Multicriteria Spatial Decision Support Systems: Overview, Applications, and Future Research Directions

Abstract

Decision makers historically have indicated that inaccessibility of required geographic data and difficulties in synthesizing various recommendations are primary obstacles to spatial problem solving. Studies have shown that the quality of decisions (i.e., the ability to produce meaningful solutions) can be improved if these obstacles are lessened or removed through an integrated systems approach, such as a spatial decision support system (SDSS). In addition, multicriteria decision making (MCDM) and a wide range of related methodologies offer a variety of techniques and practices to uncover and integrate decision makers’ preferences in order to solve “real-world” GIS-based planning and management problems. However, because of conceptual difficulties (i.e., dynamic preference structures and large decision alternative and evaluation criteria sets) involved in formulating and solving spatial decision problems, researchers have developed multicriteria-spatial decision support systems (MC-SDSS). In this paper, we present a general overview of MC-SDSS, briefly review applications of MC-SDSS to a broad range of decision problems, and provide direction for future trends and research in this area.

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