resources. Such structure, which integrates, all the relevant information and knowledge from different sectors and disciplines to support individuals and group collaboration process for more effective and transparent planning and decision-making process is called Integrated Planning and Decision Support System (IPDSS). This concept adheres more to the view that more informed planner and policy makers are better equipped to make better plans and policies. The prime role of the Integrated Planning and Decision Support Systems is awareness building and education, rather than the decision-making act itself. Such systems are not considered as the means to legitimate decisions, rather to initiate and inform debates and decision-making processes. The system therefore should give an adequate and truthful representation of the real world system, and the policy maker should be enabled to work with the system in a well-structured, well-guided and flexible manner. Development of such a system requires understanding of the system, its constituent processes and their impact on system behavior, and understanding of the system requires synthesis of important ecological, environmental, social, managerial and economic processes in the system.


1.2.7 GIS and Decision Support Systems Anselin and Getis (1992) identify four analytical function groups in their conceptual GIS model: selection, manipulation, exploration and confirmation (Figure 1.2.3). Selection involves the query or extraction of data from the thematic or spatial databases. Manipulation entails transformation, partitioning, generalization, aggregation, overlay and interpolation procedures. Selection and manipulation in combination with visualizationcan be powerful analysis tools. Data exploration encompasses those methods which try to obtain insight into trends, spatial outliers, patterns and associations in data without having a preconceived theoretical notion about which relations to be expected (Tukey 1977: Anselin and Getis 1992). The data driven sometimes called data mining approach is considered as very promising, due to the fact that theory in general in many disciplines are poor and moreover, spatial data is becoming increasingly available (rapid move from the data poor environment to a data rich environment). According to Sauter (1997), during the early days of DSS, the challenge was to provide decision-makers access to enough information to allow them to make a better decision. Now, the challenge is not to provide enough information for decision-makers; rather it is how to screen the information, select those that are useful/relevant to the decision, without overwhelming or misleading the DM. Hence the challenge of DSS today, is to provide facilities to select the necessary and useful information for the decision problem. On this basis the concept of data warehouse has emerged and used in DSS. Confirmative analysis, however is based on a priori hypothesis of spatial relations which are expected and formulated in theories, models and statistical relations (technique driven). Confirmative spatial methods and techniques originate from different disciplines like operation research, social geography, economic models and the environmental sciences. The four analytical functions can be considered as a logical sequence of spatial analysis. The further integration of the maps/results from spatial analysis is an important next step to support decision-making, which is called evaluation (Anselin and Getis, 1992). The lack of enough functionality especially in explorative and Confirmative analysis and evaluation in GIS packages has been the topic of many debates in the scientific communities and as a result techniques to support this steps have gained more attention. In this context several studies has demonstrated the usefulness of integrating multiobjective decision techniques with GIS, and few vendors have incorporated some analytical techniques in their GIS packages (IDRISI, ESRI). GIS are gaining importance and widespread acceptance as a tools for decision support in land, infrastructure, resources, environmental management and spatial analysis, and in urban and regional development planning. GIS assists in the preparation of spatially distributed input data, analysis, display, and management of geographical data. It is in the analysis and display function that GIS meets DSS. With respect to the analysis applications, it is often noticed in the scientific literature that there is a major discrepancy between GIS as an instrument for spatial data handling and GIS as a tool for answering questions in exploratory and explanatory spatial analysis (Openshaw, 1990, Nijkamp, 1993).



Concept of Space; Data Model; Measure








Exploration Evaluation




Fig.1.2.3- Functions of GIS (after Anselin and Getis , 1992 in:Douven , 1997). With the development of GIS, environmental and natural resource managers increasingly have at their disposal information systems in which data are more readily accessible, more easily combined and more flexibly modified to meet the needs of environmental and natural resource decision making. It is thus reasonable to expect a better informed, more explicitly reasoned, decision making process. But despite the proliferation of GIS software systems and the surge of public interest in the application of the system to resolve the real world problems, the technology is commonly seen as complex, inaccessible, and alienating to the decision makers (Fedra, 1993). The reasons for this estrangement are varied. In part the early development and commercial success of GIS were fuelled more by the need for efficient spatial inventory rather than decision support systems. As a result, few systems yet provide any explicit decision analysis tools. In addition the technology is built upon a very broad base of scientific disciplines, ranging from cartography, to remote sensing, to computer science, to statistics and the like. This implies that to become broadly involved in GIS use, an extensive background in the digital data management, mapping sciences and information technology are required. Further, the technology has strong elements of modernity and scientific rigor that is strongly cultivated by vendors, consultants, and other advocates. As a result, GIS has become a field requiring a host of intermediaries between the end user and the data provider: technicians, system managers, analysts, user interfaces, query languages and so on. Added to this are the institutional and organisational issues of the technology transfer. Information technology may either democratize information by making it more equitably accessible, or it may have the opposite effects of disproportionately empowering a selected sector of society. The lack of analytical tools to efficiently aid decision evaluation and


