Countless factors affect the inner workings of a city, so in an attempt to gain an understanding of place and making sound decisions, planners need to utilize decision support systems (DSS) or planning support systems (PSS). PSS were originally developed as DSS in academia for experimental purposes, but like many other technologies, they became one of the most innovative technologies in parallel to rapid developments in software engineering as well as developments and advances in networks and hardware. Particularly, in the last decade, the awareness of PSS have been dramatically heightened with the increasing demand for a better, more reliable and furthermore a transparent decision-making process (Klosterman, Siebert, Hoque, Kim, & Parveen, 2003). Urban planning as an act has quite different perspective from the PSS point of view. The unique nature of planning requires that spatial dimension must be considered within the context of PSS. Additionally, the rapid changes in socio-economic structure cannot be easily monitored or controlled without an effective PSS.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interactive Internet Map Server: Refers to an online mapping utility which enables users who may not be familiar with GIS to view and interact with WebGIS.
Decision Support Systems: Refer to a class of computerized information systems that support decision making activities.
ArcXML: Short for ESRI’s Arc extensible markup language, is a language used for sending requests and receiving responses through internet map server’s spatial server.
Web-Based Public Participatory GIS: Is an online application of GIS that is used for increasing public access to information and active participation in the decision-making process and is an important improvement over existing public and decision-maker power relationships.
HTML: Short for hypertext markup language, is the basic language used to write Web pages. HTML is a mark-up language and not a full-blown programming language so is therefore essentially static in nature.
WebGIS: Is a technology that is used to display and analyze spatial data on the Internet. It combines the advantages of both the Internet and GIS. It offers public a new means to access spatial information without owning expensive GIS software.
Planning Support Systems: Are interactive computer-based systems designed to help decision-makers process data and models to identify and solve complex problems in large scale urban environment and make decisions.
Geographical Information System: Refers to a system for managing spatial data and associated attributes. In the strictest sense, it is a computer system capable of integrating, storing, editing, analyzing, and displaying geographically-referenced information. In a more generic sense, GIS is a smart map tool that allows users to create interactive queries, analyze the spatial information, and edit data.
Strategic Choice Approach: is a tool for helping people who are involved in processes of developmental decision-making—processes in which every decision taken can be expected to influence the shape of the future choices to be made.
Urban Information Systems: Are the combination of GIS team, spatial and descriptive data, analytic methods, and computer software and hardware that all organized to automate, manage, and deliver urban information through geographic presentation.