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Visual access to optimization problems in strategic environmental assessment

: Ruppert, Tobias; Bernard, Jürgen; Ulmer, Alex; Kuijper, Arjan; Kohlhammer, Jörn


Bebis, G.:
Advances in visual computing. 9th International Symposium, ISVC 2013. Vol.2 : Rethymnon, Crete, Greece, July 29-31, 2013; Proceedings
Berlin: Springer, 2013 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8034)
ISBN: 978-3-642-41938-6 (Print)
ISBN: 3-642-41938-0
ISBN: 978-3-642-41939-3 (Online)
International Symposium on Visual Computing (ISVC) <9, 2013, Rethymnon/Crete>
Fraunhofer IGD ()
information visualization; policy modeling; optimization; decision support

The complexity of actual decision making problems especially in the field of policy making is increasing due to conflicting aspects to be considered. Methods from the field of strategic environmental assessment consider environmental, economic, and social impacts caused by political decisions. This makes the analysis of reasonable decisions more complex. Mathematical models like optimization can help to balance conflicting aspects. Although they are not easy to understand, these complex models and the resulting policy options have to be reviewed by the decision makers.
In this work we present a visual-interactive interface to an optimization system capable of solving multidimensional decision problems. The interface enables visual access to the complex optimization models, and the analysis of alternative solutions. As a result strategic environmental assessment can be included in the decision making process. An evaluation in the domain of regional energy planning underlines the usability and usefulness of the visual interface.