policy formulation and the continuing mystification of the field have unfortunately often led to the latter in GIS (Fox 1991). As a result, GIS has become a rifting technology, tending to divert the process of decision making away from decision makers and into the hands of GIS analyst and host of other highly trained technological intercessors (Eastman, et al. 1993). To alleviate the above problems GIS should be upgraded by DSS functionality in a user friendly and easy to use environment. However, there is a trade-off between the efficiency and ease of use, and the flexibility of the system. The more options are predetermined and available from the menu of choices, the more defaults are provided, the easier it becomes to use a system for an increasingly small sets of tasks. There is also trade-off between the ease of understanding and the precision of the results. Providing a visual or symbolic presentation changes the quality of the information in the course of transformation from quantitative to qualitative data sets. Finally, the easier the system the harder is to make and maintain. 1.2.8 Spatial Decision Support Systems: The MCE techniques used for evaluating alternatives are many and varied. A number of these methods, especially those taken from regional economic planning fields, exhibit characteristics that are particularly relevant to the solution of complex spatial problems. However as a general rule, most MCE techniques have been developed for evaluating small number of alternatives on the basis of only limited number of criteria, ideally in the order of eight alternatives and eight criteria (Voogd, 1983). Many problem of spatial search will inevitably involve a much larger range of alternatives and criteria, necessitating the modification and automation of MCE. Carver (1991) has developed a procedure to integrate the GIS capabilities with MCE techniques. He concludes that: GIS overlays, while ideal for performing spatial search, on nominally mapped criteria, are of limited use when multiple and conflicting criteria and objectives are concerned. GIS is an ideal means for performing deterministic analyses on all type of geographic data, GIS provides a suitable framework for the application of spatial analysis methods, such as MCE, which do not have their own data management facilities MCE procedures provide the GIS with the means of performing complex trade-offs on multiple and conflicting objectives, GIS and MCE based systems have the potential to provide more rational, objective and non-biased approach to planning and making decisions than what has been used before. To support solving spatial problems, GIS functionality and DSS have been merged to a powerful combination referred as Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS). It includes analytical techniques that are unique to both spatial2 and thematic analysis, and provides

Spatial is defined (Goodchild & Lonley, 1997) as a subset of analytic techniques whose results depend on the frame, or will change if the frame changes, or if the objects are 27

the user with a decision-making environment that enables the analysis of geographical information to be carried out in a flexible manner. According to Densham and Goodchild (1989), SDSS should incorporate knowledge used by expert/analysts to guide the formulation of the problem, the articulation of desired characteristics of solution and the design and execution of the solution process. 1.2.9 Integration of GIS and DSS

It is the integration of GIS and DSS, in combination with simulation or optimization models, related databases, and expert system tools, that ought to make attractive and userfriendly decision support tools for a large spectrum of planning and management problems. The research community especially has sought ways to enhance the analytical capability of GIS, through the integration of spatial data handling, modeling and decision support functionality to support management functions. Various logical ways of coupling GIS and disciplinary models are discussed in literature (Fedra, 1993). Vassilios and Despotakis (1991) argued that the integration might be achieved in one of the following way: 1. Enhance GIS to include DSS functionality 2. Enhance DSS to include GIS functionality. These two possibilities are also referred as tight coupling 3. Combine both GIS and DSS by connecting the two systems externally. This can be achieved by: - Loose coupling, GIS and the model communicate through exchange of files. It is normally time consuming and prone to error - Close coupling, GIS and models are connected through a common user interface which is taking care of the data sharing between the two systems Sprague and Carlson (1982) identified three levels of software technology: specific DSS, DSS generators, and DSS tools. A specific DSS is a tailor-made system to support specific decision-maker dealing with specific set of problems. A DSS generator is a package of hardware and software that provides capabilities to easily and quickly build a specific DSS. A DSS tools are the elements which facilitate the development of specific DSS generator as well as a specific DSS. The relationships between these three levels of technologies are illustrated by Figure 1.2.4. As seen in the figure the specific DSS can be built either directly from DSS tools or from the DSS generator. The difference would be in the flexibility that is provided by the DSS generators.

repositioned within it, with the added objective of solving some scientific or management decision 28

Specific DSS Applications

DSS Generator

DSS Tools

Fig . 1.2.4 -DSS generators; technology levels of DSS (after Sprague , 1980). This architect of DSS is very convenient to be related to GIS. Based on earlier description of GIS, we realize that it can easily be considered as a DSS generator. Such type of architect is designed by Keenan (1995) and presented in Figure 1. 2.5.

GIS Interfac

Externa Componetn

Model Data Access



Fig. 1.2.5 - SDSS-integrating models with GIS(after Keenan , 1995) Goodchild (1993), states that the needs are best handled not by integrating all forms of geographic analysis in one package but by providing appropriate linkages and hooks to allow software components to act in a federation. The advantage of such approach is that different integration of functionality group can take place serving different user needs. Moreover the integration can be guided more by functional than technological


