What is a Spatial Decision Support System?

Land use is a vital component of the agricultural business.

A spatial decision support system is a specific type of software tool that helps human users understand the best ways to implement spatial solutions. In general, decision support software helps humans make decisions about resource management. For spatial decision support systems, these decisions usually pertain to land or space use.

Experts describe spatial decision support systems (SDSS) as interactive systems that provide guidance by providing values ​​for specific elements of a spatial environment. Those who use and observe these types of systems identify the components of spatial decision support, such as intelligence, where systems get critical data applied to a spatial model. Practitioners may also refer to the concept of choice, where various available solutions are compared and contrasted in a spatial decision support system. High-level multi-criteria spatial decision support involves evaluating more than one variable applied to a map of a space, in order to choose the best solution among the various available options.

In many cases, spatial decision support systems help human managers with land use issues. One of the most popular and effective uses of spatial decision support is in agriculture. Agriculture is specifically concerned with the specific uses of land, whether for growing vegetables, grazing livestock or other agricultural uses. By taking data and modeling it into useful visuals, spatial decision support software can make a variety of choices much clearer to a human user.

To provide this kind of decision-making assistance, software often uses specific technologies. One of them is Geographic Information Systems or GIS. GIS capabilities allow programmers to enter a wide range of properties or data elements for a variety of geographic locations. They can be spread across the globe or limited to a very specific latitude and longitude. Using GIS creates robust and effective spatial decision support tools.

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Part of the essential task of building a spatial decision support system is to provide a clear and easy-to-use interface. The data behind the spatial decision support system must be solid, but without an easy-to-understand set of tools, the program may not be very useful. The best models of spatial decision support systems have simple tools for querying or marking, as well as color-coded results in a simple, easy-to-read map. Some inferior systems may have hidden or overly complex controls, a poorly defined map without good guidance information, or poor visual results to observe the results.

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