Presenter/Author Information

N. W. T. Quinn

Keywords

environmental decision support systems, environmental information management systems, salinity management, water quality

Start Date

1-7-2010 12:00 AM

Description

The mantra that successful Environmental Decision Support Systems (EDSS’s) are those that benefit from a high level of end-user involvement during the design phase and subsequent implementation is well founded. However the practical matter of eliciting the relevant information from stakeholders to develop a useful and robust EDSS is rarely adequate and this weakness contributes to the high rate of failed EDSS’s. Stakeholders sometimes have difficulty articulating the decisions they are called upon to make and cannot definitely describe the bounds of the decision space within which they operate. The EDSS developer is challenged by having to understand the system he/she is attempting to simulate to the same degree as the stakeholder. Environmental Information Management Systems (EIMS’s) have a better record of success than EDSS’s, though the distinction between the two is often blurry since information needs to organized and presented in an appropriate manner to inform decision making. The “handshake” between the stakeholder user of the EDSS and the EDSS itself is one of the most difficult features to determine. In the agricultural salinity management arena EDSS’s do not appear to have a high rate of adoption. However there have been very successful EIMS’s – some of which have user communities that number in the thousands. Perhaps the answer is to use the EIMS as a stepping stone to developing a fully functional EDSS. This paper examines a number of failed EDSS projects and compares and contrasts these systems with successful EIMS projects. The paper suggests some lessons for future EDSS initiatives.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Environmental Information Management Systems as Templates for Successful Environmental Decision Support

The mantra that successful Environmental Decision Support Systems (EDSS’s) are those that benefit from a high level of end-user involvement during the design phase and subsequent implementation is well founded. However the practical matter of eliciting the relevant information from stakeholders to develop a useful and robust EDSS is rarely adequate and this weakness contributes to the high rate of failed EDSS’s. Stakeholders sometimes have difficulty articulating the decisions they are called upon to make and cannot definitely describe the bounds of the decision space within which they operate. The EDSS developer is challenged by having to understand the system he/she is attempting to simulate to the same degree as the stakeholder. Environmental Information Management Systems (EIMS’s) have a better record of success than EDSS’s, though the distinction between the two is often blurry since information needs to organized and presented in an appropriate manner to inform decision making. The “handshake” between the stakeholder user of the EDSS and the EDSS itself is one of the most difficult features to determine. In the agricultural salinity management arena EDSS’s do not appear to have a high rate of adoption. However there have been very successful EIMS’s – some of which have user communities that number in the thousands. Perhaps the answer is to use the EIMS as a stepping stone to developing a fully functional EDSS. This paper examines a number of failed EDSS projects and compares and contrasts these systems with successful EIMS projects. The paper suggests some lessons for future EDSS initiatives.