considerations, as it takes place irrespective of hard/software used. To achieve this, greater degree of openness of spatial data formats is required (Open Geo-data Interoperability Specification). In this connection one of the tasks is the identification of the generic GIS functionality/services (Mularz et al. (1995). Such approach becomes closer to the conceptual design of DSS given by Sprague (1980): specific DSS, the DSS generator and DSS tools. Developments in the context of OGIS will complement the DSS toolbox with generic spatial data handling functionality and thus facilitate the development of SDSS. 1.2.10 Issues and Constraints Related to Development and Adoption of IPDSS IPDSS are gaining importance and viewed as a tools to support decision makers in land, infrastructure, resources, environmental management and spatial analysis, and in urban and regional development planning. With the development of geoinformation technology, environmental and natural resource managers increasingly have at their disposal information systems in which data are more readily accessible, more easily combined and systematically processed to meet the needs of environmental and natural resource decision makers. It is thus reasonable to expect a better informed, more explicitly reasoned, decision-making process. But despite the proliferation of geoinformation technology and development of DSS software systems and the surge of public interest in the application of the system to resolve the real world problems, the technology has commonly seen as complex, inaccessible, and alienating to the decision makers. In this section some of the existing constraints and their corresponding reasons related to the development and adoption of DSS are briefly discussed. Evaluation of the Application of Some DSS in resource management: Uran, (2002), selects five SDSS which represents the sate of the arts development in the field of coastal zone and water resource management in Netherlands and study their practical application by their corresponding users (Table 1). The systems were: - Nature Development DSS (NDV), supports design, development and valuation of nature on the Dutch coast (Ruijgrok et al., 1999). - Ecotope Evaluation DSS (ECOPEIL), supports questions concerning the expected ecotopes and the consequences of water level changes on the naturalness and biodiversity in the IJsselmeer area (MinV&W, 2000d). - Shoreline DSS (Shoman), supports the assessment of the suitability of locations for large-scale nature development projects on the Dutch coast (Heuvel et al., 1993). - Wadden Sea DSS (WadBOS 2), supports the analysis of current policy and management issues in the Wadden Sea. It permits the assessment of the effects of policy decisions and the feasibility of management measures (MinV&W, 1998; Uljee et al., 2000). - Eco-morphological DSS (EMM), supports the analysis and evaluation of morphological and ecological effects of different dredging and deposition interventions (Baptist et al., 1998). The study had focused on the functionality of systems and their sufficiency in efficiency and ease of use in practical applications. The results showed that SDSS have not yet reached the stage of being regarded as an indispensable tool in decision making for coastal zone and water management. Although they process large amount of data and provide lots of technical information, their real support to decision-making processes are 30

limited. Strong indications of this are, amongst other things: their complexity; the user ability to understand the principles behind the systems, the fact that users ability to use information does not match the complexity of the generated information; and, decisionproblems that somehow become lost during the development of the systems. One of the main reasons for this is the weak link between developers and users. Another reasons are limited or no support at all for the analyses and evaluation of SDSS-generated information. It is, therefore, recommended that developers see it as their special task to raise awareness of methods that can support analysis and evaluation. Users and system developers should know that: - Models do not tell us what to do. These are political and ethical questions, the answers of which need the recourse of many diverse knowledge and value sources and experiences. Models can help in representing some of the plausible outcomes of given decisions - Complex models can tell us too much- provide us with validated output that we don' t need / is not relevant to the question being asked. It can be the case that all that is needed is the certain direction of change rather than a certain quantified value - Decision Support Systems should be embedded in methodology, which may support the overall objective of their application. The provided output should be incorporated and transformed to management options, which in some cases may lead to policy responses - Analysis and evaluation possibilities or options cannot be regarded as either an unnecessary or a dispensable luxury, when in fact they are essential to the use of the SDSS. Including such options may lead to substantial improvements in the use of SDSS. Since preferences for information are very personal, the use of SDSS may be improved by presenting the same information in several different forms. Even though not all of the SDSS above have been actually taken into real practical use, it does not mean that the development have not contributed to the decision process. By developing an SDSS, a learning effect takes place which otherwise would not have happened. The communication between involved parties can even be improved during the planning of a SDSS. The benefit of SDSS, therefore, does not only depend on the mere use of the systems. 1.2.11 Problems related to Development and Adoption of DSS Although DSS systems seem to have many benefits to decision-makers, they have not widely been taken up by them (Wilde, 1994; Lynch et al., 2000). Cox (1996), Campbell (1999), and Lynch et al. (2000) have examined reasons behind the low adoption of DSS and other intelligent support systems in general and within agriculture in particular. The low adoption rate of DSS in agriculture was discussed by Lynch et al. (2000) using diffusion theory (Rogers, 1995). They suggested that low rate of adoption is predictable and advocate greater user involvement in the development of these systems. They suggest a participatory approach to system development. This type of approach is familiar to many extension specialists and researchers and goes under several names, including participatory learning, action learning, action research, and soft systems methodologies, as mentioned above. In addition to adopting a participatory approach, an important aspect for


improving system success is keeping the scope of the project manageable. Review of early work with DSS suggests that the development approach needs to be small in scope and iterative, so that the systems can evolve and change as the situation changes (Sprague, 1993; Plummer et al., 1999). Some other suggested reasons by Newman et al., (2002) are as follows: Limited computer ownership among users, Lack of field testing, No end user input preceding and during development of the DSS, DSS complexity and possibly considerable data input, No reason seen for changing current management methods, Distrust for the output of a DSS because producers do not understand the underlying theories of the models, Mismatch of the DSS output with the decision-making style of the producer because the producers conceptual models are excluded, and unclear definition of the beneficiaries (e.g., scientists, primary producers, and technology transfer agents). Ease of use features of DSS will affect its adoption (i.e., that DSS are not useful to the user and (or) are not easy to use). Perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness issues have been discussed by Keil et al. (1995) and are best described through Figure 1.2.6. Perceived usefulness is a measure of how well the DSS will enhance a users decisionmaking capability, that is, the amount of time it might take to perform a certain task. Alternatively, perceived ease of use is a measure of the reduction (or increase) in physical or mental effort to use the DSS. It is important to balance emphasis and effort between ease of use and usefulness. However, there is a trade-off between the efficiency and ease of use, and the flexibility of the system. The more options are predetermined and available from the menu of choices, the more defaults are provided, the easier it becomes to use a system for an increasingly small sets of tasks. There is also trade-off between the ease of understanding and the precision of the results. Providing a visual or symbolic presentation changes the quality of the information in the course of transformation from quantitative to qualitative data sets. Finally, the easier the system the harder is to make and maintain. Ease of use Toys Super tools




