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Environments 2017, 4(4), 88; doi:10.3390/environments4040088

What Do Users Really Need? Participatory Development of Decision Support Tools for Environmental Management Based on Outcomes

1
Information and Computational Sciences Group, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
2
Observatorio para una Cultura del Territorio, 28012 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 23 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 6 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Territorial Management)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1613 KB, uploaded 8 December 2017]   |  

Abstract

There is increasing demand from stakeholders for tools to support outcomes-based approaches in environmental management. For such tools to be useful, understanding user requirements is key. In Scotland, UK, stakeholders were engaged in the development of an Environmental Decision Support System (EDSS) to support the management of land and freshwater resources for multiple policy outcomes. A structured participatory engagement process was employed to determine stakeholder requirements, establish development principles to fulfil these requirements and road-test prototypes. The specification that emerged from this bottom-up process was for an EDSS to be spatially-explicit, free at the point of use, and mobile device compatible. This application, which is under development, does not closely resemble most existing published EDSS. We suggest that there is a mismatch between the way scientists typically conceptualise EDSS and the kinds of applications that are likely to be useful to decision-makers on the ground. Interactive mobile and web-based geospatial information services have become ubiquitous in our daily lives, but their importance is not reflected in the literature on EDSS. The current focus in environmental management on adaptive, stakeholder-centred strategies based on outcomes offers an opportunity to make better use of these new technologies to aid decision-making processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Environmental Decision Support Systems; applications; outcomes-based approach; adaptive management; user requirements; environmental management; participatory land planning Environmental Decision Support Systems; applications; outcomes-based approach; adaptive management; user requirements; environmental management; participatory land planning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Hewitt, R.J.; Macleod, C.J.A. What Do Users Really Need? Participatory Development of Decision Support Tools for Environmental Management Based on Outcomes. Environments 2017, 4, 88.

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