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From Geographical Information Systems to Spatial Group Decision Support Systems: A Complex Itinerary

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Group extensions to spatial decision support systems (SGDSS as extensions of SDSS) lack an integrated conceptual basis. The article proposes and explores the concept of 'spatial complexity' as the key for providing this basis. Four sources of spatial complexity are distinguished: analytical, dynamic, social and constructive complexity. The current generation of SDSS mainly addresses matters of analytical complexity. SGDSS add some elements belonging to the realm of social complexity. Several specific problems associated with this analytical/social focus in current SGDSS arise: their preoccupation with the choice phase, their focus on consensus building and the piecemeal character of their support facilities. To arrive at a broader, more encompassing vision of the support to be offered by SGDSS, a focus on problem exploration and construction is needed. The article explores at the conceptual level how such a focus may be introduced. It offers a conception of SGDSS that avoids the narrow analytical/social focus prevalent in current SGDSS conceptions and that tackles the problems associated with this narrow focus.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2000


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