Power user tools User friendliness High


Figure 1.2.6. Usefulness versus ease of use of DSS


Table 2. General information on the Spatial Decision Support Systems

Decision process phase* Development Selection Identification Development Selection Development Selection Identification Development Selection Development Selection Long/medium or shortterm calculations Long-term (75 years) Long-(maximum 50 years), medium-and short(minimum 1 year) term Not applicable Medium-term (standard 10 years), user decides if less User must define the calculation time but preferably long-term (20 years) Development time 3 years 4 years 1 year 3 years 2 years Type of user Analysts and decision makers Analyst Analyst Analyst and decision makers Analyst Commissioned by** LWI RWS RIZA RWS RIKZ LWI LWI Year of first version 1998 1999 1993 1997 1998 Final version? yes yes yes yes*** no

NDV Module ECOPEIL Shoman WadBOS 2 EMM

* After Mintzberg et al.s 1976 model a of decision process . ** LWI - Land Water Environment and Information Technology programme; RWS - Directorate-General of Public Works and Water Management; RIZA - The National Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment; RIKZ - The National Institute for Coastal and Marine Management. *** If end-users are found amongst stakeholders, a third version will be develope

Keil et al. (1995) suggested that software that rates low in ease-of-use and low in usefulness will be rejected. Software that is high in ease-of use and low in usefulness they term toys. Users may embrace this software initially but there is little chance of lasting acceptance. Software that is low in ease of use but high in usefulness will only be used by what they term power users, very competent computer users. Most users will avoid this type of software because the time and effort required to learn how to use it outweighs the potential benefits. The aim is to develop software that rates high in ease of use and high in usefulness. They also suggest that designing for ease of use must begin with some type of task analysis that goes beyond the typical considerations of ergonomics and user interface. The key issues that DSS must address is the significant problems as identified by its users, therefore DSS must target the primary audience in the short-term and adopt a longer-term strategy toward development of educational software for training in the next generation. Often the beneficiary of the system is unclear at the development stage. This lack of clear definition of end users can result in the development of a system that does not meet the needs of any group. Indeed, many of the problems associated with the development of these systems can be traced to limited end user involvement from the start of the project. The development team must involve users from the conceptual beginnings of the DSS, and continual feedback must be established Ludwig et al., 1993; Stuth et al., 1993). 1.2. 12 Framework for Assessing usefulness and success of DSS As IPDSS seeks to improve the quality of planning and decision-making processes and will have strong impact on the planning and decision-making process and their corresponding outcomes, their development and application should be thoroughly studied. If you change the way you make decisions, you will change the decisions you make (Attributed to Jim McNeil by Slater, 1995). Seeking to change the way that people make decisions about resource use and management is not a consequence-free academic exercise, it is an initiative that bears significant responsibilities (Walker 2000). This means that a bad decision support tool, that produces wrong or misleading information, is worse than no tool at all. A farmer that acts on wrong or misleading information supplied by a decision support aid will at best be reluctant to trust information supplied from such sources in the future, and at worst will diminish the economic and environmental condition of his farm. Therefore, potential capacity of decision support tools should be systematically evaluated. Brooksbank (2000) suggests a framework to systematically analyze existing and potential decision support tools. The framework includes a series of questions to be asked about the decision tool. The response to these questions can be reported in a standardized format. Ranking of the importance of the response to each question will be a subjective process to be done on a case-by-case basis. The questions are related to the:


Context: What is the target audience or user group? Does the tool fill an identified knowledge gap? If not, is the knowledge developed useful? Is there an existing equivalent? Objectives: The intended role of the tool Related involved disciplines Types and level of output How the output should be used in decision making process Principle assumptions: Assumptions related to the decision making process (external, the way that it should be used) Assumption related to the models which are integrated in the tools (internal) Equipping: What is the type and level of input data required? Does the end user have the skills and resources required? What hardware and software are needed to operate the tool? What are the operating requirements (Time etc)? What are the requirements for analyzing or interpreting the outputs? Communicating: Decision support tools are an avenue for communication of information or knowledge and ideas. Can user easily communicate with the system? Is result understandable by the users Performance indicators: How do we know that system is performing, as it should? How do we know that the system is useful to its intended users? What are the performance indicators of the system? Monitoring the performance of the system: Understand where and why and how it works well or the other way round Where are the significant barriers and limitations How it can be improved Measuring DSS Success. The discipline of information systems (IS) includes the study of both the social and technical aspects of the use of information technology for decisionmaking and problem solving (Lyytinen, 1987). Much of IS research has been devoted to the investigation and analysis of IS success: what is it and how do we measure it? DeLone and McLean (1992) believe that the ultimate dependent variable in IS research is success. However, the concept of success itself has not been adequately defined or explained in the literature. Information systems research has focused on various aspects of success, making comparison and accumulation of results difficult. Newman and Plummer (2002) introduce taxonomy of the six major dimensions of system success: system quality, information quality, use, user satisfaction, individual impact, and organizational impact. Their work differs from other IS frameworks in its practicality and


