Evaluation of an Open-source Collaborative WebGIS Prototype in Risk Management with Students— Zar Chi Aye (University of Lausanne), Marie Charriere, Roya Olyazadeh, Marc-Henri Derron, Michel Jaboyedoff
Over the last decades, advancements in web services and web-based geospatial technologies have led to increasing delivery, access and analysis of rich spatial information over the web. With the use of open access data and open-source technology, it has become possible to make better, transparent and informed decisions for policy and decision makers. Under the framework of the European FP7 Marie Curie ITN CHANGES project, a prototype web-based collaborative decision support platform was developed for the evaluation and selection of risk management strategies, mainly targeting to flood and landslide hazards. The conceptual framework was designed based on the initial feedback and observations obtained from field visits and stakeholder meetings of the case study areas of the project. A three-tier client-server architecture backed up by Boundless (OpenGeo) was applied with its client side development environment for rapid prototyping.
The developed prototype was tested with university students to obtain feedback on the conceptual and technical aspects of the platform as well as to analyze how the application of interactive tools in the exercise could assist students in their learning and understanding of risk management. During the exercise, different roles (authorities, technicians, community) were assigned to each group of students for proposition and selection of risk mitigation measures in a study area, Cucco village located in Malborghetto Valbruna commune of North-Eastern Italy. Data were collected by means of written feedback forms on specific aspects of the platform and exercise. A subsequent preliminary analysis of the feedback reveals that students with previous experiences in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) responded positively and showed their interests in performing exercises with this type of interactive tools compared to the ones with fewer or no GIS experience. These preliminary results also show that the prototype is useful and supportive as a decision support tool in risk management while user-friendliness and practical aspects of the platform could be better improved.