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Investigating the system dynamics technique for the modeling and simulation of the development of spatial data infrastructures

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Spatial data infrastructure (SDI) is a complex system for which huge investments are being made worldwide. These large-scale investments in the development of SDIs incontrovertibly require reliable design and planning that guarantee a successful outcome. One approach to deal with such an expectation is to model the development process of the SDI system over time. If the model can be translated into the computer-based environment to be used as a virtual world, then the real situation can also be simulated. Such a simulation will enable the SDI coordinators/managers to gain knowledge about the behavior of the system under different decisions and situations and eventually help them to better develop the SDI through the informed decision making. However, a limited number of tools and techniques are currently available in the SDI modeling history in terms of the modeling and simulation of such a complex system. The system dynamics technique based on systems theory is a method for modeling and managing the feedback systems that are complex, dynamic and nonlinear over time. This article addresses the applicability of the system dynamics technique for modeling and simulating the development process of SDIs. It is argued that the system dynamics technique is capable of modeling the interactions among the factors affecting the SDI, the feedback loops and the delays. It is also highlighted that an SDI model based on the system dynamics technique enables the SDI coordinators/managers to simulate the effect of different factors or decisions on various aspects of SDI and evaluate alternative decisions and/or policies prior to making any commitment.

Keywords: modeling; simulation; spatial data infrastructure; system dynamics technique

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of GIS, Faculty of Geodeys and Geomatics Engineering,Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

Publication date: 2011-12-01

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