its recognition that the most important outcomes are those seen from the user' s perspective. Therefore, the last two dimensions (individual impact and organizational impact) are identified as the most important areas for future research. A major challenge with DSS adoption and use is determining when a system has been successful. What makes a DSS successful within an agricultural context? Is a DSS successful when it matches the decisions made by experts? Is it successful when it has reached a certain percentage of the targeted market? Is it successful when it can be shown that it has changed farming practices or that through its use it has resulted in improved returns for farmers? Is it successful if it continues to exist and has some use among researchers, extension officers, and farmers? Alternatively, is the DSS successful when it becomes obsolete through use of the decisions it has made? Is it successful if farmers, through some other form, such as fax, newspapers, or other media, use the information generated from the DSS to make tactical or strategic decisions? Some or all of these attributes characterize successful DSS (Lynch et al., 1998). In light of this, the importance of the actual users perspective of success, and the critical aspect of meaningful user participation, it becomes clear that DSS developers need to determine, before proceeding, what constitutes success in their context. In asking this one question, they may have a clearer understanding of whether to proceed with the development of the system or whether there are other ways of providing potential users with the tools required to aid the decision-making process.



Framework For Planning and Decision Making

1.3.1 Introduction Spatial decision-making is based on spatial analysis, which, focuses attention upon locations and distribution of phenomena; interactions of people, goods, and services between places and regions; spatial structure, arrangements, and organizations and spatial processes. The problems related to all these phenomena have a spatial dimension. Cowlard (1998) defines geographical problems, as those issues and questions, which are the result of the interrelationships between people and their environment (earth surface). This can be anywhere within the range of decisions to maintain, improve or restore people-environment relationships. Typical geographical problems may involve ecological issues (relationships between people and physical environments), or locational issues (relationships between people and spatial environments). In the analysis of spatial problems, decision makers need to consider: Complex relationships of issues (conflict between production and employment; conflict between individual and collective interests) Complex relationships of options (intensive versus extensive agriculture) Complex relationships of evidence (impacts of each options) Uncertainty about the future (weather, market, policies..) Wide range of physical and human factors (soil, water, technology, economy, ecology, social..) Different cognitive style and decision aids (receptive versus perceptive individuals concerning information gathering; systematic versus intuitive individuals considering information evaluation) Many different tools and techniques Individual differences in human behaviour (rational versus irrational; optimizing versus sentimental, dogmatism, versus tolerance; risk taking versus risk averting) Rapidly changing situations (change in market, prices, demand, policies..) Imperfect or incomplete evidence (not enough accurate information and knowledge, not perfect models, not a complete data sets, not the right type of images, poor quality, low resolution, bad timing, etc.) Conflicting objectives and views (environmental issues against social and economical issues) Potentially wide impacts of decisions (decision on subsidies may have impacts on land use changes, production, conservation, employment, etc.) More than one decision at the time (decision on behalf of people for goodness of their livelihood; decision on behalf of environment for its sustainability) Varied interests, required value-judgements (establishing preferences between wants of different stake-holders, production versus service sector..)


Both spatial and temporal issues (land use changes in space and time) A range of scale from local to global (local and regional impact of pesticides and herbicides used in agricultural fields) Short and long term views (more production is a good strategy in short term, however, that may not be a good one if one puts it in a long term perspective)

Geographical decision-making therefore is an attempt to solve the complicated problems, which can arise from people-environment relationships. This can be facilitated through a systematic approach that is introduced in the following sections. 1.3.2 Framework for Planning and Decision Making The management science approach adopts the view that mangers can follow a fairly systematic process to solve problems. Therefore it is possible to use scientific approach to managerial decision-making. This approach includes identification of problem or opportunity, gathering important data, building a model, experimenting with the model, analysing results and making a sound decision. On the basis of management science approach, Simons model of decision-making, Cowlard (1998), Steintitz (1993), and Sharifi & Rodriguez (2001) a systematic and logical route for an effective spatial decision-making is set up. This processes, graphically presented in Figure 3.1, is mainly based on answering the following major questions: - What is the problem and what must be achieved? - What is the evidence and what does it show? Is the problem real? - What causes the problem? - What are the alternatives and what are their outcomes? - What decision ought to be taken? As can be seen from Figure 3.1 the three phases do not necessarily follow a linear path from intelligence to design, to choice. At each phase there may be a return to a previous phase. This means that decision-making process may also be a continuous process, going back or forward to another phase. This is certainly the case in many ill-structured problems such as research and development in which normally a prototype product is first designed, developed and improved through iterations. The result of each phase has to be transferred to the DM in a manageable, communicable and quick form to control and verify the process. Therefore, presentation of the result is becoming very important. The spatial presentation is a natural way of approaching any spatial problem. Research on mental imagery indicates that images are used to remember facts about objects and events, (Kosslyn, 1983). It is estimated that 50 percent of the brain' s neurons are associated with vision (McCormic, 1987) and graphic presentation can help communicating large amounts of information quickly. The ability of the brain to comprehend and take in information estimated to be about 2 giga-bits per/second (Mundie, 1989). All of these facts prove that, the visualization of results, which is


provided by remote sensing and GIS technology is one of the most comprehensive forms of presentation and communication of information.
Describe system 1

