Reports and Papers

Fedra, K. (1995)
Decision support for natural resources management:
Models, GIS and expert systems.
AI Applications, 9/3 (1995) pp 3-19.

Integrated Decision Support Systems

The key to useful computer based decision support is integration. As a basic concept integration recognizes that in any given software system for real-world applications, several sources of information or data bases, more than one problem representation or model, and finally a multi-faceted and problem-oriented user interface ought to be combined in a common framework to provide a realistic and useful information base.

At the level of data and background information, numerous and often incompatible, noncommensurate information from disparate sources have to be brought together. Institutional, conceptual, and seemingly simple technical problems such as different units of measurement, different map projections, hard to trace paper files and missing documentation are some of the obstacles frequently encountered.

At the level of tools, there are several levels of integration, ranging from simple file transfer between different methods and programs to fully integrated systems. Typical examples of different methods that lend themselves to integration include geographical information systems and models as well as expert systems; models and data bases; algorithmic models and expert systems; or simulation and optimization models (Figure 1).

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