Project Phases
Cooperation Partners
Participating Institutes
Capacity Building
Geonetwork / Data


Aim and Configuration of Spatial Decision Support Systems

Modern Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSSs) combine tools and analysis functionalities of DSS, GIS, remote sensing (RS), and numerical models based on expert knowledge. Within IMPETUS a platform independent SDSS-design and -development approach is established by using Geotools (OpenGIS), ArcGIS Engine (ESRI®) and Java. With the computer-based SDSSs, the user is able to visualize and analyze (geo-)data and models based on a question-specific decision tree.

Before focusing on SDSS it is necessary to point out the term Decision Support System (DSS). The relevant scientific literature does not show a consistent definition of a DSS. However, a DSS can be considered as a computer based system which allows the user to solve semi-structural processes by using comprehensive datasets and analytical models. This definition points out that the applied resolution methods of a DSS are not trivial at all. In general, a complex DSS is an interdisciplinary solution. Hence, the overall approach of such a system consists in making numerous different methods and analysis available. Therefore the need of a similar consideration of data visualization, interpretation and evaluation is essential.

Fig. 1: Configuration of a modern Spatial Decision Support System

As soon as spatial data is implemented in a DSS, GIS functionalities get an important role. These functions enable the user to generate spatially diverse decisions. In this context the term Spatial DSS (SDSS) is established in the 1990s . Such SDSSs provide the opportunity to integrate various analytical models, visualize and evaluate the used models and develop management strategies.

Modern SDSSs combine functionalities and modules of GIS, DSS, RS, models and expert knowledge. Furthermore, these systems allow the loose coupling of numerical, statistical or knowledge based expert-models, to meet the requirements of being all-inclusive decision support tools.

Fig. 1 shows the configuration of a modern SDSS. Consequently, such a system contains data and analysis functions of GIS, RS, DSS, and models and depends on given expert knowledge. To generate a SDSS with these topics, it is essential to implement a Modelbase Management System (MBMS) as well as a Database Management System (DBMS).