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Spatial analysis and spatial evaluation for decision support in the Westerschelde estuary

More:  Institutes 
Dutch title: Ruimtelijke analyse en ruimtelijke evaluatie ter beleidsondersteuning in de Westerschelde
Reference no: OND1265888
Period: January 1998 till January 2002
Status: Completed

Geographical term: ANE, Netherlands, Westerschelde [Marine Regions]

Institutes (2)  Top 
  • Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam; Afdeling Ruimtelijke Economie, more, secretariat
  • Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam; Onderzoekschool Milieuwetenschappen (SENSE), more, partner

The Westerschelde estuary has a very dynamic environment with shipping, industry, recreation, and sea-defence, playing a significant role in the area. Conflicts arise inevitably as a result of these diverse uses. A large amount of spatial and non-spatial information is available to support decision making in the Westerschelde estuary. Spatial information is usually presented visually using maps. Analyses of these to find the best solutions, is not an easy task. Comparison of different alternative solutions is difficult when the amount of information is high, as is the case in the Westerschelde. Therefore, additional tools to explore spatial data are required and spatial analysis may be one such tool.
This study aims to develop methods and techniques to support decision makers in evaluating spatial problems. This involves improving the presentation and hopefully the understanding of spatial patterns so that this valuable information can be used more efficiently.
The research will look into the use of spatial analysis and evaluation as tools for comparison of alternatives represented visually by maps. A relevant policy issue with a strong spatial component will be chosen for this purpose. Current candidate issues are:
- dredging (dumping activities of the dredged material, effects on the ecological important 'schorren', 'slikken' and shallow waters caused by the deepening of the waterways);
- land reclamation to increase the ecological value and/or as compensation for lost nature in the area;
- the planned tunnel under the estuary.
Data sets consisting of spatial data of the Westerschelde estuary will be used to develop methods to evatuate and compare spatial patterns. The data sets to be used depend on which are available and the policy issue chosen, and could be anything from remotely sensed data to results of geomorphologic models. This approach gives a high degree of freedom to experiment with the combination of very different types of data. An important tool in the coming work will be a Geographical Information System (GIS), but also Decision Support System (DSS) will be of importance.

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