1 – Enhancing decision making in a multi-use management environment by capitalising on available information: 1. Linking data sources through GIS to provide meaningful decision support outputs

Project Outline and objectives:
To fully explore alternative options for coastal resource allocation, either from a spatial planning or industry development context, a broad range of information must be considered. Information relevant to such decisions can be located in a range of areas – for example government departments (e.g. local, regional, national, international), research organisations (e.g. Utas, CSIRO, IMOS) and stakeholders (industries/ the community). Whilst it is often possible to identify information (data) relevant to a particular issue, it is frequently difficult to bring this data together in a spatial analysis context, such that it can be used most effectively to inform and support planning decisions. Differences in the types of data, the underpinning accuracy/ reliability, the spatial and temporal scale, and the relative quantitative/ qualitative nature of different data streams can make integration and collective analysis very difficult. Similarly, lack of clarification of the various data constraints/ weaknesses can make resultant interpretations suspect.

Various data assimilation techniques have been developed that can capture data and bring it into a common workspace. This project would look to use Storm Bay as a test case, building on existing data assimilation approaches to bring together multiple data streams (e.g. environmental, social and economic), with a view to developing a GIS based multiple use management system for the region. The broader investigation would bring together several related PhD studies under the supervision of a post-doctoral fellow, and would target a range of research issues related to the collection and interpretation of information to support decision making in a multi-use management environment.

This particular PhD project would focus on identifying particular issues in data import and interpretation, and would make recommendations on best practice for effective data management within a spatial analysis framework. The PhD would provide a clear understanding of data assimilation techniques and make recommendations for future data collection and management with respect to GIS analysis and integration, but most importantly would develop a data integration platform for the Storm Bay pilot study. The application would identify ways to check data integrity and highlight any deficiencies. The project would also link to other projects developing management and decision proxies for “non-traditional” data streams, and identify the most effective ways to capture that data for spatial analysis and decision support.

This overall research objective is to provide an information assimilation and analysis approach that will enable resource managers, resource users and researchers to access information from a range of different sources in order to better understand the complex interactions and relationships that exist between different activities in the coastal zone. The proposed research comprises two complementary PhD studies focussing on 1. how we can best access existing information and 2. how we can best interrogate and interpret that information.

The underpinning project will use “Storm Bay” as both a conceptual and real time data pilot site, tapping in to data streams identified already via a Seafood CRC project to address a range of issues associated with analysing the complex data systems associated with multiple use management.

Catriona MacLeod (Catriona.Macleod@utas.edu.au)
Vanessa Lucieer, UTas
Jeff Dambacher, CSIRO
John McCulloch, CSIRO

Skills required:
Evidence of previous experience or specific qualifications in GIS

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