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5.0 out of 5 stars A framework for spatial multicriteria decision support, 26 Jan 2003
This review is from: Geographic Information Systems and Multicriteria Decision Analysis (Geography) (Hardcover)
The book begins with the definition of decision making, seen from two viewpoints: the systematic procedure and the choice problem. It is the choice problem which gives the multicriteria character of decision problem, as in taking a decision several interest groups are involved.
Of basic relavance for the book is the fact that many spatial decision problems can be better solved in the interaction of GIS (which has been thought for spatial analysis) and multicriteria decision techniques. The book presents the framework for spatial multicriteria analysis.
In the first chapter basic concepts like spatial data, information and decision making are presented, as well as basic ways of organising these. Of particular relevance is the way how scales are set, but also the way GIS works, i.e. the capabilities of GIS systems for data inout, output, storage, management, analysis and many other functions, which are decribed in some detail.
In the next chapters the three phases for decision making, defined by the author, are looked at more detailed. These include the problem definition, setting the evaluation criteria, criterion weights, decision rules, sensitivity analysis (which means the effect which would be achieved after one particular decision), recommendation. Several techniques to assess criterion weights are presented, highlighting the advantages, disadvantages and fields of application for each.
A special attention has been paid to appropriate problem approaching by multiple decision makers. Also, later in the book, comparison and references to described techniques is made. A good example for it is the pairwise comparison method.
A distinction concerning evaluation criteria is made between two basic approaches: multiattribute and multicriteria decision making. There are several techniques describing the decision rules for each one. Here the author has followed an unified way of presentation. The steps for making a decision are enumerated in a successive numbered list, then the method itself concerning again at least some of the aspects advantages, disadvantages, fields of application, additional conditions, mathematics background, different available computer support for the method is presented. The methods have different amount of automatic evaluation and interaction with the user, which is highlighted too. A final note states that in one single decision problem they can be used in a combined way.
Attention is paid also to dealing with uncertainties, ie the fuzzyness of data, in a special chapter.
At the end of the book a remarcably interesting chapter is devoted to spatial decision support systems. These are a further development of inteactive programming methods, which has become in the last decade an selfstanding field of research. The best known spatial decision support systems are expert systems, but Malczewski presents four different such systems, in a very worth reading part of his book. Central to each description is the presentation of a framework for the systems way of functioning. Besides describing the systems from multiple points of view possibilities of integrating complementary ones, taking advantage of different features of them, are extensively analysed. Then, single components, common to all these systems are analysed.These include data management and analysis, but also user interface, with emphasis on advantages for the system designer and the user, comparatevely. Again, the possibilities for collaborative decision making are researched, which is one of the worthiest aspects of the book. Finally, the possibilities of coupling the mathematical multicriteria decision support system with GIS, to different amounts, is presented.
The last chapter presents case studies of applications of systems similar to the ones described. It is important to note that the work this far has been theoretically developped analysing all possible cases of spatial multicriteria decision making.The cases in prectice were developped independently but are very useful to exemplify the application possibilities of the theory so far. Two examples of collaborative decision making are also included. Another interesting case is an application using the Internet.
This book is thought of as a manual, including a set of questions after each chapter.
It is a modern book, internet references for several of the software applications described are included.
One strong point is also the comparison of alternative practical support systems of the theoretical approaches described.
I consider the book is useful for designers of multicriteria spatial decision systems as it provides a framework in which elements fitting to the particular decision problem can be easily found. Also, fields of possible development of spatial multicriteria decision analysis are mentioned, like object oriented approaches.
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