A knowledge-based systems approach to design of spatial decision support systems for environmental management

Xuan Zhu, Richard G. Healey, Richard J. Aspinall

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a framework for designing spatial decision support systems for environmental management using a knowledge-based systems approach. An architecture for knowledge-based spatial decision support systems (KBSDSS) is presented that integrates knowledge-based systems with geographical information systems (GIS) and other problem-solving techniques. A method based on spatial influence diagrams is developed for representation of environmental problems. The spatial influence diagram provides an interface through which knowledge-based systems techniques can be applied to build capabilities for problem formulation, automated design, and execution of a solution process. In addition to the flexibility and developmental advantages of knowledge-based systems, the KBSDSS incorporates expert knowledge to provide assistance for structuring spatial influence diagrams and executing a solution process that automatically integrates the GIS, data base, knowledge base, and different types of models. The framework is illustrated with a system, known as the Islay Land Use Decision Support System (ILUDSS), designed to assist planners in strategic planning of land use for the development of the island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental management
  • Geographical information systems
  • Knowledge-based systems
  • Spatial decision support systems
  • Spatial influence diagrams

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