Decision support systems (DSS) have evolved rapidly during the last decade from stand alone or limited networked solutions to online participatory solutions. One of the major enablers of this change is the fastest growing areas of geographical information system (GIS) technology development that relates to the use of the Internet as a means to access, display, and analyze geospatial data remotely. World-wide many federal, state, and particularly local governments are designing to facilitate data sharing using interactive Internet map servers. This new generation DSS or planning support systems (PSS), interactive Internet map server, is the solution for delivering dynamic maps and GIS data and services via the world-wide Web, and providing public participatory GIS (PPGIS) opportunities to a wider community (Carver, 2001; Jankowski & Nyerges, 2001). It provides a highly scalable framework for GIS Web publishing, Web-based public participatory GIS (WPPGIS), which meets the needs of corporate intranets and demands of worldwide Internet access (Craig, 2002). The establishment of WPPGIS provides spatial data access through a support centre or a GIS portal to facilitate efficient access to and sharing of related geospatial data (Yigitcanlar, Baum, & Stimson, 2003). As more and more public and private entities adopt WPPGIS technology, the importance and complexity of facilitating geospatial data sharing is growing rapidly (Carver, 2003). Therefore, this article focuses on the online public participation dimension of the GIS technology. The article provides an overview of recent literature on GIS and WPPGIS, and includes a discussion on the potential use of these technologies in providing a democratic platform for the public in decision-making.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Location-Based Service: A service provided to the subscriber based on their current geographic location. This position can be known by the user as an entry or a global positioning system receiver. Most often the term implies the use of a radiolocation function built into the cell network or handset that uses triangulation between the known geographic coordinates of the base stations through which the communication takes place.
Enterprise Resource Planning Systems: Accounting- oriented information systems for identifying and planning the enterprise-wide resources needed to take, make, distribute, and account for customer orders. The basic premise of these systems is to implement a single information warehouse that will service all of the functional areas of a business.
Planning Support Systems: Interactive computerbased systems designed to help decision-makers process data and models to identify and solve complex problems in large scale urban environment and make decisions.
Local E-Government: Information, services, or transactions that local governments provide online to citizens using the Internet and Web sites.
Web-Based Public Participatory GIS: 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.
Interactive Internet Map Server: An online mapping utility which enables users who may not be familiar with GIS to view and interact with online GIS.
Geographical Information System (GIS): 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.
E-Government: Relations of top/down power— governing populations through use of online information and services.
Public Participatory GIS: A GIS technology that is used by members of the public, both as individuals and grass-root groups for participation in the public processes (i.e., data collection, mapping, analysis, and decision-making) affecting their lives.
Decision Support Systems: A class of computerized information systems that support decision making activities.
Web-Based GIS also known as ‘Internet GIS’: A new technology that is used to display and analyze spatial data on the Internet. It combines the advantages of both Internet and GIS. It offers the public a new means to access spatial information without owning expensive GIS software.