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Geospatial Human‐environment Simulation through Integration of Massive Multiplayer Online Games and Geographic Information Systems

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This article reports on the initial development of a generic framework for integrating Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with Massive Multi‐player Online Gaming (MMOG) technology to support the integrated modeling of human‐environment resource management and decision‐making. We review Web 2.0 concepts, online maps, and games as key technologies to realize a participatory construction of spatial simulation and decision making practices. Through a design‐based research approach we develop a prototype framework, “GeoGame”, that allows users to play board‐game‐style simulations on top of an online map. Through several iterations we demonstrate the implementation of a range of design artifacts including: real‐time, multi‐user editing of online maps, web services, game lobby, user‐modifiable rules and scenarios building, chat, discussion, and market transactions. Based on observational, analytical, experimental and functional evaluations of design artifacts as well as a literature review, we argue that a MMO GeoGame‐framework offers a viable approach to address the complex dynamics of human‐environmental systems that require a simultaneous reconciliation of both top‐down and bottom‐up decision making where stakeholders are an integral part of a modeling environment. Further research will offer additional insight into the development of social‐environmental models using stakeholder input and the use of such models to explore properties of complex dynamic systems.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Ohio State University 2: CETI, Department of Computer Science, Ohio State University

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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