Step 3: Decision-support tools

Step 3: Decision-support tools

In order to make transparent and inclusive decisions and the land and sea, stakeholders need to know where things are.  Quite simply, a map provides a comprehensive picture identifying a range of features and can be tailored to address specific queries.  Under this project we needed to reach a wide range of people from an equally wide range of capabilities and accessibility.

A range of information was collated and provided by the program (e.g. population projections, climate change projections, food security models, statutory decision-making processes) to better inform decision-making. To meet the varied needs of stakeholders we provide both hard copy large format printed maps as well as an interactive GIS databases.

Hard copy printed maps were used during all workshops.  A final set of printed maps illustrated all the locally identified features as provided at the R2R workshops.  A companion set illustrated the draft zoning designations that each LLG developed in the Tools Workshops.  In this manner, the hard copy maps provided a format for communities with limited technical capacity to contribute to the decision-making process.

For those that have access to computers and a basic understanding of mapping tools, we developed an interactive decision support tool: “ELVIS”.  ELVIS (Environmental Values Interrogation System), built using the open source GIS software known as QGIS.  The foundation of ELVIS rests on the locally identified features as collected in the R2R workshops (Skewes et al. 2017).  These data, along with regionally available GIS datasets, can now be queried using ELVIS to investigate locations for new developments or activities. The user is able to draw in the “footprint” of a project and get a simple report listing the resource values that will be impacted.  In this manner, ELVIS, is addressing the needs and capabilities of land use planners and upper level decision makers, whilst providing them with information that is relative to local communities.

A map of land and sea features and their relative importance in terms of food security value produced from the values database.

The ELVIS output for the footprint of a potential development (the pink polygon) on features providing income value.