A cyberGIS-enabled multi-criteria spatial decision support system: A case study on flood emergency management

Zhe Zhang, Hao Hu, Dandong Yin, Shakil Kashem, Ruopu Li, Heng Cai, Dylan Perkins, Shaowen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the increased frequency of natural hazards and disasters and consequent losses, it is imperative to develop efficient and timely strategies for emergency response and relief operations. In this paper, we propose a cyberGIS-enabled multi-criteria spatial decision support system for supporting rapid decision making during emergency management. It combines a high-performance computing environment (cyberGIS-Jupyter) and multi-criteria decision analysis models (Weighted Sum Model (WSM) and Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution Model (TOPSIS)) with various types of social vulnerability indicators to solve decision problems that contain conflicting evaluation criteria in a flood emergency situation. Social media data (e.g. Twitter data) was used as an additional tool to support the decision-making process. Our case study involves two decision goals generated based on a past flood event in the city of Austin, Texas, U.S.A. As our result shows, WSM produces more diverse values and higher output category estimations than the TOPSIS model. Finally, the model was validated using an innovative questionnaire. This cyberGIS- enabled spatial decision support system allows collaborative problem solving and efficient knowledge transformation between decision makers, where different emergency responders can formulate their decision objectives, select relevant evaluation criteria, and perform interactive weighting and sensitivity analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1381
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Digital Earth
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2 2019


  • Multi-criteria spatial decision support systems
  • and cyberGIS
  • big data
  • disaster management
  • social media data (Twitter)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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