Upgrading Geographic Information Systems to Spatio-Temporal Decision Support Systems

Jos M.F. Van Orshoven, Vincent Kint, Anja Wijffels, René Estrella, Gergely Bencsik, Pablo Vanegas, Bart Muys, Dirk Cattrysse, Stefaan Dondeyne


A GIS is capable of identifying a set of land units meeting positional, temporal, topological and multiple on-site attribute criteria. Based on the combination of its generic analytical functionalities, a GIS can also be used to rank the alternative land units and propose the best or worst ones in terms of the non-weighted or weighted criteria. More advanced multi-criteria decision methods are however not easily incorporated in the GIS-framework so that extension with dedicated tools is required to upgrade the GIS to a full blown sDSS. In this paper we illustrate this upgrading of GIS to sDSS and we argue that when also temporal alternatives are dealt with, the DSS can be termed spatio-temporal. Three statements are made: (i) the presented rationale is challenged by phenomena of spatial and spatio-temporal interaction, (ii) important research avenues are present in order to optimize topological and off-site decision attributes in the spatial and spatio-temporal decision problems and (iii) the forestry domain is very suitable for study and application of all the mentioned issues due to the explicit spatial and temporal nature of the management issues which must be addressed. MCFNS 3(1):36-41.


Multi-purpose forestry; Decision support

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