An Index of Regional Sustainability: a GIS-based multiple criteria analysis decision support system for progressing sustainability. Ecol Complex
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Deakin University, AustraliaEcological Complexity (Impact Factor: 1.93). 12/2009; 6(4):453-462. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.08.006
GIS (Geographical Information Systems) based decision support tools will be useful in helping guide regions to sustainability. These tools need to be simple but effective at identifying, for regional managers, areas most in need of initiatives to progress sustainability. Multiple criteria analysis (MCA) has been used as a decision support tool for a wide number of applications, as it provides a systematic framework for evaluating various options. It has the potential to be used as a tool for sustainability assessment, because it can bring together the sustainability criteria from all pillars, social, economic and environmental, to give an integrated assessment of sustainability. Furthermore, the use of GIS and MCA together is an emerging addition to conducting sustainability assessments.This paper further develops a sustainability assessment framework developed for the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority region of Victoria, Australia by providing a GIS-based decision support system for regional agencies. This tool uses multiple criteria analysis in a GIS framework to assess the sustainability of sub-catchments in the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment. The multiple criteria analysis based on economic, social and environmental indicators developed in previous stages of this project was used as the basis to build a model in ArcGIS®. The GIS-based multiple criteria analysis, called An Index of Regional Sustainability Spatial Decision Support System (AIRS SDSS), produced maps showing sub-catchment sustainability, and environmental, social and economic condition. As a result, this tool is able to highlight those sub-catchments most in need of assistance with achieving sustainability. It will also be a valuable tool for evaluation and monitoring of strategies for sustainability. This paper shows the usefulness of GIS-based multiple criteria analysis to enhance the monitoring and evaluation of sustainability at the regional to sub-catchment scale.
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[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper, an interactive decision support system is proposed to assist experts who prepare water resource management plans for decision makers and stakeholders. Several visualization techniques such as circle views, grid layout, small multiple maps, and simplification of nodes are combined to improve the data readability of water distribution systems. Views showing the original data and insets for dual network scenarios for further water demand scenarios complement the proposed visualization technique. Further, textual descriptions of the sustainability indices and water usage provide more detailed information. This is complemented by interaction techniques that ease the comparison of different water demand scenarios. Selecting circle views, zooming into an area of interest in the original data view in combination with linked views and a graph for the measured hydraulic simulation values enable users to analyze the scenarios and to understand the causes of individual problems. A case study with three urban water management and sanitary engineering experts was performed to assess this approach. Overall, the results show that the proposed decision support system is satisfactory, efficient, and effective.
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