A multicriteria spatial decision support system for solving emergency service station location problems

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Earthquakes occurring in urban areas constitute an important concern for emergency management and rescue services. Emergency service location problems may be formulated in discrete space or by restricting the potential location(s) to a specified finite set of points in continuous space. We propose a Multicriteria Spatial Decision Support System to identify shelters and emergency service locations in urban evacuation planning. The proposed system has emerged as an integration of the geographical information systems (GIS) and the multicriteria Decision-Making method of Preference Ranking Organization Method for Enrichment Evaluation IV (PROMETHEE IV). This system incorporates multiple and often conflicting criteria and decision-makers’ preferences into a spatial decision model. We consider three standard structural attributes (i.e., durability density, population density, and oldness density) in the form of spatial maps to determine the zones most vulnerable to an earthquake. The information on these spatial maps is then entered into the ArcGIS software to define the relevant scores for each point with regards to the aforementioned attributes. These scores will be used to compute the preference functions in PROMETHEE IV, whose net flow outranking for each alternative will be inputted in ArcGIS to determine the zones that are most vulnerable to an earthquake. The final scores obtained are integrated into a mathematical programming model designed to find the most suitable locations for the construction of emergency service stations. We demonstrate the applicability of the proposed method and the efficacy of the procedures and algorithms in an earthquake emergency service station planning case study in the city of Tehran.




Esmaelian, M., Tavana, M., Santos-Arteaga, F.J. and Mohammadi, S. (2015) ‘A Multicriteria Spatial Decision Support System for Solving Emergency Service Station Location Problems,’ International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Vol. 29, No. 7, pp. 1187-1213.