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GeoDesign Summit: Abstracts for Day 1 Lightning Talks

December 29, 2009

Partial list, subject to change…

Geodesign: Fundamental Principals and Routes Forward
Flaxman, Michael

The term geodesign, not more than 5 years old, has already come to have different meanings to various audiences.  Having been present at the birth of this toddler, and having been part of ESRI’s GeoDesign group in early implementations, I would like to offer my vision for geodesign.  My purpose is not to search for definitional purity, but rather to distinguish geodesign from a variety of similar ideas, and to propose several parallel routes forward.

What is GeoDesign?  To me, geodesign is a design and planning method which tightly couples the creation of a design proposal with impact simulations informed by geographic context.  In an ideal case, a planner or designer receives real-time guidance on performance at every phase of design from early site visit or conceptual sketch to final detail.   The use of contextual geographic information means that design performance can be evaluated relative to local conditions, and that evaluation can consider off-site impacts.  The focus is on supporting “human in the loop” design, providing continuous feedback on multiple aspects of performance and improving designs-in-progress rather than on post-hoc evaluation.

This concept is fundamentally dependent on software, but is broader than a particular implementation.  If fact, I would argue that desktop GIS extensions such as Placeway’s CommunityViz and Criterion Planner’s INDEX have been supporting aspects of geodesign for several years.  One current front of activity in this area is to integrate geodesign concepts into standard GIS tools.  A second front includes the need to support web-based tools, particularly web-based evaluation modeling, in ways which allow widespread model sharing.  A third route forward is the development of digital sketch planning tools which leverage GIS data models.  Last but not least, geodesign concepts need to be applied to 3D design and geovisualization.

Participatory GeoDesign
Klosterman, Richard

GeoDesign can—and should—do more than facilitate the design work of landscape architects, planners and other professionals.  It also has the potential to provide private citizens with the information and tools they can use to help design the communities in which they live.  However, this will require the development of new tools and modes of professional practice that support processes of public deliberation and collective decision making.  This presentation will describe the concepts that underlie ideal of participatory geodesign and suggest four principles for developing tools and techniques that can help the public consider their collective future.

Site Selection for Solar-Electrical Powerplants from a Regional Level to a Community Location using GIS Processing and Sketching Tools
Schaller, Joerg

Based on a regional Geodatabase of the Planning region Munich containing detailed information on natural resources, Landscape scenery, land- use and administrational planning data, a ModelBuilder application has been developed to preprocess the data for a potential site suitability analysis. Based on these results field inspections and discussions with the community and the land owners had been supported by detailed scetches explaining the different situations and solution possibilities.

GeoDesign in Environmental Analysis and Planning: An Example
Reynolds, Keith

The Ecosystem Management Decision Support (EMDS) system is a general application framework for designing and implementing knowledge-based decision support for environmental analysis and planning at any geographic scale or scales.  The system integrates state-of-the-art geographic information system (GIS) as well as knowledge-based reasoning and decision modeling technologies to provide decision support for a substantial portion of the adaptive management process of ecosystem management.  EMDS 4.1 is implemented as both an ArcGIS 9.3 ArcMap extension and as an ArcEngine stand-alone for the GIS-averse. It integrates a logic engine  to perform landscape evaluations, and a decision modeling engine for developing management priorities.

Key features of the system’s logic component include abilities to 1) reason about large, abstract, multi-faceted ecosystem management problems, 2) perform useful evaluations with incomplete information, 3) evaluate the influence of missing information, and 4) determine priorities for missing information.  A key feature of the planning component is the ability to determine priorities for management activities, taking into account not only ecosystem condition, but also criteria that account for the feasibility and efficacy of potential management actions.  Both components include powerful and intuitive diagnostic features that facilitate communicating the explanation of modeling results to a broad audience.

After 13 years since its initial release, EMDS remains popular in the natural resource community, mostly perhaps because it provides a very general design framework suitable for many questions and spatial scales. This and other features of the system will be highlighted in the talk.

GeoGames – Board Game Metaphors for GIS
Ahlqvist, Ola

Massive multiplayer online gaming (MMOG) is now firmly established in the entertainment world and is slowly finding its way into education and training environments. These games embed parallels to many societal processes that we regard as complex and ‘wicked ‘ problems. Simultaneously, virtual globes and online mapping has revolutionized certain aspects of geographic information production and dissemination. With this as our starting point we seek to further the current use of virtual globes and geographical web resources to integrate the social interaction and simulation aspects of MMOGs. In our proposed GeoGames framework we transform an existing online virtual globe into a “game board” for role-play, simulation, interactive web functionality, and content as a source for challenges and answers on geographically related issues. More specifically, we have developed an interactive simulation layer on top of the existing map adding support for multi-user interaction and manipulation of scenario objects. This allows for construction and execution of game-like scenarios, through which users can immerse in, explore, investigate and learn about our world. In this way we seek a new role for maps as an interface for two-way communication between real world information, individual decision making, and computer based models of human and physical systems.

