Collaborative Research on Spatial Decision Making Using Geographic Information Technology and Multi-Criteria Decision Models
9411008 JANKOWSKI Locational conflicts arise when different people or groups give different weights to various factors when deciding where to locate facilities or resources. The development of spatial decision-support systems (SDSSs) for use within geographic information systems (GISs) has offered new approaches for solving spatial problems and making locational decisions. Knowledge of the benefits and limitations of such systems is limited by a paucity of conceptual and empirical critiques of their use, however. This collaborative research project will provide insights into the use of a SDSS for groups in order to understand how and why such a group system affects decision-making processes and outcomes. Special attention will be given to analysis of that ways that several thematic map types and multi-criteria decision models influence the dynamics of, and are influenced by, small-group interactions for site-location decisions. In laboratory experiments of small groups with five participants within each group, graduate students from environmentally related programs will select sites for habitat restoration and development in the wake of toxic-waste cleanup projects. Participants will function in a group-based software environment created from a combination of commercial and public-domain software. Interaction-coding techniques will be used to compile data from transcripts of the interaction process in order to ascertain how SDSS approaches affect group decision making. This project will contribute valuable new insights into the dynamics of collaborative decision making and the use of information technology by adding substantive knowledge about multi-phase group decision-making processes. It will apply and refine an interaction-coding scheme to develop a knowledge base that other technology-based studies of collaborative spatial decision making can use, and it will develop a more complete understanding of the integration needs for information tech nology that involves GISs, multi-criteria decision models, and SDSSs for groups. Because of the pervasive character of locational issues requiring collective decision making, the potential applications for advances along these lines is enormous.