The development of planning support systems by integrating urban models and geographic information systems: A framework and implementation

Shih-Liang Chan, University of Pennsylvania


The information needs for planning include information about description, prediction and prescription. Among the available approaches for providing such information, the urban model (UM) is one of the categories that help planners implement this work systematically. The evolution of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) over the last few decades has had a significant impact on the planning profession. With its powerful capacity for spatial data management, spatial analysis, and graphic visualization, GIS provide planners with a new tool to carry out their work more efficiently. This study proposes a framework to integrate these two techniques to perform the function of planning support systems (PSS). The framework of UM/GIS-based PSS comprises three components: model knowledge module, model operation module, and transformation/communication module and is constructed on the basis of GIS technique. This framework is implemented by an experimental system that is composed of selected location models (DRAM and EMPAL), a GIS application (Arcview) and a spreadsheet application (Excel). It is built with a GIS application, Arcview, as the core that serves both as the bridge connecting all the system components and the server of spatially related functions. The integration of these components applies the concept of loosely coupled approach, and is implemented by means of Avenue script language and dynamic data exchange (DDE) technique. The integration of urban models and GIS as PSS provides the planner with a new choice of producing and managing information in planning practice. The major objective of the UM/GIS-based PSS is to automate the process of information production, especially for the category of predictive information, during the planning activity. The goal is achieved by successfully integrating the model operations and information transformation procedures into a consistent desktop environment. The system evaluation, in terms of system effectiveness, flexibility and interface, also shows that PSS based on the proposed framework and integration techniques are useful to planning practice.

Subject Area

Urban planning|Area planning & development|Information Systems

Recommended Citation

Chan, Shih-Liang, "The development of planning support systems by integrating urban models and geographic information systems: A framework and implementation" (1997). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9800852.