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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Deriving a Method for Evaluating the Use of Geographic Information in Decision Making (90-3)


The research presented in this dissertation involves establishing the value of geographic information and its analysis in decision making. The discussion is focussed on the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) in a decision-making organization.

A literature search was performed to discover methods used in Economics, Management Science, and Information Science to establish the value of information. It is concluded that prior to establishing value, it is first necessary to improve our understanding of how geographic information is actually used. However, to support empirical observations of use, there is a need for a more structured format than descriptive case studies. A modeling technique, capable of revealing where geographic information is critical in a decision-making process and the costs and benefits associated with that use, is discussed. Specific characteristics of complex decision-making tasks are used as criteria in examining the applicability of various modeling techniques to this research. After a discussion of various techniques, Petri Nets are chosen. The ability of petri nets to represent geographic information use in complex decision-making tasks is shown through a case study in a forestry organization. The use of petri nets to attach and measure costs and benefits along each step of the process is presented at a conceptual level. The specific objective of this research is to demonstrate (through an in-depth case study) that the use of geographic information and its analysis can be modeled in sufficient detail to pen-nit the identification of costs and benefits attached to all or part of the decision-making process.

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