Posts Tagged ‘Densham’

Is SDSS Geoweb’s ancestor?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

In an article from the 1980’s, P.J. Densham outlines the concept of a Decision Support System (DSS), which aids the user in a decision-making process that includes a number of complex parameters included in a database. He posits that in many cases, a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS), which uses the basic framework of a DSS, but with a spatial component, would be quite helpful. He notes that an ideal SDSS would a) allow for spatial input, b) represent spatial relationships and structures, c) include geographical analysis, and d) provide spatial visualizations. This is different from GIS in that SDSS is dynamic, while GIS is more rigid.

The need for a dynamic geographic decision-making process is clear, and in that, Densham is completely correct. However, the problem with reading this article today is that GIS has transformed, in large part, away from its infant stage and more towards Densham’s SDSS. More specifically, the Geoweb, rather than the more orthodox desktop client, incorporates many of the outlined SDSS properties. User-generated content allows for near-real-time data, and modern technology allows for rapid regeneration of content on a web page. In fact, it is interesting to read this article in conjunction with the Rinner et al. article, written roughly two decades later, about the use of user-generated content to structure a GIS. Another application is Google Map’s traffic feature, showing roads as red (heavy traffic), yellow (moderate traffic), or green (little or no traffic). As users see this data, they decide, for instance, to choose the “greenest” path, but if enough people do so, the green path becomes the red path, and the red path eases. The data is thus dynamic, and the map adjusts accordingly.


Spatial Decision Support Systems

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

P.J. Densham’s discussion and explanation of “Spatial Decision Support Systems” is a good summation of the basics of a “spatial decision support system” (SDSS). Even so, the discussion seems to be a bit out of date in relation to current GIScience and SDSSs, as user interfaces and report generators have been modified and further developed, to resolve the issues and needs Densham proposes. Furthermore, some of the ways SDSSs are now used, such as the integration of dynamic modeling and GIS programs, are not even mention, as technology has advanced since the publication of this discussion and explanation. For example, my current research has an aspect of dynamic modeling that it is represented spatially, and new programs now exist that can graphically represent dynamic models in the context of a spatial area. To clarify, Densham seems to only consider single state representation (or one time frame) in SDSSs not states in dynamic flux which change in relation to changing conditions. Today, with the facts of environmental change and the speed of human development dynamic representation is becoming the norm, especially with predictive capabilities, for managers and specialists looking at spatial variation in this new context of understanding. Although the article is a good representation of the time, a lot has changed. One example of change is that database management now has different classification and retrieval styles for spatial data, such as images and descriptions. With changes in interface and computing power, SDSSs are now integrated between programs and user friendly, becoming part of most types of spatial analysis and decision making today.