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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Decision support systems for land evaluation : theoretical and practical development Miller, David B.


The challenge of resolving land use allocation and policy questions depends to a large degree on the conversion of data into information, and the effective integration of information into the decision process. Land evaluation is one of the fundamental means of generating information for land planning. Information products have however, been inconsistently and ineffectively used in the decision process. This thesis develops a decision centered approach to land evaluation as a response to this concern. Included in this development is a description of important theoretical concepts, as well as a practical demonstration of the use of decision support systems as a design approach. Initially, a conceptual model is introduced illustrating the technical and use components of information generation, as well as the adaptive design cycle. Various terms and techniques involved in the technical aspects of land evaluation are reviewed. Decision making concepts including decision structure, environment, analysis, and criteria are outlined. Three existing methods of land evaluation are then compared from a use or decision making perspective. Having completed a review of current approaches, Decision Support Systems are introduced as a logical progression towards a decision centered approach. Decision Support System design is demonstrated using a portion of the Central Fraser Valley Regional District as a case study area combined with an interactive microcomputer land planning tool (LANDPLAN). The demonstration emphasizes the advantages of the flexible, interactive capabilities of Decision Support Systems in aiding the decision process. Iterative design is also promoted with several needs identified if a more complete system is to be developed. In particular, data on strategic long term supply and demand factors is required, as well as continuous rating functions for assessing land performance.

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