Multicriteria analysis is a set of mathematical tools and methods allowing the comparison of different alternatives according to many criteria, often conflicting, to guide the decision maker towards a judicious choice. Multicriteria methods are used in spatial context to evaluate and compare spatial decision alternatives, often modeled through constraint-based suitability analysis and represented by point, line, and polygon features or their combination, and evaluated on several space-related criteria, to select a restricted subset for implementation. Outranking methods, a family of multicriteria methods, may be useful in spatial decision problems, especially when ordinal evaluation criteria are implied. However, it is recognized that these methods, except those devoted to multicriteria classification problems, are subject to computational limitations with respect to the number of alternatives. This paper proposes a framework to facilitate the incorporation and use of outranking methods in geographical information systems (GIS). The framework is composed of two phases. The first phase allows producing a planar subdivision of the study area obtained by combining a set of criteria maps; each represents a particular vision of the decision problem. The result is a set of non-overlapping spatial units. The second phase allows constructing decision alternatives by combining the spatial units. Point, line and polygon feature-based decision alternatives are then constructed as an individual, a grouping of linearly adjacent or a grouping of contiguous spatial units. This permits us to reduce considerably the number of alternatives, enabling the use of outranking methods. The framework is illustrated through the development of a prototype and through a step-by-step application to a corridor identification problem. This paper includes also a discussion of some conceptual and technical issues related to the framework.
|Number of pages
|International Journal of Geographical Information Science
|Published - 2008