General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Introduction To Spatial Decision Support Systems
Language English
Module lecturer Prof. Dr Piotr Jankowski
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Prof. Dr
Faculty Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences
Semester 2023/2024 (summer)
Duration 20


This is an online course.

The course will start on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 and end on Thursday, May 23, 2023. There will be weekly meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 150 minutes each from 16:30 until 19:00. The meeting dates will be on: 23/4, 25/4, 30/4, 14/5, 16/5, 21/5, and 23/5.

Module aim (aims)

The course introduces students to the concept of Spatial Decision Support (SDS) and the methods of Multi-Criteria Analysis useful for solving site selection and resource allocation decision problems. Students will become familiar with concepts and methods through lectures and application examples.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Students taking the course should be comfortable with basics of data analysis. Familiarity with Geographic Information Systems at an introductory level is a plus but it is not required to take advantage of this course.


Course Content


This is a course in analytical methods useful in a variety of decision-making situations, in which location is a part of problem representation and solution. Examples of such situations include business or service site selection, route corridor selection, land use allocation, or prioritization of candidate sites for a specific use such as park, school, health clinic and others. Methods presented in the course belong to the field of Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). They extend common workflows and data analysis procedures used for solving site suitability and resource allocation problems. The course material covers the class of MCDA methods called multiple criteria evaluation. These methods are used by analysts and practitioners in problems requiring the prioritizing of already identified decision alternatives from best to worst. Rather than presenting purely a "cookbook" approach, students will be exposed to both theory and techniques behind the decision support methods prior to using software tools. Take-home problems will be used to ground the lecture material and help students place techniques in a decision problem context. This class should prove valuable to students interested in gaining practical skills useful for solving location selection/resources allocation problems applicable to private and public sectors. All reading materials for the course will be provided in the pdf format by the course instructor.

Student Learning Outcomes


Students in the course will:
1. Become familiar with models and methods of SDSS and spatial multi-criteria analysis.
2. Learn how to formulate and solve site selection problems.
3. Analyze and present the results of spatial multi-criteria evaluation.

Grading Standards
The final grade will be comprised of the following weighting factors:
Two take-home assignments: 50%
Course attendance and participation: 50%

List of Course Topics
1. Introduction to Spatial Decision Making Methods
2. Introduction to Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis
3. Evaluation Criteria
4. Decision Alternatives and Constraints
5. Criterion Weighting Technique
6. Decision Rules/Aggregation Function
7. Lab #1: Landfill Site Selection
8. Site selection with multiple criteria and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
9. MCDM Technique with Implicit Preferences
10. Lab #2: Real Estate Evaluation

Reading list

Greene, R., Deviller, R., Luther, J., Eddy, B. 2011. GIS-based Multicriteria Decision Analysis. Geography Compass 5/6 (2011): 412–432, 10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00431.x

Malczewski, J., Rinner, C. 2015. Multicriteria Decision Analysis in Geographic Information Science. Chapters 2 and 4, Springer Verlag (pdf copies provided by the instructor).

Malczewski, J. (2000). On the use of weighted liner combination method in GIS: Common andbest practice approaches. Transactions in GIS, 4(1), 5–22, (pdf provided by the instructor).

Jankowski, P. 2017. Multicriteria decision-making. The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. John Wiley & Sons. (pdf provided by the instructor)

Lieske, S., Hamerlinck, G.. 2015. Integrating Planning Support Systems and Multicriteria Evaluation for Energy Facility Site Suitability Evaluation. URISA Journal 26(1):13-26 (pdf provided by the instructor).

Victor Fernandez Nascimento, Nazli Yesiller, Keith C Clarke, Jean Pierre
Henry Balbaud Ometto, Pedro R. Andrade & Anahi Chimini Sobral. 2017. Modeling the
environmental susceptibility of landfill sites in California, GIScience & Remote Sensing, 54:5,
657-677, DOI: 10.1080/15481603.2017.1309126