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Courses : Syllabi : 589

Geography 589 Spatial (GIS) Decision Support Methods


Dr. Piotr Jankowski

Course Description

This is a course on quantitative techniques that can be applied to support the decision making in broadly understood resource management situations dealing with spatial allocation of both human and natural resources involving geographic data. The course material focuses on multiple criteria evaluation techniques and their integration with Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course also introduces optimization methods useful for spatial decision support including linear programming and multiple objective optimization. Additionally, the course introduces a collaborative approach to decision making.

Students participating in the course are expected to have knowledge of introductory college math, basic GIS, and be comfortable with learning software tools. Rather than presenting purely a “cookbook” or “canned” approach students will be exposed to both theory and math behind the decision support methods prior to using decision support software tools. Take-home problems will be used to ground the lecture material and help students place techniques in a decision problem context. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with multiple criteria decision support techniques, which can be applied to decision-making situations requiring prioritizing and choosing from multiple decision options. This class should prove valuable to individuals interested in geovisual and analytical approaches to decision making in planning and management both in private and public sectors.


Geography 484


Students are expected to actively participate in the course, complete on time the assigned take-home problems, and be ready to present problem solutions in class. There will be 4 take-home exams

The final grade will be based on weekly course participation including the take-home problem solutions (40%), and the take-home exams (60%). Grades will be assigned according to the following percentage intervals:

A: 100%-90%
B: 89.9%-80%
C: 79.9%-70%
D: 69.9%-60%
F: below 60%

Books and Materials

Required: Malczewski, J. 1999. GIS and Multicriteria Decision Analysis. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN: 0-471-32944-4
Reading Packet: Geog596; Spatial Decision Support Methods

Weekly Topics

Week Topic
Week One Introduction to Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM)
Week Two Evaluation Criteria, Constraints, and Decision Alternatives
Week Three Criterion Weighting Techniques
Week Four Decision Rules
Week Five MCDM Technique with Implicit Preferences: Reasonable Goals Method
Week Six Collaborative Spatial Decision Making (CSDM)
Week Seven Group Decision Making Lab: Duwamish Habitat Site Selection
Week Eight Sensitivity Analysis in Spatial Multicriteria Evaluation
Week Nine Introduction to Linear Programming (LP)
Week Ten LP problem formulations
Week Eleven LP solvers: LINDO/LINGO. Interpreting LINDO/LINGO output and sensitivity analysis. Application of LP to air pollution control.
Week Twelve Location/Allocation modeling - an overview
Week Thirteen Formulating and solving a location/allocation problem
Week Fourteen Multiple Objective Land Allocation

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