Landscape Design with Tangible GIS
Mitasova, Helena

We combine real-world digital elevation model with a flexible, laboratory-scale 3D model, indoor laser scanner and projectors into a tangible geospatial modeling system. The model surface can be manually modified, facilitating face-to-face collaboration when designing landscapes. The system is coupled with GIS that is used to create digital elevation models from the scanned, redesigned landscapes, perform analysis and simulations, and project the results over the laboratory model providing feedback on how the landscape modifications affect water flow, solar radiation and other processes.

GeoDesign Utilization in a Participatory Land Use Planning Process
Lee, Brian

There are more digital geospatial data available today than at any other time in history, with ever expanding opportunities for almost anyone to contribute “volunteer geographic data.” The technological capability exists to create exploratory scenarios using past landscape conditions to inform alternative futures in software applications such as SLEUTH, Marxan, and the Landscape Change Modeler Extension. Software such as Fragstats can be utilized in analysis or in a scenario evaluation mode. The landscape planning and design process requires the capability to input stakeholder values concerning existing and future landscape conditions. This software/hardware/data/participation amalgamation is changing the old paradigm of finding an “expert designer” to one that utilizes an “expert process facilitator” whereby stakeholders are empowered throughout the planning process from the initial goal creation stage through plan evaluation. The capability to utilize smart geospatial tools throughout each phase of the landscape planning process coupled with a robust and reliable method of what might be termed a “Geospatial Delphi” framework could prove to be essential for scenario creation. For example, ModelBuilder has been used as a basis for Enhanced Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (ELESA) to address land use suitability and land use conflict in an interactive stakeholder setting. This lightning talk describes some opportunities and constraints of geospatial technology for designers in traditional university courses and service-learning experiences involving stakeholders and community planning challenges through a landscape architecture program.

Ge@Design: A Multimedia Design Studio for Geospatial Collaboration
Roche, Stéphane

The Ge@Design studio is the newest infrastructure of the ‘Département des sciences géomatiques’, Laval University, funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The main aim of the Ge@Design studio is to support research and experimental development of geospatial technologies for GeoDesign, which includes in particular urban design and landscape architecture. The Ge@Design studio consists of the latest technologies of multi-sensory graphical representation and interaction. It is mainly based on the multimedia/multitouch graphical table SURFACE ( SURFACE is a 30″ multitouch display (incorporating a computer), horizontally placed to allow a group of users to design, manipulate, interact and share, without keyboard or mouse (with hands), objects and digital content (maps, plans, sketch, 3D models, photos). The Ge@Design studio is also equipped with multitouch and multimedia workstations (MacPro, Dell and HP TouchSmart Hybrid) supporting sedentary uses and, nomadic solutions (multitouch Tablet PC – Dell Latitude XT, Smartphone – Apple iPhone).

The GeoDesign or ‘Geospatial Design’ covers the design activities applied to space in general (especially geographical) as urban design, architectural design or landscape design. GeoDesign could somehow be considered as a specific component of architecture, urban planning and more generally planning. It is particularly characterized by three main dimensions: (1) creative (at the intersection of engineering design and artistic creation), (2) deliberative (following a process of collaboration-oriented consensus building) and, (3) the major role of representations – spatial in particular – (design, creation, manipulation and dissemination of geospatial representations).

The Ge@Design studio is therefore specifically designed to support basic researches and technological developments aiming at designing, developing and testing innovative experimental GeoDesign processes, featuring different actors (designers, citizens, engineers… ), placed in situations of individual or collective works, sedentary or nomadic and, interacting with each other and spatial representations (maps, airborne and satellite images, 3D models …), through multitouch GUIs.

More specifically, the first Ge@Design studio project (funded by NSERC grant) is dedicated to the development and test of new Web 2.0 tools (modules, operators) to expand the current GIS technology. These enhancements will provide more effective responses to the needs of Geodesigners: integrating multiple forms of qualitative spatial reference frameworks, supporting the creative process, managing the fuzzy, ambiguous and uncertain geospatial representations  and the geographical versioning and geo-traceability (WikiGIS way).


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