InViTo: An Interactive Visualisation Tool to Support Spatial Decision Processes

InViTo: An Interactive Visualisation Tool to Support Spatial Decision Processes

Stefano Pensa, Elena Masala
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4349-9.ch007
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Since spatial decision processes have to deal with large number of actors, opinions and interests, literature commonly agrees in recognising data sharing and communication as essential in achieving decisional tasks (Van den Brink et al., 2007; MacEachren et al., 2004). The following chapter describes a methodological instrument for managing data, namely the Interactive Visualisation Tool (InViTo). InViTo aims at supporting spatial decision-making processes by proposing a framework for data knowledge. Principally based on Grasshopper, a free plug-in for McNeel's Rhinoceros, InViTo combines GIS data with CAD drawings and raster images for generating interactive spatial visualisations. It is conceived to display in real time the relationships between the territory and planning choices; thus, it is particularly indicated for stimulating discussions and sharing information in collaborative processes. Its high flexibility allows its use in different case studies with a variety of purposes and scales. Innovative elements in approaching spatial decision processes are discussed.
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Within the field of visualisation, there is a specific branch dedicated to spatial data visualisation, known as geovisualisation. It finds its deepest roots in cartography, but has developed together with computer science as a field of research and application since the eighties. In 1995 the International Cartographic Association (ICA) stated a Commission on Visualisation and Virtual Environments, after renamed Commission on Geovisualisation, establishing geovisualisation as a science which studies, by definition, the exploration and analysis of spatial information through interactive visual interfaces (

Geovisualisation, and more generally visualisation, is indeed considered a scientific discipline because it is not just a means of communication, but an instrument to build a path for arriving to knowledge (Van den Brink et al., 2007). Experience demonstrates that visualisation increases the assessment capability and the comprehension of urban dynamics during the decision process (Simao et al., 2009). It can enable forms of intuitive knowledge and can be a fruitful method to engage citizens and decision makers and make them aware of the elements under discussion (Kwartler & Longo, 2008).

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