The application of visualisation techniques for coastal zone management
Jude, Simon Richard
PublisherUniversity of East Anglia
MetadataShow full item record
It is widely recognised that organisations engaged in coastal management must improve the ways in which the public are involved in coastal decision-making. In particular, participation, consultation, and information provision throughout the decision-making process needs strengthening. In recognition of this there have been calls to develop new techniques to aid the communication of coastal information to the public. It has been suggested that some of these techniques may involve the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Whilst GIS are widely used by coastal managers their application is hampered by the highly technical output that they often produce. However, the advent of a Virtual Reality GIS (VERGES) provides opportunities for the output of GIS analyses of coastal management decisions to be presented in a format more suitable for widespread consultation and dissemination. Using two study sites on the north Norfolk coast of England, an integrated GIS methodology is presented, allowing virtual reality representations of the current site environment and that which might be present following a management intervention to be created. Static images, animations and user-navigable visualisations have been produced as these lend themselves to both paper and electronic publication. Comparisons between these alternative methods are presented along with a discussion of the technical issues associated with them. Both individual and group survey experiments have been conducted to assess user perceptions and understanding of the visualisations, and their use in the economic valuation of coastal management interventions. These have been accompanied by interviews with coastal managers to identify the potential role of the methodology and any institutional barriers to its practical application. From the results it is argued that the techniques presented have the potential to stimulate meaningful discussion between coastal management organisations and the public, although further practical research is required to determine the exact form this may take.