Understand system behavior

(Process model) Assess current situation 3

Formulate objectives

Planning & Decision-Making Process

Formulate model (Planning model) solutions


Generate alternatives

Assess impacts of alternatives

(Evaluation model)

Evaluate and decide

Explain Visualize & communicate alternatives

Figure 1.3.1. Frame work for planning and decision making process a systematic approach for supporting spatial decision-making Each of the questions stated above is answered through a sequence of actions, identifying a distinct stage in the systematic approach. Below, each activity is briefly described. The role that methods and techniques can play in their accomplishment are described in Section 3.5. Phase 1 Intelligence During this first phase the DM scan the environment to detect and clearly define the problem and its related objectives. This helps to concentrate on the aspects relevant for the problem. This phase concerns finding the problem, understanding its behaviour, and setting up the objectives of actions that is going to resolve the problem. Finding the problem is conceptually defined as finding the difference between some existing situation and some desired state. In another words there is some model of what is desired and this is compared to the reality, differences are identified and evaluated to see whether they constitute a problem. Intelligence is carried out in four stages. First the system has to be



described (stage-1). Second, the system behaviour has to be understood and described (stage-2). Third, the current situation has to be assessed (stage-3) and finally, the objectives of the actions/decision that is going to improve the current situation have to be formulated (stage-4). The result of this phase is defined problem in such a way that the design and choice phases operate on the right problem. Frequently, the process of clearly stating the problem is sufficient. In other cases some reduction of complexity is needed, for example by decomposing a complex problem into manageable sub-problems (MacGirmmon and Tylor, 1976). Problem decomposition tools are intrinsic component of problem solving (Weber, 1986). Another way to define the problem or opportunities is through the analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOAT) to the organization. Stage-1. Describe system: Define and describe the system, which includes perceived problem or opportunities in terms of content, environment, boundaries, space and time description and representation. Here, the problem situation is analysed to understand the general nature of problem, the central issue, its extent, and the environment in which is taking place. Issues and questions that are to be resolved should be understood, clearly defined and described: - What is wrong or in need of an action? - What are the central issues? - What are the main symptoms of the problem? - Can the problem be decomposed and factored into smaller problems? - Where is the problem, and what is the geographical extension? - Who owns the problem? Stage-2. Understand system behaviour: Understand how the system operates. This requires establishing the functional and structural relationships among its elements and the cause-effect relations and trends so-called process or behavioral model. This model explains the cause and effect relationships between interacting components of a complex social, economic and environmental system. A number of analytical frameworks explaining such a casual relationships have been developed e.g., Pressure-State-Response developed by OECD (State of the Environment SOE group), and the Driving ForcePressure-State-Impact-Response framework DPSIR proposed and used by European Environmental agency (EEA, 2000) and EUROSTAT. These frameworks especially DPSIR provide a rational and clear guideline for modeling of pressures derived from human activities on natural environment, and the way that they are changing state of the environment (Figure 1.3.2). The cause effect relationship can be established in a top down fashion, starting from driving force, pressure, state and impacts, or bottom-up which goes the other way round. These models can be used to identify the related problem or opportunities. One of the important tools here is resource analysis, which tries to understand the fundamental characteristics of resources and the processes through which they are


allocated and utilized. The following questions and strategies can help to understand and describe the system and its constituent processes: - What are the relevant and major processes? - What are the existing resources, how are they used and how could they be used? - Examine changes that may have caused the problem; - What are the controllable elements of the problem, the decision variables? - What are the elements of the system environment, which are enforced or given (understanding the constraints and decision variables)?

Figure 1.3.2 . DPSIR concept (after Giupponi, 2002) Stage-3. Assess current situation: assessing the current state of the system, and see if it is acceptable/desirable (is the current system working well?). This requires ability to appraise and judge the current state of the system, which can be achieved through experimentation with the process model. This may be presented by descriptive indicators, presenting the state of the system, or by performance indicators, showing the performance of the system does it matter,; or efficiency indicators showing the overall direction and extent of changes are we doing better. In some cases that may relate to the ideal system with ideal performance and characteristics, which forms the goal or objectives of the system. It may further require development of an evaluation model, which helps assessing the performance and desirability of the current situation, which require comparisons of current state of the system with its desired or ideal state. The following models are suggested to generate expectations against which reality can be measured. - Historical models in which the expectation is based on an extrapolation of past experience; - Planning models in which the plan is the expectation; - Scientific models simulating the desired situations; - Other peoples model in which expectation is based on expert opinions;


Extra-organizational models in which the expectation is derived from competitors and outcome of similar environment;

Stage-4. Formulate objectives: Clarify the goals, and objectives of the decision, and define the answers to the following questions precisely: - What are the objectives; - What must be achieved by them objectives; - What are the major obstacles to achieve the objectives; - What criteria could be used to measure a decision against the objectives? Phase 2 Design solutions 1. A very significant part of decision-making process is the generation of alternatives to be considered in the choice phase. The act of generating alternatives is creative, which can be enhanced by alternative generation procedures and support mechanisms. The design phase involves generating, developing, and analysing possible courses of action. In this process we need to study the ways that the current state of system can be altered so that its performance could be improved, in terms of actions, time and space. One of the useful approaches here is the story-and-simulation SAS approach that combines the qualitative and quantitative information in two main elements: a storyline and a set of model calculations. The storyline conceptualises the course of action and model calculations-estimates complements the storyline by presenting numerical estimates of the related indicators demonstrating the potential effects and impacts of course of actions. This involves development of storyline, which shows what and how changes should be introduced to any or combination of factors as presented in Figre-1.3.2. e.g., driving force, pressure, or improvement of the state of the system. In this phase mostly a model of the problem situation is constructed, tested, verified and validated. Depending on the selected paradigms for decisions making different type of models are applied. Modelling involves the conceptualisation of the problem and its abstraction to a quantitative and/or qualitative form. In the case of mathematical models, the dependent and independent variables are identified and the equations describing their relationships are established. Normally, this phase will result in a model, which simulates the behaviour of the system. Conducting experimentation with such a model helps to understand the behaviour of the system and allows generation of alternative feasible scenarios to address the existing problems. However this may not be always true, because in some cases the alternatives may be generated through other techniques such as Delphi methods, brainstorming, reviewing the literature, or through conducting action research. Stage-5. Formulate planning model: Understanding of the problem, the behavior of the real system and its reaction to the particular decision through experimentation with a model rather than with the real system. This is the basic idea to understand the problem, behavior of the real system, and the way to improve its performances. The inclusion of decision models characterizes the systematic approach of a decision-making process. The modeling activity uses the information obtained in the previous four stages. It will be


clear that the activities in this stage are in continuous interaction with these previous stages. The modeling activity uses the detailed analysis of problem situation to understand the general nature of problem, its extent, establishing the cause and effect relations and trends. One of the important tools here is resource analysis, which tries to understand the fundamental characteristics of resources and the processes through which they are allocated and utilized. In model development, first we try to understand what is relevant and what is not relevant to the problem. This is carried out with some idea in mind, i.e. considering some aspects (those considered important) and ignoring the others. As a result, a conceptual model of the problem as perceived by the DM is build and later on improved to a model which correspond as closely as possible to the problem of the real system (empirical model). After verification and validation procedure followed by the correspondence and consistency checks the model is complete to the extent that DM thinks is relevant (Sol, 1982). Depending on the problem, the selected approach for decision making various types of model such as simulation, optimization and heuristics models can be developed and used. As a result of this stage, the DM has a clear picture of what the evidence tells about the problem and has developed a model, which can be used to generate alternatives and/or to predict the impact of alternatives. Stage-6. Generate alternatives: Develop alternative options, plans or scenarios. Using the planning model of the situation developed in stage-5, the alternative solutions can be simulated and tested for their feasibility. This can be achieved through proper introduction of changes to either or combination of driving forces, pressures and state of environment. This leads to proper identification of indicators (one or combination of Deriving, Pressure or State indicators D-P-S) and the way that they should be changed. Next planning model should be used to simulate/estimate different states of system and assess the impacts of the changes to the relevant chain of indicators D-P-S, in order to find alternative feasible options, plans, or scenarios. In modelling practise the continuation of current situation is considered as the base or current scenario, which explains the business as usual scenario. The base scenario then is used as benchmark for comparisons and assessment of other scenarios (Figure1.3. 2). The number of alternatives to develop depends on the selected type of approach (normative or descriptive), which is used to form a principle of choice. Is the DM is an optimizer, looking for the best solution, or, is he a satisfier, looking for a good enough solution. Phase 3 Decision/Choice This is the most important and final phase of decision-making process, which starts with set of alternative options and ends with a decision. However this may not be a very clear point in time, as many decisions in real life may be taken gradually and over time (incremental decision making). This phase includes the following main stages:


Stage-7. Assess impacts of alternatives: First the criteria for evaluation of the alternatives are determined. These criteria are dependent of the objectives assessed in stage-4. Then impacts of the alternatives on the criteria are individually assessed using the model developed in stage-5. Each solution is examined on its advantages, disadvantages, and its effectiveness and efficiency in meeting the objectives impacts/effect assessment. This can be carried out by expert judgment, conducting research, or application of planning model, which allow estimation of the relevant impacts of various option under different social, environmental and socio-economical setting (scenarios). Stage-8. Evaluate, and decide: Select the most appealing option decision. This requires comparative evaluation of impacts of alternatives options, and decides on the desired new option or maintenance of the current status of system evaluation and decision/choice. Here, the impacts of the alternatives are weighed against the objectives. Based on the results of the evaluation and considering all evidence the best/more acceptable solution is selected. Of course one has to decide what is best; what are the rules and priorities to determine which alternative is the best to solve the problem. Since there may be a number of errors introduced to the process at different stages of the decision-making, a sensitivity analysis is performed to evaluate the stability and robustness of the solution with respect to different assumptions and variables. Stage-9. Explain the choice: Explain the choice and communicate/visualize the results, through appropriate method (visualization). After selection of the best or acceptable solution, it has to be explained and well presented. If the systematic approach has been followed, the result should be in a suitable state to put together and produce a well-argued decision report. Consider presentation and explanation of the decision as one of the most important phases of a decision-making process. In this phase visualization is a key element, as it can communicate large amounts of information effectively and quickly. Visualization of the results is an important tool to increase the acceptability and desirability of the choice. Search for evidence Evidence is defined as the total set of data/information that DM has at his disposal, including the skills, which are necessary to use them. It is therefore the key resource at all stages of decision making. The quality of evidence is a very important aspect. Ideally, a DM hopes to have good quality evidence in abundant supply. Frequently, the evidence will be lacking, and the DM has to enhance its quality before it is used in the analysis. The evidence may be in different forms and format, such as numerical, alphabetical, graphical, map, in sound (spoken form), aerial photographs, satellite images, etc. Decision problems may include evidence that is difficult to measure or predict. Therefore, evidence can occur in several forms: Certain evidence: is when the evidence is the truth. This type of evidence can directly be used in the analysis.


Risk evidence: is when the evidence does not represent the truth but with an estimate of the truth with a known probability. The expected value of these evidences can be used in the analysis procedure. Uncertain evidence: is where the quality of evidence is not known. Normally, before use their risks are estimated and then treated as risk evidence in the analysis procedure. Evidence can also have different types: Facts: are objective evidence specific to the problem. These are measurable, often precise truth or an estimate of truth that rely on no assumptions. They are objective evidences and often used to test feasibility and answer the question, is the decision practical? Values: are subjective evidence specific to the problem. These are opinions, views, attitudes, prejudices, assumptions and interpretations that are difficult to measure but have important influences on the decision-making process. They are often used to test desirability and answer the question is the decision right? Knowledge: represents the DMs familiarity with the problem domain, existing theories, models, relevant concepts, experiences and any information relevant to the problem. Experience: represents the DMs expertise in the decision-making process, including his ability to use the related tools, techniques and experiences in decision-making process. All related available evidences such as facts, values, knowledge or experiences are collected, evaluated for inaccuracies, biases and other characteristics, which must be considered during the analysis. The collected information is organized and translated into more useable forms. This involves, selecting, tabulating, classifying, summarizing, scaling and reducing information into more manageable formats. 1.3.3 Methods and techniques to support spatial decisions There are libraries of tools and techniques, which are developed to support various phases of decision-making processes. There is an exhaustive list of analytical functions, tools and techniques, both for thematic and spatial data analysis, e.g., tabulation, scaling, matrix manipulation, classification, networking, charting, mapping, decision tree, pay-off matrices, environmental impact assessment, cost-benefit analysis, different modelling techniques, and multiple criteria evaluation techniques (Cowlard 1998; Davis and Olson (1995); Olson and Courtney 1993; Janssen 1992; Turban 1995; Voogd 1983; Nijkamp and Voogd 1990; Eastman et al 1993b; Romero and Rehman 1989, Malczewski (1999), van Herwijnen (1999)). The supporting techniques for the intelligence phase are those that help searching the environment for problems and opportunities. This may include a number of disciplinary models, which are used to derive the benchmark for comparisons. The design phase mostly includes disciplinary models tailored to a specific problem, which are used to generate alternative solutions. The disciplinary models, which are problem specific, can not be covered under the general tools and techniques, therefore they are not discussed in


this chapter. The support for the choice phase, however is generic, and may be the same for all problems. Normally, no matter what the spatial problem is (site selection, or land use allocation), the DM need to consider the impacts of choice alternatives along multiple dimensions in order to choose the best alternative. This process which involves policy priorities, trade-offs, and uncertainties is mainly aided by Multiple Criteria DecisionMaking MCDM methods. Therefore, MCDA and spatial MCDA are described more extensive in Chapter 2 and 3. Multicriteria Decision Making MCDM Colson and Bruyn (1989) defines MCDM as a world of concepts, approaches, models and methods to help DMs to describe, evaluate, sort, rank, select or reject objects (candidate, products, projects, options and so on) on the basis of evaluation (expressed by scores, values, preference intensities) according to several criteria. Two main classes of methods are distinguished: The multiobjective decision making methods (MODM), which are sometimes viewed as a natural extension of mathematical programming, where several objective functions are considered simultaneously The multiattribute decision making methods (MADM), where the set of options are finite (moderate/small set) and discrete A common goal to both is an attempt to help the DMs (DM) make good (efficient) decisions that makes them satisfied. In the multiobjective case, the DM is faced with several conflicting objectives and a number of continuous decision variables bounded by mathematical constraints. Here the solution is found in two stages. In the first stage the efficient set is selected from the inefficient one. That is to separate the Pareto-optimal3 feasible solutions from the none Pareto-optimal ones. The second stage consists of searching for an optimum compromise solution acceptable to DM among the efficient solutions. To undertake the second stage it is necessary to incorporate in one way or another the preference of the DM. A number of methods following these principles are developed and presented in literature, e.g., Romero and Rahman(1989), and Cohon (1978), Hazel and Norton (1986).

Pareto-optimal or efficient solutions are feasible solutions such that no other feasible solution can achieve the same or better performance for all criteria under consideration and strictly better for at least one criteria